After years of living in New York and missing the New York City Wine & Food Festival, I finally got the opportunity to attend the Grand Tasting event on the last day of the festival. Yes! Gluttons rejoice!
After going to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival this past March, I had some idea of what to expect — a whole lotta food from a whole lotta amazing chefs and restaurants. In addition to all this, the New York City Wine & Food Festival also included demos from some of the most well-known culinary rockstars, including Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse and more. And, like the Charleston festival, the proceeds from the New York City Wine & Food Festival go to charities. All of the net proceeds benefit the No Kid Hungry campaign and Food Bank For New York City.
At the Grand Tasting, I had the pleasure of watching culinary demos by two of my all-time favorites, Marcus Samuelsson and Andrew Zimmern. Marcus Samuelsson was a great host, engaging the audience from the moment he stepped on stage. The highlight of his demo was when he saved a (very delicious looking) langoustine for a young boy to eat and then served seafood stew to the audience (in addition to gin cocktails and meatballs).
Andrew Zimmern also had an incredible demo presentation. In true Andrew Zimmern fashion, he started by recognizing World Food Day and the 50th anniversary of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and then announced he would be cooking squirrel. Yes, squirrel. And the camera chose that opportune moment to zoom in on said squirrel (he told the audience he likes to show what he's about to cook). It was... something. But what made his demo so amazing was why he was cooking squirrel. He wanted to prove a point and show that we need to push our food boundaries when we think about what's "normal" to eat. When we look to alternative protein sources, we're making ourselves healthier by giving our bodies a variety of nutrients while also giving the planet the sustainability it needs. It was an eye-opening presentation and, if I'm being honest, by the time he was done cooking that squirrel, it looked pretty damn good.
After those demonstrations, the grand tasting began. I'm not going to go through all the food I tried, because I honestly lost track of all the food I tried (glutton over here), but I will share my five favorite tastings:
- Le Pierre Caterers: Great first tasting of stewed chicken with pumpkin risotto — so fall!
- Coppelia: Amazing rum coconut flan, coconut sorbet, mango sorbet, coconut chips, pineapple confit, marshmallow and vanilla cream
- Huda Mu'min: Some tasty mac and cheese with jerk chicken mixed in
- HandCraft Kitchen & Cocktails: Well-flavored seafood gumbo over rice
- Perrine: My favorite tasting of the day — red wine braised short ribs with polenta
And you can't have the food without the wine...
I'm glad I finally made it to the New York City Wine & Food Festival. It was worth all the calories. Until next time!