We all have those bucket list items in the back of our mind that we hope to fulfill one day. They can be as grand as skydiving or climbing Mount Everest, or on a much smaller scale such as trying a new restaurant or event in your town. Since 2010 (the first annual event), attending the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival has been on my bucket list! I was always interested in this amazing event that brought the “wine and food” community together. The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival is a multi-day event celebrating the area’s rich culinary landscape and showcasing innovation in the food and beverage industries. My culinary dreams came true when I was given the opportunity to attend this year’s festival.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a professional foodie, but only because I don’t have a fine pallet. However, I am a food lover and Food Network super fan, so this was close to heaven for me! This was the 8th annual festival presented by PepsiCo. This year, funds raised benefited the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the Town of Greenwich Parks & Recreation Foundation and Ment’or. And to top the event off, Tim McGraw played an amazing concert!
On Friday night, there was an Opening Night Master Chef Wine Dinner that honored Alex Guarnaschelli and other local innovative chefs and ended with a musical performance by CCB Reggae All Stars. Saturday was feast for your eyes as every direction you turned had cooking demos, book signings, “Meet the Masters Panels”, lawn games, interviews in the celebrity green room, mixology presentations, Empire City Casino gaming tables, tailgate parties, and cocktail parties. There was no shortage of entertaining options to indulge in!
One of my favorite attractions was the Grand Tasting Tent that hosted more than 150 vendors. Restaurants from near and far offered a taste of their specialties! It was so fun to eat and drink my way through a maze of tuna tartar, pulled pork tacos, ceviche, donuts, vodkas, and wines. The list goes on and on! I think the coolest part of the tastings was recognizing how many amazing restaurants we have in our own backyard! I encourage you to visit the event’s web site and read about the many local hot spots that were represented at the festival.
There was also an annual Burger Battle hosted by Adam Richman and judged by Daniel Boulud, Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Christian Petroni, Robin Selden, Matt Storch and Bill Taibe. I’m happy to report that the people chose Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar and the judges chose Cask Republic as the winners. Perhaps your next date night spot?!
It was really neat to also watch the Bartender’s Showdown presented by Ketel One, hosted by Gary Dell’Abate, and judged by Kevin Des Chenes, Clare Galterio (Empire City Casino), Ted Koppy (NBC Connecticut), Juan Meyer (East End Restaurant’s two-time winner), Matt Scott (Fox 61) and Craig Ventrice (Beverage Director for Bill Taibe’s restaurants). The winners were Catherine Larkin (Village Social) with “Lua Keke,” featuring Ketel One peach & orange blossom vodka, aged rum, pineapple, passion fruit and Kate Fiore (Match) with “A Moment of Clarity,” featuring Vodka, Rum, Milk, Fruit Juice, Citrus Juices and spices. It makes me thirsty to think about!
The Greenwich Wine + Food Festival was buzzing with spectacular restaurants, talented chefs, tasty drinks, amazing entertainments and crowds of foodies! The two-day event did not disappoint and is one I look forward to attending again!