Surprise Valentine’s Day Picnic

We usually cook dinner at home on Valentine’s Day (for years the tradition was homemade pizza and Zinfandel), but this year I wanted to be surprised with a fun day trip. Clayton has never been the type to get red roses or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, so I was excited to see what he would come up with. He definitely surprised me with this romantic picnic in Napa Valley!

He told me we were going to Napa so I could dress appropriately, but I didn’t know any more than that. Apparently, he slipped two champagne flutes into his bag on Saturday night while I was sleeping. We got an early start on Sunday morning, stopping at our favorite neighborhood bakery, Neighbor Bakehouse in the Dogpatch, for coffee and a quick bite to eat.

neighbor bakehouse


To keep it a surprise for as long as possible, he didn’t bring anything else other than the camera bag, and we stopped into Sunshine Foods in St. Helena so he could pick up food for the picnic. We grabbed a baguette of Bouchon Bakery bread, a wedge of one of our favorite triple cream cheeses (Delices de Bourgogne), and some of our favorite charcuterie (spicy coppa, prosciutto, and two kinds of sopressata). We also grabbed two pink heart-shaped petit fours and a half bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon.


mustard napa yountville


bothe national park picnic
billicart salmon champaign boethe national park napa


I assumed we were going to picnic at a winery, but as we continually passed wineries we liked I got more confused, so I was really surprised when we pulled into Bothe Napa Valley State Park. This park is often overlooked–most visitors to Napa don’t know there are Redwood groves just a few minutes off Highway 29. We hiked about 10 minutes down the Redwood Trail until we found the perfect flat spot, off the trail and right next to a stream. We set up our picnic and enjoyed the quiet of the forest. Before we knew it, we had polished off the whole baguette and our little bottle of champagne. 


mustard field napa


We finished our quick day trip admiring the brilliant yellow mustard fields and stopped in to pick up a few bottles of wine from our favorite Napa winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards. For dinner, we wanted to keep the tradition of cooking at home. We had ordered swordfish from our favorite fish supplier Water2Table and wanted to turn it into an Italian/Mediterranean meal. We ordered some extra supplies via Instacart so they would arrive by the time we walked in the door. Perfect! We made swordfish spiedini, potatoes, and grilled oysters for the first time – all paired with our friends JB and Kyle’s recommendation–Sinskey’s Orgia skin-fermented Pinot Gris. It was perfect! 


swordfish spiedini


Get our recipes: Swordfish Spiedini and Grilled Oysters with Herb Butter

What a fun and memorable day. Have you picnicked lately? If not, you should! If you live in a colder climate, think about where you want to go on the first day it warms up. We both agreed that we should start doing picnics more often since there are so many amazing places in the Bay Area. Where would you like to see us picnic next?

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