An integral part of that is the upcoming 14th annual Mendocino Crab & Wine Days festival, Jan. 20 through Jan. 29. Locally harvested Dungeness crabs will join locally produced reds, whites and roses in a celebration of eating and drinking that attracts foodies from around the U.S. and beyond.
Festival events are held in various venues around Mendocino County and are priced a la carte. The centerpiece is the Crab Cake Cook-Off and Wine Tasting Competition, at which 12 Mendocino County restaurant chefs will make their best crab cakes and pair them with sips from 22 wineries. The photo above shows a tray of crab cakes topped with green salsa and yellow aioli (photo by John Birchard), served at last year's event. For "dessert" will be crab cioppino and crab salad.
Other festival highlights will include crab-themed dinners, winemaker dinners, family-style cioppino feasts, cooking demonstrations, food-tastings, wine-tastings and competitions, winery tours and - something different - crab-catching excursions with local fishermen aboard their vessels.
For a calendar of events and lodging packages and other specials: www.visitmendocino.com (type in "crab" in the search window), (866) 782-9636.