Santa Cruz, Capitola, Gilroy, & San Jose food and beer events this weekend

Chef Carla Hall learns how to do a calamari flame-up on Gourmet Alley at the 2014 festival

Chef Carla Hall learns how to do a calamari flame-up on Gourmet Alley at the 2014 festival

There are many food and beer events occurring this weekend in local cities including Santa Cruz, Capitola, San Jose, and Gilroy. Below are details for a few of them, including two that start today.

Friday, July 24-Sunday, July 26: Gilroy Garlic Festival
The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival includes celebrity chef Daphne Oz (from ABC-TV’s “The Chew”), four chefs competing in the garlic cook-off, and lots of food. The garlic cook-off takes place Sunday, July 26, where the contestants face off in front of a live audience. Following that battle, Chef Oz will conduct a cooking demo. And for the first time, the cook-off stage will also feature a “garlic dream wedding” where contest winners/garlic-loving couple Stacy and Tom Davenport will renew their wedding vows.

As always, the festival’s “Gourmet Alley” is open all three days. It features cooking demonstrations and many foods for sale including garlic bread, garlic fries, pasta with pesto, garlic burgers, Italian sausage sandwiches, garlic scampi, and garlic ice cream. There will also be some vendors giving out food samples. These include Primizie and the company’s all-natural Gouda & Garlic crispbreads, which I recently had the chance to sample. I definitely recommend you find their booth at the festival:. the smoked Dutch Gouda and roasted garlic combine to create a flavorful snack which—warning—is a bit addicting.
Parking is free. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Ticket costs: Adult $20, Children (ages 6-12) & Seniors (60+) $10, Kids under 6 are free.
Location: Christmas Hill Park, Gilroy

Friday, July 24-Saturday, Aug. 1: Silicon Valley Beer Week
This craft beer celebration lasts eight days and includes more than 150 events such as tap takeovers, new release nights, tours, food pairings, parties, seminars, demonstrations, and brewmaster’s dinners. The Silicon Valley Beer Week kickoff party, July 24 from 5-9 p.m., takes place at four different San Jose breweries: Strike Brewing Company (2099 S 10th St #30), Santa Clara Brewing Company (101 E Alma Ave), Hermitage Brewing Company (1627 S 7th St), and Gordon Biersch Brewing Company (357 East Taylor St).
Location: Various bars, restaurants, breweries, etc. in Silicon Valley

Sunday, July 26: Festival del Nopal
At the 6th annual Festival del Nopal, there will be food for sale, music, and an appearance by Ballet Folklorico. Also, there will be a recipe contest and cooking demonstrations with nopales, which are cactus paddles. Admission is free. The market is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and the program runs from noon-6 p.m.
Location: 176 Lincoln St. parking lot, Santa Cruz

Sunday, July 26: Post Wharf-to-Wharf Whole Foods Party
From 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Whole Foods Market Capitola is holding a post-Wharf to Wharf party celebrating the market’s 6th birthday. There will be free samples, a beer garden with 16 featured breweries, a kids’ zone including face painting and activities with June Bugs gym, live music, and free massages. There will also be a BBQ with hot dogs. A portion of beer and BBQ sales benefits the Santa Cruz SPCA. Call (831) 464-2900 for more information.
Location: 1710 41st Ave., Capitola
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