The resort is one of our favorite places to stay in California wine country. 

By Bridget Hallinan
June 10, 2019
Carley Rudd Photography

We’ve waxed poetic about California’s Carmel Valley Ranch—think summer camp, significantly upgraded—multiple times. At one of the resort’s restaurants, Valley Kitchen, chef Tim Wood’s honey-chile wings have earned their spot on our “best chicken wings in the U.S.” roundup, and the ranch is one of our favorite places to stay in California wine country. This week, Carmel Valley announced a resort-wide revamp set to debut on June 15, that, among refreshed guest suites and new activities to try, includes two more culinary concepts to get excited about—The Market and the Creamery, located in the main lodge.

The Creamery is your destination for cheese. Expect pop-up tastings, cheese pairings, and various demonstrations and workshops led by the resort’s cheesemaker, Charlie Cascio—said cheese is made from Carmel Valley Ranch’s resident Swiss nanny goats, who can be found at the Goat Barn. (Yes, you can visit them.) Cascio started his career as a trained chef and is best known for his small batches of organic, cave-aged raw goat milk cheeses, so definitely keep an eye out for tastings on the horizon. The more dessert-minded may flock to the Creamery's housemade yogurt and ice cream, which also makes use of resident goats.

The Market.
Carley Rudd Photography

At The Market, on the other hand, guests can purchase a wide range of products that are made on-site, including fresh honey, salt, herbs, eggs, and wine (e.g. Swing Wines 2016 Reserve, which is grown at Carmel Valley’s four-acre pinot noir vineyard). True to its name, you can purchase artisan goods there, whether you’re looking for pastries or items made with locally grown lavender; you can even create your own picnic basket. The Market will also host workshops and demonstrations, from chef Tim Wood, a beekeeper, fisherman, salt farmer, cheesemaker, organic gardener, and more. 

The Creamery.
Carley Rudd Photography

Other additions coming to Carmel Valley Ranch this summer include falconry, hatchet throwing, a junior naturalist camp for children, and “Nocturnal Nights” (a twilight walk where you can test your night vision and learn about bats, owls, and other nocturnal animals on site). All of the new features launch on June 15.

Goods at The Market.
Carley Rudd Photography

However, if you’re not planning on stopping by any time soon, we have a way to bring a little bit of Carmel Valley Ranch into your own home—the recipe for those famous chicken wings. They’re the perfect combination of sweet, sticky, and salty, and are ready in an hour. Need we say more?