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California is truly the “bread basket” when it comes to produce for the United States. It should come as no surprise that making food with fresh, local ingredients became widely known as “California Cuisine”, thanks to Alice Waters at Chez Panisse going back to 1971. To truly enjoy these ingredients at their finest, set aside time to explore the foothills of the High Sierra before heading up into the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Here’s just a “sampling” of foodie fun to be had in the High Sierra.

Go Nuts In Visalia

Walnuts Visalia
Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia & See The Sequoias

Do you enjoy pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and other edible shelled wonders? Then a stop in Visalia is a must! It’s home to John Oneto and his business Naturally Nuts. Revolutionizing the process of roasting pistachios & introducing all-natural nut butter to his customers, you’ll have the opportunity to sample over 17 flavored nut butters! Visalia is truly a foodie paradise that brings home the farm to fork culinary excellence.

Premier Port Wine Region In The US

Photo by: Kim Lawson – Image appears courtesy: Visit Yosemite | Madera County

For those that enjoy a glass of wine alongside their meal or better yet dessert, look no further than Madera County on your way to Yosemite. Besides being one of the OLDEST wine regions not just in California but the nation, it’s also known for award-winning port & dessert wines. Madera’s winemakers pay homage to the original Portuguese style of fortified wine but with a decidedly American spin. Expect the fruity characteristics of a Ruby Port but with the nutty tones usually found in a Tawny. Let’s just say it’s perfection for dessert wine fans.

Stop & Enjoy The Meal

Sarafina's Italian Kitchen
Image appears courtesy: Calaveras County Tourism Bureau

In the United States, everything is about making it bigger, stronger, and faster. On the surface, it sounds great, but when it comes to eating, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Stop for a moment & savor your meal. It’s really all about quality & pleasure over quantity & haste. This style of eating is known as the slow food movement. A great example of this is at Sarafina’s Italian Kitchen, set amongst the tall pines in Arnold. Its house-made ravioli, risotto, pastas and fresh-fish dishes paired with local wines & craft beers is the perfect recipe.

Most people are always rushing by to get to their final destination. But remember, it isn’t the end of the road but rather the journey that creates the experience & lasting memories. Savor the flavors!

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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