To those who are not native to Napa Valley and only visit us occasionally during the Harvest, the region can seem to be solely given to wineries, wine tasting, and fine dining.
And, while all of that is certainly at the heart of Napa Valley and the wine country here, there is far more to living and recreating in the birthplace of California’s wine industry. Like sports, sports fans, and plenty of sports parties!
No matter if it’s the World Cup, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, or any of a wide variety of sports events, Napa Valley residents love to watch and to celebrate.
And both of these activities lend themselves to sports parties, which of course means good food and drinks.
Napa Valley Sports Parties and Feeding of the Fans
Sports party foods may vary from region to region and, because of the seasons, from sport to sport. However, there are several “staples” when it comes to sports party food favorites.
For example, a few years back the folks at The Daily Meal put together an unofficial ranking of the top Super Bowl foods. The results are certainly not surprising although a few items may have been unexpected:
#10 Deviled eggs
#8 Pigs in a blanket. …
#7 Potato skins. …
#6 Guacamole. …
#5 Seven-layer dip. …
#3 Spinach artichoke dip…
#2 Buffalo chicken dip…
#1 And the undisputed winner…Chicken wings.
While the traditional approach to sports party foods is ease of preparation (little to none preferably) and ease of consumption (think finger foods) the sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety of foods you can offer your guests.
One method of changing up the time-honored traditions of hot wings or chips-and-dip is to simply supplement those standard, iconic food items with a selection of other, less traditional dishes. These can also be simple and easy to prepare, to serve, and to eat, as well.
Some Sports Party Ideas Sure to Be Fan Food Favorites
Any home cook knows that crockpots have long made many dishes super simple and easy. And it is no different for this great take on a sports party favorite: meatless chili.
And, while purists may object to a chili without meat, the whole point here is to shake things up a bit and offer healthier and unique alternatives. And this Crockpot Vegetarian Chili from the archives of RealFoodWholeLife.com certainly does the trick.
This simple, slow cooker three bean vegetarian chili is loaded with vegetables like onion, bell pepper, carrot, and celery, and packed with hearty, protein-packed kidney, pinto, and black beans.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
Author: Robyn Downs
- Slow Cooker
- Chef’s Knife
- Cutting Board
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 15-oz can no-sugar added tomato sauce
- 1 15-oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp kosher salt divided
- 1 tsp granulated garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp mild chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
- Easy Guacamole
- Hot sauce, chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeno, avocado, sour cream, cheese, chips
- To a 6-quart slow cooker, add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika, stirring to combine.
- Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-7 or until the vegetables are tender.
- Uncover, stir in the lime juice and hot sauce, if using. Taste and add the remaining salt if desired. Serve as is or with any toppings you like.
While chili – meat or meatless – is certainly not a “finger food” it is still an easy dish to serve up and a great complement to your other game day standard fare.
And here’s a healthy and delicious alternative to hot wings from FoolProofLiving.com:
Crispy Cheddar Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Aysegul Sanford
- 1 ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup Tillamook sharp cheddar shredded
- 3 large egg whites
- 2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins pat dried with a paper towel
To Serve with (optional):
- Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place panko breadcrumbs in a plastic baggie, flatten to let the air out, and close it tightly. Using a pastry roller, roll the breadcrumbs to break them apart into smaller pieces.
- Place panko in a large bowl. Stir in salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
- Add in the cheddar and give it a toss.
- Give the egg whites a quick whisk and place in another bowl.
- Dip each chicken breast tenderloin first into the egg mixture and then press gently into the panko-cheddar mixture to make sure that it sticks to the chicken.
- Transfer to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Repeat the same process with the rest of the chicken breast tenderloins.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.
Consider adding a selection of complementary dipping sauces, as well, to give this dish a tantalizing taste variety.
Sports Parties Can Mean Much More than “Cold Cuts and Cold Brews”
In America we love our beers. From mass-produced pilsners to locally brewed craft rarities, beer is a long-standing staple beverage even in the Wine Country. And especially while watching sports events.
One of the joys of our modern brewing experience, however, is the vast variety of choices now available when it comes to beers and brews.
Just over two decades ago, around the time the underdog Diamondbacks defeated the heavily favored Yankees in the 2001 World Series, most fans were still relegated to drinking one of about four or five brews. These were produced by the dominant non-craft breweries at the time and consisted of Budweiser, Coors, Miller, and Michelob.
Today? Sports fans and party hosts can choose products from over 8,700 breweries operating in the USA.
So, instead of stocking the ice chests or fridge with the same, old “lite” beers, consider creating a “sampler” selection of local craft beers, ales, hard ciders, hard seltzers, and even a hard kombucha. And don’t forget the “old school” favorites like Guinness Stout and Anchor Steam.
Ballgame Beverages Can Be More than Beer
While most people think that having an adult beverage while watching a sports event means beer, the truth is that beer is not always a favored drink for everyone.
Serving wine at your sports party, while a naturally Napa Valley choice, can be a bit challenging. But it is certainly doable and can be well worth rising up to the challenge!
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to create a decadent pizza for your guests. That would then beg the question, “Is white or red wine better with pizza?”
According to one knowledgeable source,
“A savory red pizza with pepperoni or sausage may go better with a red wine, while a creamy white pizza could be better matched by a full-bodied white wine. A pizza with more delicate flavors, meanwhile, could pair nicely with a rosé wine.”
In fact, wines such as medium-dry Riesling and Pinot Gris, as well as fruity rosés are great for complementing spicy chicken dishes like hot wings, for example.
Cal Mart is Your Natural Destination for Your Sports Party Food Supplies
Since the Miami Dolphins capped an undefeated season with their Superbowl VII win in 1973, Cal Mart has been a shopping destination and a Napa Valley tradition for sports party supplies in Calistoga, California.
As a family-owned, independent grocery store, Cal Mart has been here to provide our neighbors and customers with a unique and enjoyable shopping experience for our customers for over 50 years. And we are proud to be the local “go-to” destination for great grocery shopping along with fine Napa Valley wines, fresh meats, exotic cheeses, and a wide variety of specialty food items.
All of which is why Cal Mart has become known as “Napa Valley’s Finest Grocery.”
So, if you’re stocking up on sports party snacks, food items and drinks, look no further than your local source for the best and finest in grocery supplies, craft beer, fine wines, and much more.
At Cal Mart, we offer a wide selection of great gourmet cheeses along with our vast variety of quality craft beers, ales, hard ciders, and, of course, fine wines. And since we always enjoy making things a bit special in Napa Valley, you can also peruse our unique and hard-to-find specialty foods items.
So, whether you’re planning a sports party for the end of the World Series, the upcoming Super Bowl LVII, or March Madness with the NBA, you’re sure to find what you need at Cal Mart. And you’re always welcome to take some time to come and explore all that we have to offer, no matter the occasion.
And when you’re here, please feel free to chat with our knowledgeable staff. Oh, and don’t forget to treat yourself to an autumn cup of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea from our Coffee Bar.
You’ll always find something unexpected, unusual, and uncommon at Cal Mart!