When I think of Mediterranean-Rustic design and gourmet indulgence, the first name that comes to mind is Chef Michael Chiarello. Known for his exquisite taste and culinary expertise, Chiarello brought the essence of Napa Valley to kitchens nationwide. Sadly, Chiarello died on October 6th from an allergy which led to anaphylactic shock.  But we remember him well.

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Beyond his renowned cooking skills, he curated a Napa Style catalog and store, offering a unique selection of gourmet foods, tabletop treasures, and beautiful entertaining essentials. It was a haven for those seeking to infuse their homes with the same warmth and elegance that permeated Napa’s rolling vineyards.

photo of the front of the old Napa Style store

Chiarello’s influence extended far beyond his store’s shelves. His popular Food Network show, Easy Entertaining, invited viewers into his kitchen, demystifying the art of hosting with effortless charm. He penned several cookbooks, each a testament to his dedication to bringing the flavors of Napa to the masses.

the restaurant's sign and the stone building with ivy growing up the walls and on the roof
The beautiful Tuscan exterior of Tra Vigne

One of Chiarello’s most enduring legacies is the iconic Tra Vigne restaurant nestled in the heart of Napa Valley. Though he eventually passed the torch, the restaurant is a mainstay for those seeking an authentic taste of the region’s bounty.

Now, let’s dive into the recipes, all infused with that unmistakable Napa Style:

The Cocktail

a pitcher and glass filled with white sangria and different types of orange slices
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

White Wine California Citrus Sangria – Experience a sip of Napa with this refreshing twist on a classic sangria. Blending the bright citrus notes of California with the crisp elegance of white wine, it’s a toast to Chiarello’s enduring legacy.

The Mocktail

a pitcher and a glass of non-alcoholic white sangria with berries and apples
This Vivacious Life - get the recipe

Non-Alcoholic White Sangria – This is the only non-Chiarello recipe in today’s round-up For those seeking the same burst of flavor without the alcohol, Chandice from The Vivacious Life delivers this non-alcoholic white sangria. 

The Protein

a white crock filled with bright green salsa verde
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

Grilled Shrimp with Italian Salsa Verde – Infused with the bold flavors of Italy, this dish showcases succulent shrimp kissed by the grill and adorned with a vibrant salsa verde. This sauce would be perfect on other seafood or any type of poultry and would add zesty flavor to any boring veggie.

The Veggie

a tureen of creamy broccoli soup
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

Individual Cups of Very Green Broccoli Soup – Embrace the verdant vitality of Napa with these individual cups of broccoli soup. Creamy, yet vibrant, this captures the essence of the region’s abundant produce. I often make this soup and add an extra crown of steamed, chopped broccoli at the end for texture.

The Nosh

a bowl of cracked olives with evoo and spices
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

Calabrian Cracked Olives – Elevate your happy hour with these piquant Calabrian cracked olives. A perfect marriage of spicy and briny, they’re a nod to Chiarello’s love for bold, Mediterranean flavors. We have made these often and they are truly addicting.

The Dip

a bowl of thick, light green cheesy pesto
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

 Hazelnut, Ricotta & Lemon Pesto – This hazelnut, ricotta, and lemon pesto is a revelation. Paired with a colorful crudite platter or some toasted baguettes, it’s a celebration of contrasts, creating a symphony of flavors and textures.

The Crunch

3 clear glasses with paper cones filled with fried beans
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

Crispy White Beans with Chili Oil – Experience the irresistible crunch of crispy white beans, kissed with the subtle heat of chili oil. It’s a delightful snack that keeps you coming back for more.

The Sweet

a hand pie with blueberries oozing out
Michael Chiarello - get the recipe

Apple and Blueberry Hand Pies – End your Napa Style happy hour on a sweet note with these delectable hand pies. The marriage of juicy apples and plump blueberries is a fitting tribute to Chiarello’s devotion to flavor.

2 picnic tables with bottles of wine sitting in the vineyard with a background of rows of grapes growing
A photo I took from the Napa Style Catalog back in 2010

As my husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary with our BFFs in the heart of Napa, we found ourselves immersed in a culinary reverie that mirrored Chef Chiarello’s devotion to Napa Style. Our meal at Tra Vigne was nothing short of enchanting, with each bite of the vibrant salad etching a memory we hold dear. It was a masterpiece, an ode to the very freshest ingredients and a profusion of colorful tomatoes that danced on our palates.

The types of products sold in the Napa Style catalog and store - bottles of oils and vinegars
The types of products sold in the Napa Style catalog and store

The Napa Style store, a treasure trove of gourmet delights, beckoned us with its array of caponata, truffle salt, and chili oil, each jar and bottle a testament to the flavors that define this region. In the wake of our visit, we understood, just as Chiarello did, the magnetic pull that Napa exerts. It’s a place that seizes your heart and palate, beckoning you to return, time and time again, to savor the very essence of life’s most exquisite flavors.

Get your hands on a Michael Chiarello and starts cooking up a storm…you’ll be glad you did.

Keep Dancing, Darlene