The fifth annual Greenwich 2015 WINE + FOOD Festival presented by Serendipity was a celebration of delectable wine and spirits, delicious food, celebrities, fun, and live music by Grammy and CMA Award Winners, Little Big Town, to benefit the charity founded by Paul Newman, The Hole in The Wall Gang Camp for children coping with serious illnesses, and the Greenwich Parks & Recreation Scholarship Fund.
This was Luxury Experience's second year attending the 4-day Greenwich WINE + FOOD Festival, and it was another year of discovering new restaurants to try and sampling new-to-market products as well as old favorites.
On Saturday, September 26, 2015, Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut was a celebration of wine, spirits, beer, food, and music, with a diverse selection of products to sample. After reading the event program we felt like singing the George Thorogood song, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer" with the extensive product line-up.
Oenophiles had the opportunity to taste wines from 90+ Cellars, Excelsior Wines, Lieb Cellars, Old Greenwich Fine Wines & Cheese, Quintessential Wines, Shaw Vineyard, and Val's Putnam Wines & Liquors to name but a few, and Greenwich's own Kathie Lee Gifford was on hand pouring her GIFFT wines and mingling with guests.
Kathie Lee Gifford and Edward F. Nesta
In the Celebrity Chef Demo Tents, Harold Dieterle gave a presentation on Thai Style Fried Chicken, Rocco DiSpirito created Ricotta Gnudi, Kevin Des Chenes hosted Cuisine & Cocktails, Samantha Eichenberg presented The Dessertist: Desserts After Dark, Kimberly Schlapman showed how to make The Best Glazed Apple Cake, Alex Guarnaschelli created Fun Veggies for Fall, and Geoffrey Zakarian presented A Taste of The National in Greenwich, CT presented by Coldwell Banker Previews International.
For wine, beer, and cocktail lovers there were interesting presentations including Cocktail Fun with Celebrity Cruises, Marc Stroobandt Beer & Food Magic, Napa & Co. Presents Pairing Food & Wine ... Put Simply, and Drinking Great Wine Anytime with 90+ Cellars.
In the Tacos + Tequila Tent guests had the opportunity to pair tasty tequila cocktails with delicious food from Bodega Taco Bar, Boxcar Cantina, Bruce Julian Bloody Mary Bud Ritas, Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, Little Mexican Café, Mezón Tapas Bar & Restaurant, POST 154, and Tomatillo Taco Joint.
Squeeze + Tequila
Bartenders had the opportunity to "shake their stuff" in the Top Bartender Showdown in the Empire City Tent, with Sasha Jarufe from Harvest Wine Bar in Greenwich winning the Judges choice and Dimitrios Zahariadis of Highland Brass Co. in Waterbury winning the People's Choice.
We attended the "Beer and Food Magic Show" hosted by Belgian Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobandt, who is a "member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and has been awarded an honorary knighthood by the Chevalrie des brasseurs of the Confederation of Belgian Brewers.
Marc Stroobandt and Debra C. Argen
Marc began the tasting by enthusiastically telling guests to "embrace the foam" as he instructed how to pour Stella Artois into their signature chalice glass, and said that beer celebrates food and that we should not be afraid to pair beer and cheese.
Beer and Food Pairing
Menu and Pairings
Stella Artois, 5% alcohol
Paired with Strong Cheddar
Paired with Sriracha Hot Sauce
Stella Artois Cidre, 4.5% alcohol
Paired with Goat Cheese
Blue Point Brewing Company Blueberry Ale, 4.5% alcohol
Paired with Double-Cream Goat and Sheep Milk Cheese
Goose Island Goose Autumn Ale, 6.7% alcohol
Paired with Smoked Ham
Marc concluded the tasting by providing a recipe for an easy cheese fondue.
Marc Stroobandt - Easy Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue Ingredients:
Wooden box of Brie or Camembert
Stella Artois Cidre
Method: Remove cheese from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-hour. Remove the cheese from the box and remove the paper wrapper, then return cheese to the box. Place the box on a baking sheet. Poke a hole in the center of the cheese, add a garlic clove, some thyme, and top with Stella Artois Cidre. Place under the broiler and boil until just bubbly. Take care not to burn the cheese or the wooden box. Serve with slices of crusty bread to scoop out the melted cheese.
The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood
Although we could not visit every stand, we made an admirably attempt visiting and sampling from the many participating restaurants and food suppliers. A few of the many highlights we sampled included the scallop and shrimp ceviche from The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood, from Fjord Fisheries, Cos Cob, we had Blue Point Oysters as well as corn and oyster fritters, from Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant we enjoyed their Red Sangria and samples of their Dry-cured Iberico Loin, sliders from Plan B Burgers, the acorn squash soup from One Twenty One Restaurant, and the Watermelon Soup from Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill.
Edward F Nesta Sampling Dry-cured Iberico Loin
Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant
Paul Denamiel demonstrated How to Cook the Perfect Burger in the Budweiser + Burgers Tent, culminating in the Fourth Annual Burger Battle hosted by Adam Richman with Celebrity Chef Judges Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli, Rocco DeSpirito, Harold Dieterle, and Terry French. Plan B won the Judges Choice, and Westchester Burger won the People's Choice in the Burger Battle.
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill
Other chef demos included The Grill Master Party with Rebel Chef Terry French who created Grilled Golden Scallops Venus, and Elevated Butchery with Fleishers Craft Butchery demonstrated butchering techniques. Participating restaurants and brewing companies in the Master Griller Party Tent included Blue Point Brewing Company, Bobby Q's Pit Stop, Brother Jimmy's BBQ, Dinosaur BBQ, Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse, Goose Island Beer Company, Gunter Wilhelm Half Full Brewery, Heritage Brewing Company, Mike's Organic Delivery, Myrna's Kitchen, Pizza Luca, Revival Brewing Company, Shock Top Belgian White, The Ginger Man, and The Whey Station.
Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
The Whey Station
During a final round of restaurant tastings, we loved the Absinthe Bonbons from Elm Restaurant in New Canaan, the truffle ravioli from Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse in Greenwich, the creative chocolates from Blue Tulip Chocolates in Rye, New York, the interesting flavors from Tee-Riffic! Ice Cream and the innovative cocktails from the Rye House in Port Chester, New York.
Blue Tulip Chocolates
All that, playful "gambling" in the Empire City Casino Tent, and live music, too! In the evening, Assembly of Dust took to the stage to open for the Grammy and CMA Award Winning band, Little Big Town to complement an extraordinary day of wine, spirits, and food to benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and the Greenwich Parks & Recreation Scholarship Fund.
Rye House Mixing Up Cocktails
We cannot wait to attend next year's Greenwich WINE + FOOD Festival.
"The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was founded in 1988 by Paul Newman with one simple premise in mind, that every child, no matter their illness, could experience the transformational spirit and friendships that go hand in hand with camp. Paul Newman, while a successful actor, was also a visionary with the heart of a child. His personality, playfulness and mischievousness are infused within every corner of Camp, from the pirate flag he raised on the tree house to the days he spent on the lake fishing with campers. With unobtrusive expert medical care, it was Paul's dream that Camp would provide seriously ill children with a fun-filled experience defined by compassion, laughter and acceptance."
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp team
"The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is dedicated to providing a "different kind of healing" to seriously ill children and their families throughout the Northeast free of charge. It's a community that celebrates the fun, friendship and spirit of childhood where every kid can "raise a little hell."
"To ensure that every child with a serious medical condition has the chance to experience the world of possibilities that camp has to offer. Through the generosity of others, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp community provides this unique healing experience to kids in need and their families, including those who may not be able to come to Camp."
To learn more about The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, please visit the website: www.HoleintheWallGang.org
The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund
555 Long Wharf Drive
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
To learn more about attending a future Greenwich WINE + FOOD Festival, please visit the website: www.GreenwichWineandFood.com.
Follow Greenwich Wine + Food Festival on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/GreenwichWineFoodFestival
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