Taste of Santa Barbara

Inspired by Julia’s appreciation for Santa Barbara’s bounty and her devotion to ongoing, the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience created in partnership with the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts presents its second annual Taste of Santa Barbara on May 15-21. The weeklong, county-wide celebration of all things food and drink will feature insightful panel discussions, creative pop-ups, film screenings, farm tours, tasting events and more meaningful ways to connect and celebrate the best of Santa Barbara County bounty.

Culinary icon Julia Child, who spent the final chapter of her life in Santa Barbara wrote, “The climate and the atmosphere recall the French Riviera between Marseille and Nice. Very often, being there on the Riviera where we used to have a little house I’d say…‘Well, I’d just as soon be in Santa Barbara.’”

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Signature Events

Lights, Camera, Julia!

Join a special watch party as some of Julia Child’s most iconic television shows are screened, including classic episodes of The French Chef, Cooking with Master Chefs, and Baking with Julia, at the Ensemble Theatre Company’s The New Vic theater.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Schlesinger Library Radcliffe Institute Harvard University

Farmers Market Pop-Up

Gather at one of California’s oldest farmers’ markets to see, smell, and taste the wide-ranging bounty of Santa Barbara County. Stop by the Taste of Santa Barbara booth with Edible Santa Barbara for seasonal food demonstrations and tastings, and a live recording of the Inside Julia’s Kitchen podcast.

Taste of Santa Barbara Farm Tours

Visit local producers and land stewards to see first-hand what Santa Barbara County produces. These tours are one-of-a-kind and created especially for the Taste of Santa Barbara. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect with the local landscape and the people who nurture it.

Taste of Santa Barbara Wine Tours

Connect with the winemakers of Santa Barbara County as you visit local vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms to experience the wine making process first-hand. Learn directly from the vintners as you tour the grounds and cellars of working vineyards and wineries before enjoying a wine tasting.

Taste of Santa Barbara Wines

The annual Taste of Santa Barbara Wines at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park invites wine lovers to explore, connect and learn what makes Santa Barbara County’s wine scene unique. Enjoy tastings from some of Santa Barbara County’s celebrated wineries, restaurants, and food artisans in the Presidio Orchard. Meet and hear directly from growers, chefs, and makers. Head inside the historic El Presidio Chapel for interactive conversations and panel discussions with winemakers throughout the day.

Photo credit: Silas Fallstich

Santa Barbara Chefs & Friends

Get in the kitchen with Apples to Zucchini Cooking School for a week of hands-on classes with some of Santa Barbara’s culinary stars! Sign up for classes on the art of cocktail mixing, magazine-worthy food styling, sourdough baking basics, and how to achieve paella perfection.

Dine Around Town with Julia Child & Cocktail Crawl with Paul Child

Julia and Paul Child often entertained friends with good food and cocktails, many of them crafted by Paul Child, who was known for his custom libations. Explore Santa Barbara County’s beloved bars and restaurants for specials in honor of these two love birds.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Schlesinger Library Radcliffe Institute Harvard University


Julia Child fans can follow in her local footsteps with the Julia Child Map. A self-guided tour featuring Julia’s go-to local dining spots, including La Super-Rica Taqueria, a humble Mexican taqueria she raved about regularly. She also praised longtime local staple, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, a homegrown brand that’s expanded significantly over the past decade while maintaining local ownership. Julia also knew Hitching Post 2 was destined for stardom long before Sideways was released. From classic institutions like Lucky’s and Santa Barbara Shellfish Company to the less expected like Costco (yes, you read that right!) and In-N-Out Burger, the map reveals that Julia savored all kinds of culinary experiences in Santa Barbara.

Julia’s love for Santa Barbara goes back to her childhood. As a young girl growing up in Pasadena, Julia’s family would summer in Santa Barbara—it was the place where her parents’ romance originally blossomed, long before Julia and her siblings came along. She had many fond memories of learning to swim in the city pool, days at the beach, summer camps on the Mesa and family lunches at the Miramar.

Throughout the course of her adult life, she would return to The American Riviera®, where she had many friends and felt at home. In the 1980s, Julia and her husband Paul started wintering in Santa Barbara and were active in the local community. In 2001, after selling her Cambridge, Massachusetts home and donating its famous kitchen to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where it resides today, Julia moved to Santa Barbara permanently, living here until her death in 2004.

Julia was, and is still, beloved by the Santa Barbara community. Always quick to promote the local restaurants, winemakers and talented chefs who impressed her, Julia became an unofficial ambassador for Santa Barbara whether she was being interviewed by press or showing friends around town. The Santa Barbara Culinary Experience and the 2023 Taste of Santa Barbara are fashioned in this spirit, to continue Julia’s enthusiasm for sharing the culinary talent and bounty of the region she was proud to call home.

Even More Eats
Santa Barbara is a truly flavorful place. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered with these food & drink-themed itineraries.
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