Oh what an event! The New Jersey Wine & Food Festival took place last weekend at beautiful Crystal Springs.The three-day event was a celebration of the world’s best wines and renowned national and local chefs, benefiting the James Beard Foundation. The weekend’s events were designed to allow foodies and wine aficionados to meet and mingle with chefs, winemakers and like-minded guests.
While there were informative, fun events Saturday afternoon that featured a mixology session with amazing cocktails by mixologist extraordinaire Christopher James, an upscale wine vertical tasting of Ornellaia and a session on bubbly pairing with BBQ, for most folks, the main event of the weekend is the Grand Tasting on Saturday evening.
The Grand Tasting featured food by more than 30 restaurants and more than 100 wines! The lineup of New Jersey chefs featured reads like Garden State food royalty with restaurants including Boulevard Five 72, Ninety Acres, Escape, Restaurant Latour, Maritime Parc, CulinAriane, The Frog and The Peach, The Orange Squirrel, Agricola, Blue Morel, The Bernards Inn, Fascino, The Strip House, Axia Taverna, Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, VB3 and Pig & Prince. Wines and Champagne featured included Krug, Ornellaia, Stag’s Leap, Dom Perignon, Caymus, Belle Glos, Jean Edwards Cellars, Penfolds, Bruno Giacosa and more.
The event isn’t inexpensive at $125 a person, but considering what dining at just one of these fabulous restaurants can cost, including wine, it’s a bargain.
While most of the food was outstanding, some of our favorites included the following:
Agricola – Fossil Farms roasted pork belly, Great Road Farms kimchi, Terhune Orchard Stayman– Winesap apples
Escape – pea purée, bacon jam, ramp maple pistou, “petals and crumbs”
The Orange Squirrel – Buffalo duck confit Milanese, pickled carrot and celery threads, Maytag panna cotta
Maritime Parc – ditalini and duck gratin, bourbon béchamel, dried berries
Ninety Acres – rabbit rillettes with spiced foie gras, pickled cherries
VB3 – house-made wild boar sausage, Tuscan-style white beans, cherry peppers, kale
Okay, I could go on about all the delicious dishes but you get the idea. Pork belly and Veuve Clicquot? Why, yes please!
To keep abreast of plans for the 2015 event, sign up to receive Crystal Springs’ newsletters at http://www.njwinefoodfest.com. If you limit the number of upscale food and wine events you attend during the year, this one is not to be missed.
Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews and insight into the travel industry of which she’s a 15-year veteran. Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook pa