Rainbow Bay, Gold Coast, Queensland, Aus.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Another day Tauck tours took us to the CIA (no not that one) the Culinary Institute of America." Rising castle-like on the western hills, the CIA at Greystone is one of the Napa Valley's most historic and majestic properties. It's also one of the world's most unique and inspiring campuses for culinary education. "
It was an amazing building. Too big to fit into the camera lens. It was made of huge sandstone blocks.

Inside was very impressive too. It had a huge atrium and stairs to the upper levels. We were chuffed to see the Australian flag flying next to the Swiss flag (TOH being Swiss).

The students were in one of the huge kitchens preparing our lunch.

The spice pantry and a mural of chefs learning their trade.

The students had modern lecture rooms seen at the left and a pleasant common room.

On the way downstairs I glimpsed our table setting in this huge room. The students made us a delicious meal of salad, chicken and asparagus but for dessert........... 

we had to go into a lecture room and learn how to cook it first. I bet the real students don't get given a dessert wine.

The head chef demonstrated how to make a 'Rustic Fruit Gallette and Creme Anglaise.' He was very amusing and had us giggling all the way through. Then we were all given a serving of his creation. It was delicious. It was fun experiencing what the students do there.

With full tummies and happy smiles we left the CIA and went back to the Sonoma Lodge to prepare for our farewell dinner as this was the last night of our tour of Sonoma and the Napa Valley


  1. What a fun tour this must have been. I have heard to the Institute but have never had the pleasure of visiting. Getting to see your dessert prepared looks like a great way to end the meal.

  2. You surely win an award for having some of the best holiday ideas and activities ever!

    I noticed the Aussie and Swiss flags together too - grown very accustomed to the white cross on red these days and are rather fond of it!

  3. What a great way to experience new places. Enjoyed reading about your time in the Napa valley.

  4. You always seem to find the most amazing tours! I'd love to visit the CIA myself! We are both foodies, aren't we?

  5. You sure do interesting stuff on your trips. As a person who usually travels independently we miss out a little I think.

  6. It looks like you are playing in the televison serial "Masterchef". The kitchen and the other parts look simular. Was great fun I think.

  7. If I had another lifetime, I'd go to one of those schools. Preferably, this one. :)

  8. How interesting ! I love the definition of the CIA, next time I will correct people who say the wrong definition ;)!

  9. You see the neatest things on your travels. I'm going to have to start taking notes. We have passed by the CIA several times on our trips around and about. The real CIA at Langley. Not too far away from here. I think it would be easier to get into your CIA however and one I would probably enjoy more. The closest I ever got into a closed area was at the DEA and FBI training center which is south of us. We had a good friend who was being sworn into the DEA. I jokingly got told off because I bought an FBI badge from the gift shop - maybe joking with a point so I turned around and bought a DEA badge so as not to show favoritism. My Dad loved to watch any FBI type dramas on TV and it was a gift for him, that was my excuse I told them. Dad also got the DEA badge.

  10. well after i got over my disappointment that it was NOT the CIA that I love to read about in thrillers, I calmed down and enjoyed the looks and smells. well i would enjoy the smells if i were there. the building is beautiful inside and outside and lunch sounds wonderful. maybe you could write a murder mystery for me that involves poison in the CIA????

  11. I was already thinking, the CIA? But ok, now I understand. Nice such a visit.


  12. Well your heading tricked me also!
    What a coincidence that the flags of Australia and Switzerland were side by side. Maybe they had "CIA" intelligence that a certain Bohlen pair were arriving?
    Pretty impressive Institute, makes me now wonder what the College for International Hospitality and Culinery Excellence in the previously owned Cardinal's Palace on the North Head of Manly has in it. All the flags of the countries of various students are flown there on the outside and lit up at night. The students board there in the rooms of the ex-seminarians.
    I wander all over the estate when I stay there with Dennis and Maggie, but have never ventured inside. Hmmmm - will be put on my must see list, now.
    Very informative blog Diane, well done.
    Colin (HB)

  13. Diane, did you get a chef's hat to wear? A great place to visit, I am sure the food was yummy. What a neat tour of Napa. Wonderful post and photos.

  14. How cool! The company you went with really knows how to do a tour ... I'm very impressed.

  15. Gorgeous architecture, wine, cooking lesson... that sounds like a great day!

  16. What a wonderful treat! my husband's nephew graduated from the CIA in upstate NY and has been the chef for the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC for many years.

  17. This looks like a great day out. We often used to eat at the Hotel School in Bophuhatswana and we always had a fantastic meal. Diane