New Jersey's largest wine and food event to draw crowds of foodies to Sussex resort in mid-March
Friday, March 8, 2013 • 6:13pm
It's a very rare event that pours Krug Grande Cuvée, Moët Grand Vintage, Dom Perignon, and Duckhorn -- and pours often and copiously -- during a walkaround wine and food tasting featuring 30 famous restaurants.
Just hearing the names of these precious bottlings will make oenophiles salivate, but they are but a handful of the 100 wines that will be poured throughout the evening of Saturday, March 16. This grand event is the Grand Tasting, a centerpiece of the three-day New Jersey Food and Wine Festival at Cascades Lodge on the grounds of the beautiful and expansive Crystal Springs Resort in Hardyston.
And since man and woman do not live by vino alone, a huge raw bar backed by a 15-foot-wide ice wall embedded with fish will start things off while a double dozen of top east coast and international chefs will offer samples of popular menu items.
A celebration and a BIG deal
Being that the New York metropolitan area is Foodie Central USA, to say that an event is a "must-attend" is a big deal. Well, I would not hesitate to call this annual celebration of chefs and winemakers and tastings and dinners and demonstrations a BIG, BIG deal.
The James Beard Award-winning chef, José Andrés, internationally known for his collection of restaurants and for his innovative work with molecular gastronomy, is one of the marquee names. He will preside at a dinner, sign books, and will generally be a glamorous fixture for the weekend. David Burke, a son of New Jersey and another stratospheric name, will spearhead another dinner.
Other restaurants holding forth during the weekend include Pig & Prince (the state's latest four-star eatery), Osteria Morini, Strip House, The Ryland Inn, The Orange Squirrel, and The Delmonico Room at the Hotel Fauchère. The remainder of the lengthy list can be viewed at www.NJWineFoodFest.com.
Millions of dollars in wine
At the Festival rooms, in and around Restaurant Latour, the air will be filled with the stimulating scents of the pinnacle of culinary art and the apotheosis of achievement in winemaking. It's no accident that most of the events are sited in the building housing Latour, renowned for its 135,000-bottle wine cellar. Always being within steps of tens of millions of dollars worth of the world's most coveted vintages lends an air of importance to the festivities.
Take it from this veteran Fest-goer though, the vibe is not of gravitas, but rather a feeling of anticipation and delight. Your smile will be but one of 2000 around you.
The weekend commences with a choice of two dinners on Friday evening where the place will be thick with household-name chefs. It concludes with a Champagne brunch on Sunday. In between are seminars covering a delicious spectrum of the world of food and drink.
There's much more, but some seminars and events are sold out, so check the Web site for availabilities. Tickets are still available for the deservedly most-popular event, the Grand Tasting of food and wine featuring plates from 25 starred restaturants.
For a long noontime diversion on the same Saturday, I recommend another crowd-pleaser, the casual "Marketplace Lunch" in the resort's airy Rotunda, where an assortment of buffet stations will present the best of the day's catch and produce cooked and served by chefs from the resort. Lunch will showcase such novelties as a Little Italy area, a meatball station (including falafel), an exotic-mushroom bar, and a suckling pig utilizing cuts from snout-to-tail.
Festival events are priced a la carte, but for a big bang for your buck, invest in Saturday night's after-party and meet the chefs and winemakers in what has historically been a blowout bacchanal. These hard-working artisans really know how to party after-hours...and you can join them around the indoor pool in the resort's spacey Biosphere building.
Remember that all this happens at a huge resort. You might want to phone (888) 881-6991 to look into hotel room vacancies.
The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.