On visits to Napa, we inevitably make a beeline to our favorite stores to stock up on locally made products that cannot be found elsewhere. After months of sheltering in place, we are looking forward to heading back to the valley for an extended shopping expedition.
Opened in 2004 by the Anderson Wood family, this chocolate shop is housed within a historic stone-and-brick building on the main stretch of St. Helena’s downtown. Woodhouse employs traditional European chocolate-making techniques to create an assortment of bite-size chocolates, toffees, truffles and colorful barks. These treats are beautifully presented in glass cases like fine jewelry displayed at Cartier. The owners’ daughters are usually behind the counter, and their warm personalities and passionate descriptions make this shop a destination unto itself.
1367 Main Street, St. Helena. Tel. (707) 963-8413
The eco-friendly soaps sold at this charming boutique are crafted by hand in small batches of 50 bars each. Founder Sheila Rockwood creates products that employ ingredients grown in the area, including cold-pressed Napa Valley grape-seed oil, lavender, beeswax, chamomile and other local botanicals. Among our favorites are the fruit-scented Cabernet Soapignon and the Soapignon Blanc, which leaves skin refreshed and tingly. The rich vinotherapy creams are also deservedly popular. The store has a new line of candles that we are anxious to try.
Napa Soap Company
655 Main Street, St. Helena. Tel. (707) 963-5010
Family owned and operated since 1931, this old-school store — not to be confused with the St. Helena Olive Oil Company — is more of an Italian grocery than an olive oil shop. Discreetly tucked within a white wooden barn built in 1880, it is an easy place to overlook. The plan may be to buy just a bottle of their chartreuse-colored olive oil, but having been seduced by the smells of hanging hams, salamis and cheeses, chances are that you will want to explore every aromatic niche of the cavernous interior. One corner is stocked with huge wheels of Italian cheese, while a table displays row upon row of bottles of homemade balsamic vinegar, as well as oil made from locally grown olives. Do not leave without a flask of the signature extra-virgin olive oil and maybe one of the homemade dried fennel sausages. This place is a historic treasure and a local secret.
Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing Company
835 Charter Oak Street, St. Helena. Tel. (707) 963-4173
The vast array of tempting options at this charcuterie and butcher shop in the Oxbow Public Market is a little overwhelming, but the friendly staff are ready to describe every terrine, sausage, pâté, salumi and roast on offer. The ingredients are sourced from small family farms with which the owners have partnered for over 20 years. And meats are made in small batches to ensure that every product is of the highest quality. The White Rock salami (a traditional pork salami infused with White Rock Vineyards’ Cabernet Franc), the house pâté sold by the pound and the cider-brined pork chops smoked over cherry wood are some of our favorites. The Fatted Calf also has a shop in San Francisco. Butchery demonstrations and charcuterie classes are regularly hosted at both locations.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Jeff and Sally Manfredi, this shop and studio has been firing attractive pottery for more than 40 years. The rustic ceramics, available in a variety of shapes and colorful glazes, are lead-free, as well as dishwasher- and microwave-safe. The charming couple gladly lead studio tours upon request. You may see pottery from this shop all over town, as many local wineries, inns and restaurants purchase directly from the Manfredis. Custom orders can be placed.
1001 Foothill Boulevard, Calistoga. Tel. (707) 942-0216