The Taste of Winter in Sonoma County

Winter is a magical time in Sonoma County, with so much to do yet generally less crowds, mild temperatures, and wonderful flavors that are unique to the area, such as freshly caught Dungeness crab and other sustainably sourced seafood straight from the Sonoma Coast. Here are some of the most anticipated flavors of a Sonoma County winter. 

1. Dungeness Crab 

Spud Point Bodega Bay
Spud Point Crab Co,

Dungeness crab is a winter tradition in Sonoma County, thanks to the wealth of amazing, fresh and locally caught Dungeness crab here. 

Pair fresh crab with a creamy Caesar salad, garlic bread, and bubbly and you’ve got the perfect classic winter meal. 

When it comes to crab, you cannot get fresher than Spud Point, where the crab is literally pulled out of the bay, put on ice, and sold within less than a day of being caught. An added bonus to waiting in the long line that typically forms at Spud Point to get your crab fresh-from-the-source, is that you can enjoy a bowl of Spud’s famous white or red clam chowder while you’re there. 

The following markets in Sonoma County are also great places to buy your fresh locally caught Dungeness crab: 

Oliver’s Market (Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, and Windsor) 

Anna’s Seafood (Petaluma) 

Big John’s Market (Healdsburg) 

2. Sonoma County Surf and Turf  

If steak and seafood sound like the perfect winter meal, look no further than Sonoma County’s local farms, butchers, and fish markets/purveyors to purchase the freshest and highest quality meat and seafood. 

Voted the Best Butcher Shop in Sonoma County for seven years in a row, Sonoma County Meat Co. sources its meats from local, sustainable family farms, and provides all the cut and wrap, smoking, and sausage-making in-house.  

Sonoma County Meat Co.’s cattle are free-range and grass-fed, and raised on a ranch in Knights Valley, just outside Calistoga, that practices regenerative agriculture, so you can feel good about how good the steaks taste. 

For other ideas, read Your Guide to Sustainable Meat in Sonoma County

For the “surf” part of your winter meal, whether it’s crab, lobster, halibut, salmon, or tuna you’re after, Anna’s Seafood in Petaluma is a fantastic place to pick up fresh, local, and sustainable seafood. You can also head to Oliver’s Market locations in Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, and Windsor, or Big John’s Market in Healdsburg. 

3. Bubbles  

J Vineyards Bubble Room
J Vineyards Bubble Room

There’s no shortage of good wine in Sonoma County and bubbles are no exception. The following sparkling wines, ranging from affordable to luxury-splurge in price, are some of our favorites: 

Amista Vineyards Sparkling Blanc de Blanc ($48) 

Bodkin Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($25) 

Gloria Ferrer 2018 Blanc de Blanc ($58) 

Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Magnum ($60)

Iron Horse Winter’s Cuvee 2018 ($72) 

J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Magnum ($75)

*Magnum bottles always make it a party! 

4. Freshly Baked Bread, Caesar Salad, and Other Winter Comfort Foods  

Goguette Bread
Goguette Bakery

The smell of freshly baked sourdough bread and warm garlic butter is a difficult one to top! Luckily, in Sonoma County, you can satisfy your craving at a few places. The following bakeries sell some of the freshest bread around: 

Costeaux Bakery (Healdsburg) 

Franco American Bakery (downtown Santa Rosa) 

Goguette Bakery (Montgomery Dr. in Santa Rosa)  

Quail and Condor (Healdsburg) 

To round out your meal, whether its potatoes, salad fixings, or an artisan cheese and charcuterie platter, Oliver’s Market has you covered with a wide selection of locally made products. Oliver’s also has a great in-house bakery that turns out some of the best pies, cookies, and sweets in Sonoma County. If you’re looking to order prepared foods, we highly recommend ordering in advance online. 

Oliver’s also has a great selection of local spirits and mixers to choose from, including Hanson of Sonoma vodka, Spirit Works Distillery gin, Griffo Distillery’s gin and whiskey, and a couple of other local gin and brandy options.


Written by Brooke Herron

You Might Also Like

Hamel Family Wines, wine tasting and non-alcoholic tasting
Wineries

With a massive flood of zero-proof beverages recently hitting the market, it’s become fairly easy to find nonalcoholic alternatives on…

Girls Getaway in Sonoma County
Food & Wine

Winter might be considered the off-season for many of the world’s hottest travel destinations, but a Wine Country visit between…

Wine tasting at sunset.
Outdoor/Nature

Fall is a busy time in Sonoma County. Plan ahead with our weekend-by-weekend, month-by-month collection of popular experiences — from…

Farmhouse Inn exterior
Food & Wine

From Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow to Justin and Hailey Bieber, you may bump into a few celebrities at Sonoma…

Yellow wildflowers covering field
Outdoor Activities

Springtime in Sonoma County is hard to beat! Plan ahead with our weekend-by-weekend, month-by-month collection of popular experiences — from…

Menorah lit up
Restaurants

Sonoma County will celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with a variety of traditional — and not so traditional —…

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival (Julie Vader/For Sonoma Index-Tribune)
Events & Festivals

The finest of Sonoma County’s art and agriculture will be on full display this autumn in a myriad of both…

Couple at beach with dog
Outdoor Activities

Find hidden gems, outdoor adventures and more with tips from those who know the coast better than anyone: The locals….

Buena Vista Winery barrels
Wineries

The term “ghost wineries” may conjure images of restless spirits wandering winery corridors, but it doesn’t refer to haunted vineyard…

Dishes from Farmhouse in Sonoma County
Restaurants

Underground pop-ups, food-centric wine bars, and farm-to-table favorites are gathering all kinds of momentum in Sonoma County. For this list,…

See What’s Happening

Share your experience using #SonomaCounty or #LifeOpensUp