Win Heritage Fire Napa Valley Tickets!

Win two VIP tickets to Heritage Fire Napa Valley 2015

John Stewart of Zazu Restaurant + Farm at Heritage Fire Napa 2014. Photo courtesy of Cochon 555.
John Stewart of Zazu Restaurant + Farm at Heritage Fire Napa 2014. Photo courtesy of Cochon 555.


John Stewart of Zazu Restaurant + Farm at Heritage Fire Napa 2014. Photo courtesy of Cochon 555.
John Stewart of Zazu Restaurant + Farm at Heritage Fire Napa 2014. Photo courtesy of Cochon 555.

Fire. Knives. Raw Meat. Booze. Unfiltered Chefs.

Need we really say a whole lot more about Heritage Fire Napa Valley, happening Sunday, August , 2, 2015 at Krug Winery in St. Helena.

Oh, and two free VIP tickets for one lucky BiteClub winner.

The antithesis of snoozy jazz and hors d’ouvres events, this chest-beating, smack-talking afternoon from the Cochon 555 folks is a window into the world of producers, farmers, chefs and butchers who love them some big old cuts of meat.

On the agenda: Cooking 3,000 pounds of heritage breed animals (from pork and beef to rabbit, goat and other critters); drinking a whole lot of wine and craft beer; butchery demonstrations and animal “theater” cooking; music and lawn games; and eating more meat than is probably sane.

What we love is the fun and frivolity of the event, that lets everyone mingle around the flames, sniffing the delightful scent of cooking meat and sampling whatever the chefs have come up with — rather than what they’ve been asked to make. Let’s just say at Heritage Fire, they’re cooking to impress each other, and you get the happy job of being a bystander.

Did we mention VIP’s get an hour of access before the hoi polloi? That means even more yum for your buck.

Del Dotto Winery’s Tony Incontro.

Top Picks: I’ll be heading directly for Del Dotto’s Tony Incontro, who is a wunderkind of charcuterie and huge fan of the coveted wooly Mangalitsa; rabbit producer Eric Alegria (Old World Rabbitry), and John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu, the once and always King and Queen of Porc.

Other chefs include: Justin Yu (Oxheart), Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley), Mark Ladner (Del Posto), Justin Brunson (Old Major), Mike Kahikina (Barrel & Ashes), Adam Sobel (RN74), Jose Mendin (Pubbelly), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia), Kim Wiss (Antica Napa Valley), Cristiano Creminelli (Creminelli), Peter Jacobsen (Jacobsen Orchards), Greg Laketek (West Loop Salumi), John Manion (La Sirena Clandestina), Jeremy Waybright (Boss Shepherd’s), Matthew Accarrino (SPQR), Michael Thiemann (Mother – Empress Tavern), Jason Kupper (Heritage Eats), David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit), David Katz (Panevino/Sub Rosa Salumi), Dennis Lee (Smokestack/Namu Ganji), Robin Song (Hog & Rocks), Marc Zimmerman (Alexander’s Steakhouse), James Winberg, Mike Brown, & Bob Gerken (Travail Kitchen & Amusements), Chris Marchino (Cotagna), Alex Lovick (Inglenook), Blaise Bisbey (Calistoga Kitchen), Joey Elenterio (Cadence), Tiffany Friedman (Butter Root), Trevor Kunk (Press), Omri Afalo (Wayfare Tavern), Rogelio Garcia (Angele), Anthony “Nash” Cognetti (Tra Vigne), Dave the Butcher (Marina Meats), Brandon Sharp (Solbar), Joshua Whigham of DC, Brad Farmerie (The Thomas), Timon Balloo (Bocce / Sugarcane) and John Sundstrom (The Lark).

Tickets for the event are available online, $105 for General Admission, $165 for VIP.

To win, tell me about the best meat dish you’ve ever eaten in the comments below.

Make me salivate. Make me believe that you’re the meat fanatic who really wants these tickets.

The more unique, the better, and bonus consideration if it is something from Sonoma County.

I’ll choose my winner on Thursday, July 30, 2015 at 5p.m.

You must respond by Friday, July 31 at noon, and be able to attend the event on Sunday, August 2 at 3p.m. Must be 21 to enter.

Full contest rules here


22 thoughts on “Win Heritage Fire Napa Valley Tickets!

  1. One of my best food experiences involving a whole pig was at an unnamed harvest party in Napa 6-7 years ago. The pig was expertly roasted, the skin perfectly crisp and the meat juicy and moist. It just melted in your mouth. There was a table next to the pig with fresh home-made tortillas and every topping imaginable. I remember at least 6 different salsas, all handmade by the matriarchs of various farming families attending the harvest. All of this was followed by ice cold beer and of course, incredible wine (everyone brought two bottles to share). It was a very memorable night. Hopefully I can go experience something close this great at Cochon…

  2. Although I have eaten many many wonderful meals in my day, the best was simply wild golden chanterelle mushrooms, sauteed in butter, served over brown rice (with a side of Chai Baba Chai) eaten after a long hike in the rain to forage the fungi gems. They tasted like Earth and rain and were the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten, I’ll never forget them, thanks for asking so I could relive the memory. Please pick me for the tickets, I’ll be eternally grateful, thanks!

  3. We live for moments, those special, remarkable instants, which secure a lasting place in our memory; long after time has passed. The rules are different for us all as to what warrants such a memory to be everlasting and protected within the deep recesses of our mind, yet we all understand what that recollection brings to our senses.

    Saturday, January 26, 2008. 7:30 p.m. A cool winter evening, light rain. We are celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary and decide to reserve a table by the fire at this newly opened, intriguingly represented, luxury steakhouse. Luxury steakhouse, not something that you’d readily term a steakhouse, high-end maybe but not luxury.

    Ambience was well appointed, service was impeccable, time stood still, if only for a moment and that is when my grass-fed Ribeye from Uruguay (Estancia Beef) arrived. Still sizzling on the well-formed cast iron plate, sliced, béarnaise sauce on the side. Although they were mouthwatering and delectable, the truffle mashed potatoes and lobster potato chowder were tertiary to this gastronomically divine steak resting before me. This steak! Beautiful marbling, tender, juicy with a triumphant flavor. The aroma was beckoning my palate. Slicing at ease with my fork, melting in my mouth bite after bite. I savored each piece. The flavor exploded in my mouth. The cast iron serving vessel assured that the steak stayed warm throughout the meal as I slowly savored this superb Ribeye. Caramelized seared to perfection on the surface, rare but pink to my liking on the inside. Unambiguously the best steak I have ever experienced. The chef and proprietor took thoughtful consideration to every grain and vein of this cut of meat. For me, this was luxury, this olfactory memory has yet to be duplicated.

    The occasion, the weather, the feeling, the smell, memories represent who we are and reflect our life story like a fine cabernet reflects the composition of the earth from which it is derived. My memory of this grass-fed Ribeye from Uruguay has never waned and I still speak of it often. Stark’s Steakhouse, we have made many memories over the years but honestly none better than this steak that I can still taste, if only in my memory. On a side note, no relation.

  4. Not meat. Marrow. Rich,fatty marrow, from the femurs of a freshly harvested elk. Simply roasted with salt,pepper and thyme over a camp fire,then smeared over sourdough toast(that just happened to be made over the same fire). I could go on about the events that took place inside my grateful mouth,but I don’t think I really need to.

  5. My daughter showed meat goats in 4-H. Selling meat goats at the jr. Livestock auction was new in Sonoma County. When it came time to sell it, nobody bid. It was awful. I knew goat was good but aparently nobody else did! My husband learned how to smoke and slow roast goat with a rub that will knock your socks off. Tender, juicy, and flavor that makes you beg for more. We started servings goat tastings at various 4-H events to educate the public. Proud to report that we have converted many “I hate goat, goat meat is gross” people. And the meat goat auction has many followers now.

  6. It was the summer of my 5th grade year. I was invited to the Quinceañera of my best friends family member. It was quit an event for this little Italian girl if I do say so myself however, I digress. Every single edible item was not only authentic but homemade of course. The tortillas fresh and warm. Beans and rice with just the right amount of spice. The salsa was AMAZING! Cheeses that I did not even know existed until that moment. But the coup de gras was the tender, moist and extremely flavorful goat that was prepared in an underground bbq. I mean to scream! I had no idea what I was eating as I devoured what seemed to taste like the best cross between chicken and pork I had ever tasted. I don’t know how one can combine such a mix of spices that it tastes as though the animal was born that way. Nothing overpowered the other and it just melted in your mouth. Couple this with the most amazing pork carnitas known to man kind an you my friend have one hell of a celebration!! I have never forgotten that experience to this day and will tell you I have attempted many a carnitas. None ever as good but getting better with age. I would love to go to this event as it too seems to be a celebration of food and skill and that, I believe, is what I had the pleasure of experiencing as a young lady. Would love to share this with the hubbs! He deserves a “celebration” for all of his hard work.

  7. Like many other commentators, I too am a recovering vegetarian and have been spending the better part of the last 20 years in a meat coma to compensate. The most memorable meat-gasm I can recall was a a beef cheek Bourguignon at Le Pigeon in Portland, OR (where I lived for almost 20 years before moving back to Sonoma County – a glorious decision). It was like butter, but complex and a bit tangy and subtlety peppered. Such a memorable dish from such a memorable spot in Portland. I talked about that dish for a good two weeks after I ate it. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to attend this event and taste all of this wonderful goodness produced right here at home.

  8. The best food I’ve ever had is made by my born and raised Sonoma County daughter, Emily. She was standing next to the barbeque from the time she could stand. Em would stand at the head of the line waiting for steak (“A little bloody, Daddy!”), rubbed and smoky pork tenderloin, sauce-lashed chicken. Why? Because we are carne-amorous! Since high school, she has out-smoked, out-grilled her friends and family.
    Twenty-five years later, she and her husband host Carnage Fest annually. Her invitations state, “There will be meat. Bring anything else you might like.” If there’s a tear in my eye, it might be that I’m a bit nostalgic or it could be from the smoker.

    In graduate school, I took a job in prepared foods at a local food-coop. Vegetarian for 6 years, vegan for four, I could make a killer vegan mac n’ yeez and a bad ass southwestern yam salad, but I never touched the hard stuff- never learned how to cook meat and never wanted to.

    After months of late night study sessions, nose-tucked in the books chomping on Tofurky sausage, I began to feel a bit brain dead. The meat started to smell good– really really good. The wafting smell of a sheet pan of sizzling bacon, would drag my tired bones mindlessly across rows of Jerquee and Quorn, back into the kitchen.

    One night, after clearing the hot bar of leftovers, I packed away a container of rosemary organic free-range oven roasted chicken, to take home to my parents. The skin had a wonderful sheen to it, golden and crisp. The smell of the rosemary in my car was transforming. I couldn’t take it anymore, embarrassed and famished, I pulled over into the University parking lot and ate the whole container of chicken, thinking I could hide this sin, if I truly wanted to.

    Scarfing down the dish slowly, savouring every juicy, oil dripping morsel, I took a moment to reflect. How did I feel about breaking my 10 year meat fast? I thought the meat would make me feel horrible but I didn’t. I was energetic, mentally alert, and finally full. I went home and immediately confessed my sins, to my parents. Their little girl had finally found her way back to the land of the carnivore, and wasn’t turning back.

    These days I don’t eat too much meat, but when I do I like to make it worth my while. I want every bite to be like that succulent chicken. Fortunately, we live in an area with some of the best charcuterie and artisan meats around. I would love to indulge in a day of closing my eyes and slowly falling in love with each and every bite.

  10. I would have a hard time picking out the best meat meal I’ve had. There have been a lot. I will tell you about the best meat/pork meal I made and ate. I spent last weekend cooking for our church youth camp. For dinner one night I made roasted pork loin with red beans and rice. I roasted 17 lbs. of pork loin with a jerk pork rub I got at Penzy’s. It came out perfect. tender and juicy and the rub added just enough kick. The red beans and rice was flavored with a pound of bacon and spices. PORK FAT RULES!!! It was so yummy. Everyone loved it. There was not much left over. I love to cook and would love to go to this event to get new ideas and techniques to try.

  11. I couldn’t have been more than 9 years old. A dear friend and coworker of my mothers had just slaughtered his first pig. For several months Dennis had been feeding Mr Piggy curdled milk and cream from the local grocer along with tons of fresh corn and I am assuming a healthy amount of Purina pig chow. Yes … I was there the day they brought the cute little fella home. I was advised at the time that the 25 pounds of cute would not stay that way for long and one day would end up on a plate. I don’t remember too many details of that special day when I got a taste of my friend and playmate … I do recall a beautiful skin-on loin turning ever so slowly on A handmade rotisserie over a wood fire right smack dab in the middle of the living room! I can still taste the succulent almost pure white meat and the crispy crunchy pork skin that enveloped it. To this day I have never had a better piece of meat. It would sure be nice to have someone prove me wrong!

  12. Pork is tops in taste and value. I’d love to see and taste what the experts are doing with it.

    A great simple low cost tasty pork dish that uses very few ingredients.

    Start with about 4 lbs.of boneless pork shoulder trimmed of excess fat in a heavy pan. Cover with about 64 ounce apple juice, and simmer for about 3 hours or until very tender. Drain and slather with about a pint of B-B-Q sauce. Place in an oven proof dish or pan in a slow oven for about an hour. This ever so tasty pork can be used in sliders, to top a pizza or on its own.

    Boneless pork is now on sale now for 99 cents a pound. Apple juice ranges in price but is at dollar stores as is B-B-Q sauce. Lots of options, the apple juice and the B=B-Q sauce can be high end, low end or house made. I think the big secret is the simmering in apple juice,

  13. My favorite dish changes alot! I love good meat! My current fav is my hubbys smoked pork ribs. I make a rub with smoked paprika, celery seed and mustard seed (any other details and I’d have to kill you…;-) ). The rub sits on the meat for 24 hours and then it’s smoked for 6 hours over cherry wood. Juicy and perfect with amazing smoke flavor, deep and rich. Oh. my. goodness…I’m drooling right now! Excuse me while I go get the last one left in the frig….

  14. Pork and Abalone!
    Quite a few years ago we used to attend a friend’s “extended family” reunion on a piece of property near Annapolis on the Gualala River. Everyone camped there for a long weekend. The highlight was the “unveiling” of the Luau style pork and the whole baked abalone. The guys would dig a deep pit the morning before and tend the fire all day. Come nighttime they would throw on several huge pork shoulders marinated in soy, ginger, lots of garlic and, I think, pineapple juice – all wrapped in foil. The pork was always from a friend’s ranch in Annapolis. They would also wrap whole abalone doused in some kind of tomato sauce and throw them in there as well. When it was time to eat the pit was unearthed and the smell was amazing! And out came a whole table’s worth of melting succulent pork that barely needed to be shredded mingled with all that yummy soy marinade! They would slice the abalone and it was so tender you could eat it with a fork (I know, not meat…) but oh so good! We would pile heaps of pork on our plates paired with rice and fresh fruit. It was a feast and we looked forward to it every year!

  15. I had the best Carpaccio in Florence, Italy at the restaurant Alla Vecchia Bettola. It was fantastic. I love that area for the food and wine. The meat was fabulous and fresh as was the shaved parmesan cheese. Coupled with the local wines; fantastic.

  16. My favorite meat dish right now is the birria from La Texanita. I’m not sure how it’s cooked but it’s definitely done with the bone in (and don’t be surprised to get a piece or two in your bowl) and slowly, as the meat is incredibly tender. The dish is something in between a chili, a soup and a stew, and it’s made with either goat or beef. Both versions are amazing. The meat ends up kind of like a roast, so you get big chunks, with bits of fat here and there keeping it moist, and it just falls apart in your mouth. The “soup” itself is spicy and comes with accouterments like cilantro, onion, chili sauce and lime, so you can customize the flavor to your own palate. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Check it out!

  17. I’m not just a meat lover I am a Porkaterian…pork has been my choice since I could say ham steak.

    22 years ago I had dinner at the 4th St Bar and Grill in Berkeley and had 5 spice pork it was simple but perfect served with Chinese long beans. The pork juices mingled with the five spice –just the right addition to highlight the taste of the pork roast.

    I’m also enormously fond of any kind of pork bbq from NC to South Central LA and have the t-shirt stains to prove it

  18. I am lucky enough to have a mother-in-law that lives in Austin, so I have been treated to some of the best brisket available, even doing a BBQ tour of Lockhart going to four different BBQ houses, the day after thanksgiving! I think I smelled like Texas BBQ smoke for a week! While there is nothing that has compared to that, getting a local, organic grass fed rib eye from Tara Firma Farms or Sonoma County Meat Co. is all I need to satisfy my meat cravings.

  19. I moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area 6 years ago. I’ve traveled most of Mexico, looking for the best Mole (chocolate sauce). Countless of restaurants, many disappointments, including celebrity endorsed places. That was until I went to Case de Mole in Healdsburg a couple of weekends ago.

    The presentation was so beautiful. Chicken leg and thigh completely drowned in in rich brown glazed Mole, surrounded by a pyramid of rice in the middle of boiled black beans. I rolled up a hand made corn tortilla and dipped in the sauce. Once it hit the tip of my tongue, I knew it was the best I’d ever had! It was so rich, not too sweet, and a little spicy. Paired with the chicken made it a delight to eat. It is the best meal I have ever had. Sure, I have had steaks that have been to die for and worth the wait, but this meal captures my heritage and reminds me of my deceased grandmother. I’ll be back very soon.


  20. I’d have too say since moving too the Santa Rosa area 5 years ago. I not only have eating some of the world’s best food in my life, but also some of the best beers, wine, and moonshines. But my all-time most unforgettable meal in Santa Rosa was the first time I went to Flavors restaurant and had their pork chops and eggs breakfast with a side of bacon and a large milk with my meal, delicousness. From the first bite it was as if the sun rose sorely to warm the backs of the chickens, pigs and cows so that one day they might be honored to doran the plate of magnificence. As my teeth sunk into the very first bite, my teeth slice through the perfectly cooked pork chop. The flavors that exploded in my mouth like cannons on the fourth of July. The seasoning cracked against the sinful juices from the perfect amount of fat. After draining the first bite of it’s explosive flavors i washed it down with a swig of strong robust coffee French pressed and delicious. Next was the bacon, four slices of sin that would save a man’s life. Perfectly cooked slight crunch mixed with the intoxicating marbalized fat that only bacon can make, real bacon. Over all every bite was more enjoyable than the other, shoot I even slowed down too chew. Real talk true story… Well I hope you’re happy now I’m hungry, 🙂

  21. Ohhhh how I have wanted to go to this event for the last few years. I was a vegetarian for 15 years and I have been in recovery for the last 5, each and every meat is a new experience and pork is steadily becoming my favorite. My husband has a love of bbq and charcuterie, he wandered into Sonoma county meat a few weeks ago and came home with a wagyu brisket steak. It was about 1/2 thick, seasoned with only salt and pepper after a quick searing on both sides we took our fist bite of the most tender and wonderfully tasting piece of meat I have ever had. Most brisket is hard as leather but this was smooth like butter. No its not pork but, slow smoked pork shoulder is a close 2nd place. I hope to be considered for the tickets so I can continue my process of vegetarian recovery and discovery of new and exciting meats.

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