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The CIA at Greystone: Take a Look -- or Take a Class

The Culinary Institute of America's Greystone Campus is a worthy stop on any trip through Napa Valley. Whether you simply want a peek at the grounds and exhibits or wish to spend more time here honing your cooking and wine savvy, this acclaimed school in St. Helena is a treat.

Wander Around: Take in the terraced flower, herb and vegetable gardens around the grand and gracious 1888 building. Here, enveloped by the scents of huge rosemary bushes, you'll likely spot young culinary students in their chef's whites plucking herbs for the day's lessons.

Once inside, you can view an exhibit on the Christian Brothers winery -- an earlier tenant of the building -- along with a display of over 1,000 corkscrews collected by Brother Timothy, a former winemaker. The intriguing devices, many of them centuries old, range from the oddball to the ingenious; all speak to the passion wine lovers have shown for coming up with clever ways to open a bottle.

Stay and Learn: Seeking more than a look at this renowned school? Thanks to short classes and seminars available to the public, visitors can take their food and wine knowledge to another level.

For example, during a four-day Wine Discovery course, participants learn to evaluate wines like a professional, study how winemakers craft a style and get the inside scoop on how the wine industry works. Shorter two-day courses have included topics such as wine and food pairing, sensory analysis and a special workshop on Champagne.

Fridays through Mondays, avid cooks can attend the institutes one-hour California cooking demonstrations. At recent demos, the school's renowned chef-instructors presented recipes for such delicacies as Armagnac Brandy Snaps with Mocha Mousse; Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Jeweled Couscous; and Oaxacan Green Mole Stew with Pork, White Beans and Vegetables.

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