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Fourth Annual California Restaurant Month

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 2, 2014 -- Visit California invites visitors to relish the Golden State's celebrated wine and food offerings this January during the fourth annual California Restaurant Month. Diners can expect delectable dining opportunities across California in an unprecedented 40 destinations, including 11 first-time participants, making 2014 the largest California Restaurant Month to date.

Gilroy, CA, famous for it's garlic, celebrates California Restaurant Month. Photo by John Pilge.

Gilroy, CA, famous for it's garlic, celebrates California Restaurant Month. Photo by John Pilge.

"California is home to some of the most passionate, award-winning chefs on the globe who have a true talent for creating delicious cuisine using fresh, local ingredients," said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO. "Visitors in January can sample the state's inspiring culinary culture because California Restaurant Month allows visitors and locals alike the opportunity to discover why California is truly one of the world's best places to dine."

Throughout January 2014, California restaurants are offering special restaurant week or month-long dining promotions that feature gourmet prix-fixe menus, wine-pairing opportunities and more as part of this Visit California-led promotion. The 11 new destinations for 2014 are Amador County, Calaveras County, Catalina Island, Escondido, Gilroy, South Lake Tahoe, Manhattan Beach, Stockton, Suisun City, Ventura and Yosemite/Mariposa County. A full list of participating destinations is available at www.DineinCA.com.

California's nearly 82,000 farms and ranches produce nearly half of all American-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. California Restaurant Month shines a light on the diverse abundance of culinary offerings, providing visitors a taste of their favorite ingredients direct from the source. From the freshly-caught seafood at coastal cafes to the 'just-picked' produce served  throughout California, diners will find a full plate of options best experienced by dining and driving through the state. Culinary tourism represents a large business; in 2012, visitors to California spent $28.5 billion on food and beverages - more than any other spending segment - constituting 29 percent of all visitor spend. (Source: Dean Runyan Associates)

"California Restaurant Month is the perfect way to start a New Year's resolution of healthy eating, with signature California grown products like olive oil, wine, avocados and almonds incorporated into restaurant month menus this January," says Beteta. "If visitors' New Year's resolutions are more focused on being more active, they can accomplish that goal by skiing, surfing and dining healthy all in one vacation!"

While it's true that California's cuisine entices visitors year round, California Restaurant Month provides an even more compelling reason for travelers to act on their passion for wine and food. Visitors can add on to their culinary excursion with activities such as mountain thrills at one of the state's premier winter resorts, sunning and surfing along 1,265 miles of coastline, or a little R&R at a destination spa resort.

Visit California (formerly known as the California Travel & Tourism Commission) is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs - in partnership with the state's travel industry - that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures total $106.4 billion annually in California, support jobs for 917,000 Californians and generate $6.6 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor's Guide, go to www.visitcalifornia.com. For story ideas, media information, downloadable images and more, go to media.visitcalifornia.com.

SOURCE Visit California

Cover Photo: Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica, CA. Photo courtesy: VisitCalifornia.com

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