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No matter where one lives, the holiday season is a time for joy, merriment, and gathering around the table to indulge in timeless flavors that evoke nostalgia and warmth. And few places do that better than Napa Valley. In addition, we are privileged to have some of the finest dining and culinary treasures along with lovely scenery and some of the best holiday spirits to be found.

But despite our reputation for gourmet foods and fine wines, there is something special and even a bit magical about classic fare at Christmas. So, with this article, we want to invite you to join us as we celebrate the essence of Christmas by presenting two beloved and traditional dishes that have stood the test of time, embodying the spirit of the season.



Nothing Says Classic Christmas Like
Roast Turkey with Herb Butter


Sure, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and family were gifted with a glorious Christmas goose. But that was England in the 1840s. On this side of the Pond, we’ve embraced a few other meats as the centerpiece of our Christmas feasts, and roast turkey is truly a classic choice.


1 whole turkey (12-14 pounds)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 onions, quartered
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 lemons, halved
Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)


Prepare the Turkey:
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C).
2. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on a rack in a roasting pan.
Prepare the Herb Butter:
1. In a bowl, mix the softened butter with the chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper until well combined.
Season and Stuff the Turkey:
1. Gently loosen the skin of the turkey from the breast and legs, being careful not to tear it.
2. Rub the herb butter mixture under the skin and all over the turkey, ensuring an even coating.
3. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper.
4. Place the quartered onions, crushed garlic cloves, and halved lemons inside the cavity for added flavor.
Roast Turkey:
1. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and place it in the preheated oven.
2. Roast the turkey for about 3 to 3 ½ hours, basting it occasionally with the pan juices.
3. Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking to allow the skin to brown and crisp up.
4. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey’s internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
5. Once done, tent the turkey with foil and let it rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving.
Serve and Garnish:
1. Carve the turkey and arrange it on a platter.

2. Garnish with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage for an elegant presentation.




And What is Christmas without a

Classic Eggnog?


Ever wondered how eggnog first came about? And why? Wikipedia states that, While culinary historians debate its exact lineage, most agree eggnog originated from the early medieval” British drink called posset, which was made with hot milk that was curdled with wine or ale and flavored with spices. In the Middle Ages, posset was used as a cold and flu remedy.


And why is eggnog served at Christmas? According to the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica, It was thought that the use of “luxury” ingredients such as cream and alcohol would invite prosperity into the household for the coming year. In most households today, a cup of eggnog ushers in the good cheer of the holiday more so than any belief in impending wealth.


Whatever it’s origins and whatever reason it became a classic Christmas drink, we’re happy to present you with this traditional eggnog recipe.



6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup rum or bourbon (optional)
Whipped cream and additional nutmeg for garnish



Prepare the Eggnog Base:
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they are well combined and slightly thickened.
Heat the Milk and Cream:
1. In a saucepan, heat the milk and heavy cream over medium-low heat until it begins to steam. Do not boil.
2. Slowly add the heated milk and cream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.
Cook the Eggnog:
1. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens slightly. This should take about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon.
Add Flavors:
1. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and rum or bourbon (if using). Adjust the flavors according to your preference.
Chill and Serve:
1. Transfer the eggnog to a pitcher or bowl and cover it.
2. Refrigerate the eggnog for at least 4 hours or overnight to chill and allow the flavors to meld.
3. Before serving, give it a good stir.
4. Pour the eggnog into glasses and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.


These classic recipes, a succulent roast turkey and a creamy, spiced eggnog, capture the essence of Christmas gatherings and are sure to delight your loved ones. Prepare these cherished dishes to create cherished memories that embody the spirit of the holiday season.


Stock Up On Great Snacks Before Your Trip

More Classic Christmas Foods (Minus the Figgy Pudding!)


Christmas in the United States is a time of diverse culinary traditions, reflecting the country’s multicultural heritage. Those who find themselves at the upper end of the age spectrum among the Baby Boomers may have a clearer recollection of some of the many “classic” dishes that were served at many Christmas meals in decades past. Our Millennials and Gen Z, or post-Millennials? Maybe not so much.


This is why we cobbled together this short list of some of the mainstays of many of Christmas’s past. Here are some of the most common and traditional food items served during the Christmas season:


Christmas Ham: A glazed and roasted ham, often adorned with cloves, pineapples, or cherries, serves as a centerpiece at many Christmas tables. It’s a flavorful and succulent dish enjoyed by many families.
Prime Rib: Alongside or in place of ham, prime rib roast is a popular choice for Christmas dinner, known for its tenderness and rich flavor. It’s often seasoned with herbs and served with au jus or horseradish sauce.
Roast Goose or Duck: In some regions, roast goose or duck takes the spotlight at Christmas gatherings. These rich and flavorful meats are often served with fruit-based sauces or glazes.
Turkey: While associated more with Thanksgiving, many families enjoy a second turkey feast for Christmas, offering a familiar and comforting main dish.
Stuffing or Dressing: A savory side dish made with bread, herbs, vegetables, and sometimes sausage, baked separately or inside the bird, complementing the main course.
Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic and comforting side dish that accompanies many Christmas meals.
Cranberry Sauce: A sweet-tart sauce made from cranberries, often served as a condiment with roast meats to add a burst of flavor.
Green Bean Casserole: A casserole dish made with green beans, creamy mushroom sauce, and crispy fried onions, offering a comforting and flavorful side.
Sweet Potatoes or Yams: Often prepared as a casserole topped with marshmallows or pecans, providing a sweet and indulgent side dish.
Rolls or Biscuits: Freshly baked rolls or biscuits grace the table, perfect for soaking up gravies and sauces.
Christmas Cookies: A variety of cookies, such as sugar cookies, gingerbread, snickerdoodles, and shortbread, are baked and decorated in festive shapes and flavors, enjoyed as treats throughout the holiday season.
Fruitcake: Despite its reputation, fruitcake remains a nostalgic and traditional Christmas dessert made with candied fruits, nuts, and spices, often soaked in spirits.
Yule Log: A dessert resembling a log made of sponge cake, rolled with creamy filling, and often decorated to resemble a log with bark and mushrooms, symbolizing the Yule log burned in the hearth during the holiday.
Pies and Desserts: Apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and various other desserts grace the holiday table, offering sweet endings to the Christmas meal.


These classic and traditional dishes and treats vary across regions and households but collectively they represent the richness of flavors and the spirit of togetherness during the festive Christmas season in the United States.


Local Napa Wines and Craft Beers


Cal Mart For All Your Napa Valley Christmas Sweets Inspiration


A family-owned and independent grocery store, Cal Mart continues to offer a unique, enjoyable, and memorable shopping experience for our customers after half a century. Our employees proudly offer up a large variety and wide selection to our loyal customers.


And it is because of them that Cal Mart has been the go-to local destination for fine Napa Valley wines, meats, cheeses, and specialty food items all these years. For over 50 years our customers have enjoyed a unique and memorable shopping experience during the holidays – and throughout the year.


This is one of the many reasons why we are known as “Napa Valley’s Finest Grocery.”


So, this holiday season, take some time to come and explore all that we have to offer. While you’re here, please feel free to talk with our knowledgeable staff and then treat yourself to a cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea from our Coffee Bar.


Remember: at Cal Mart, you will always find something that is unexpected, unusual, and uncommon!


Stock Up On Great Snacks Before Your Trip