Celebrate the Central Coast: Enjoy Savor Fest, Stay in Pismo Beach

Each year Sunset magazine sponsors SAVOR The Central Coast, an extended weekend—offered at the end of September—designed to spotlight the rich cultural and agricultural contributions of the Central Coast of California. Each year the slate of activities and events grows and adds breadth and depth to our understanding and appreciation for all that the Central Coast has to offer.


Attendees come from far and wide. Locals are joined by their Northern and Southern California neighbors, as well as many from afar—including an Arizona contingent, who now flies in directly from Phoenix to Pismo Beach to enjoy the surf and sand, while they attend SAVOR The Central Coast.

The events at SAVOR The Central Coast start on Thursday morning with an array of “adventure tours” to introduce guests to the diversity on offer in San Luis Obispo County. From Hearst Castle to Morro Bay, to kayaking, visiting a distillery, wine and cider tasting and more. The choices appealed to all manner of adventure.

As our adventure tour we selected “Find Your Muse in the Gardens of Paso Robles Inn.

Guided by an trained artist from Studios on the Park, we sipped wine, as we applied acrylics to canvass, enjoyed lunch on the patio and left with our own painted masterpiece. What an inspiring way to start savoring the weekend.


The opening night party called “Strings at Sunset” took place at Vina Robles Amphiteater, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, where the Sunset International Wine Competition winners poured their wines—accompanied by gourmet food—including tasty tacos from the Border Grill Food Truck, which was graciously served by Chef Mary Sue Milliken herself.

Creative String entertainment, including music, dance and song blended with the stunning outdoor setting to create a magical evening. The main weekend Grand Tasting events were held at the Santa Margarita Ranch, a large ranch between San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. Wine and food tastings shared the spotlight with culinary demos at “Chef Central”— where we delighted in hearing the culinary storytelling mastery of Border Grill Chef Mary Sue Milliken.

At “Winemaker Central” we experienced an in-depth dive into the world of beer and cider production, highlighting the selection of hops, barrels, bottles and yeasts that make for the endless variety of styles and flavor profiles of brewed beverages—including beer. The live music, informative seminars and wide array of food and beverages make this weekend enriching for all the senses and a “must do” on your calendar for next year.

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To plan for Savor the Central Coast scheduled for Sept. 22 – 25, 2016, go to the website. http://www.savorcentralcoast.com.

The San Luis Obispo County is filled with diverse lodging options. We stayed in Pismo Beach because this quintessentially classic beach town offers all the nostalgic attractions that hearken back to the dune buggies of a bygone era with plenty of history, legend and lore.

SeaCrest Oceanfront Resort hovers at the edge of the Pacific offering breathtaking ocean and sunset views from the extensive grounds, hot tubs, and picnic areas, complete with outside barbecue grilling facilities. Families frolic and couples stroll in a time warp of relaxed leisure.


The oceanfront hotel, Sea Venture, offers endless beach views along with its legendary brunches, adding modern twists to breakfast classics. In Pismo Beach many restaurants abound including the well-liked Giuseppess Cucina Italiana which fires up some of the crunchiest wood oven pizzas outside of Puglia—with home-grown produce and wines coming directly from the family. This is an authentic taste of Italy.

Right next door to Giuseppess, The Taste of the Valleys Wine Bar boasts 1,000 different wines, making it one of the Top 20 Wine Bars in America according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Owner, Ashe, and his wife, Lisa, take great pride in their selections and will literally guarantee your satisfaction.

The Edna Valley, just minutes from Pismo Beach, boasts iconic wine country vistas and award winning wines in its eponymous tasting room.


Many beach towns have changed with the times. However Pismo Beach is timeless, offering waves, wines, delicious dining and laid back California Dreamin’. For more information on Pismo Beach go to their website. www.classiccalifornia.com.

By Diane Sukiennik and Michael Reiss Courtesy www.foodandwineaccess.com “Photos by Michael Reiss”

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