The dreamy coastal town of Santa Cruz is much more than the typical beach destination with surfer roots and shoreline views. Located in Central California, this Monterey Bay locale is also close to plenty of farmland, making it ideal for the visiting foodie. Locally sourced ingredients seep through the restaurant menus, and you can even make trips to different farms or stores where they make staple edible items popular to the area. We wanted to delve into some of our favorite Santa Cruz foodie spots to check off your list when making a trip out to the seaside paradise.
You may have tried Martinelli’s apple cider once or twice as a kid. Or maybe the apple juice was more your style. Well, did you know that the original libation of Martinelli’s was actually a hard, alcoholic cider? Back in the 1840s a brother duo from Switzerland came to California looking for gold. Instead, they found themselves crafting one of America’s favorite drinks by fermenting sweet apples grown from their farm. While the hard cider became discontinued due to the Prohibition Era, the non-alcoholic cider remained a hit, and to this day is sold in stores nationwide. Today, you can visit Martinelli’s Company Store & Tasting Room, right outside of Santa Cruz, and have a free tasting of some of their most popular and coveted flavors.
Watsonville Fermented Cabbage
At Farmhouse Culture in Watsonville, it’s all about the cabbage. With a pinch of salt, they transform heads of fresh organic California cabbage into probiotic boosting sauerkraut. The company makes it their goal to inspire people to incorporate fermented foods into every bite, whether it’s piled on a burger, stacked on a sandwich, or infused into your favorite sauces. Garlic dill pickle, sriracha ginger, golden turmeric, and sea salt caraway, are just some of the unique and delicious kraut flavors within Farmhouse Culture’s fermentation repertoire. Try them all when you visit the Santa Cruz Community Farmers Market.
Eating well doesn’t mean you have to cut out the sweets! If you’re hankering for some chocolate to indulge your palette, you’ll be happy to hear that Santa Cruz is also home to artisan chocolatier, Ashby Confections. Jennifer Ashby wanted to take the idea of the high-quality handmade chocolate shops that you find in Europe and bring it home to Santa Cruz. Not only are her chocolates beautiful, but a bite into one will bring on a “full-body sensory experience.” Apart from her mouthwatering menu of chocolates ready to order, the shop also offers custom chocolates, letting your Willy Wonka dreams run wild.
Chaminade Resort & Spa
Ready to ignite your tastebuds touring some of Santa Cruz’s best foodie spots? Stay at the Chaminade Resort & Spa, and you’ll finish the day at a mountaintop retreat with ocean vista views and world-class amenities. The resort’s charming Mission-style architecture and Spanish details will make you feel like you’ve walked into a luxe hacienda with the beach and downtown Santa Cruz only five minutes away.