Cacao Pod for Chocolate - Booker and Butler ConciergesNapa is such foodie getaway – with so many Michelin-starred restaurants like The French Laundry, Redd, Bouchon, and Bottega – it’s easy to overlook Sonoma. Not us. We’re at Shed in Healdsburg, browsing the aisles while we kill time before dinner at Chalkboard next door.

Shed is a gourmet market with the most beautiful cookware and gardening tools you can imagine. But the thing that made me pull my wallet out was this from Dandelion Chocolate in SF, a small-batch bean-to-bar producer in the Mission District.

To prove their bona fides, they package their chocolate with a cocao pod from Ecuador. You have to hold one of these things in your hand to truly appreciate how exotic it is. Not sure what I’ll ever do with it. The show-and-tell potential was just too cool to pass up.

Over dinner at one of Sonoma’s top restaurants Chalkboard, between fork-fulls of pork shoulder strozzapreti and lemongrass beef skewers, we will plan our day on the Cheese Trail. There are over 30 farms and creameries in these parts, from Bodega Bay to Sonoma. Thanks to Booker & Butler’s Sonoma concierge services, we were tipped off on a few can’t-miss producers like Cowgirl and Tomales Farmstead.

Sonoma, Marin Cheese Trail Map - Booker and Butler ConciergesOxbow-cheese-crop for booker and butler