Bastille Day at Fairmont Hotel, Thursday, July 14
Celebrate the storming of the Bastille in style at the Fairmont hotel in San Jose. In celebration of French liberation there will be a 5 course gourmet meal including delicacies such as Bouillabaisse (seafood stew), duck, rack of lamb, and a decadent dessert all accompanied by fine French wine. Of course no French celebration would be complete without an accordion player and an Edith Piaf style singer, so come prepared with your beret and your appetite!

Vertical Syrah Tasting at Big Basin, Friday, July 15
Big Basin grapes grow on steep hillsides, and are cooled by ocean breezes and fog, which promotes the development of color and complex flavors. In growing them, the staff employs sustainable and organic farming practices. This Friday, spend a day tasting syrah at Big Basin’s Saratoga tasting room. Winemaker and proprietor Bradley Brown will be hosting this special day. The vertical will include 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages of Big Basin’s Mandala Syrah. There will also be limited quantities of the ‘06 and ‘07 Mandala from the Library collection available for sale.

Wine and Cheese Tasting at Vine Hill Winery, Saturday, July 16
It’s passport weekend in Santa Cruz once again and Vine Hill Winery is celebrating with another wine and cheese tasting, because after all, few things in life go together as well as wine and cheese. This Saturday and Sunday the pairings will include Beehive Co.’s “Barely Buzzed” cheddar, a cheese that has been rubbed with coffee and lavender, and a Vermont Vintage Purple Wax Cabot among others. There will also be small plates for sale with a great selection of salami and cheeses, and goat cheese toast with fig preserves. As always the tables and chairs on Vine Hill’s beautiful upper patio will be there for guests to relax in and enjoy the surrounding views. Sip, munch and relax!

Festival of Basil Cooking Class at Filoli, Saturday, July 16
If there is one herb that epitomizes summer’s bounty, it is basil. Basil, with its sharp and peppery yet fresh aroma awakens the senses and makes us long for warm summer evenings and outdoor dining. This Saturday, come to Filoli in Woodside to work with Pamela Keith as she shows you how to use basil in new and creative ways. Instruction includes the teaching and tasting of each recipe, professional cooking tips, suggestions for advance preparation and recipe variations and ideas for entertaining and artful presentation.

Connoisseurs’ Marketplace in Menlo Park, Sunday, July 17
What would summer be without closed off streets, the smell of barbecue wafting from vendor’s tents, gourmet samples, live music and streets full of kids and adults basking in the sunshine. That’s right, I’m talking about outdoor festivals. This weekend, Menlo Park’s venerable Connoisseurs’ Marketplace marks 25 years as one of the Bay Area’s top summer festivals. It’s a sun-splashed weekend featuring world-class art by 250 of America’s top artists, two days of stellar music, enlightening chefs’ demos, fabulous food and drink, tons of fun for kids, artisan specialty food purveyors, a collector car show, home and garden exhibits, health and wellness displays, an organic and green products showcase, and the cool new Cuda Lounge. Don’t miss out!