The eighth annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival will take place April 1 to 3 at Crystal Springs Resort. New Jersey’s premier food and wine event attracts top chefs from around the U.S., the world’s best winemakers and craft spirits producers. This year’s featured chefs include two Top Chef winners from the hit Bravo TV series, Michelin-starred chefs from New York and of course, the best of New Jersey. The 2016 Festival will benefit both the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
Friday, April 1
Top Chefs & Top Wines features five chefs each preparing one course that is paired with a highly rated boutique wine. Two Bravo Top Chef winners headline: Kevin Sbraga (winner of season 7, formerly of Rat’s) and Nicholas Elmi (winner of season 11), both now in Philadelphia. Joining are another Top Chef alum, Dale Talde, who recently expanded from Brooklyn to Jersey City; acclaimed Michelin-star pastry chef Marc Aumont, of NYC’s Gabriel Kreuther, and Restaurant Latour Chef de Cuisine, Martyna Krowicka (8 p.m., $225 plus tax and gratuity).
Crystal Springs’ award-winning Wine Cellar will welcome Sebastiano Rosa of renowned Tuscan winery Sassicaia & Biserno, which produce some of the finest wines in Italy. Chef Anthony Bucco will partner with guest Chef Mark Ladner of NYC’s Del Posto to create a unique six-course menu (8 p.m., $375 plus tax & gratuity). The dinner also includes a Krug Champagne Reception with the chefs and winemaker (7 p.m.).
Saturday, April 2
This year’s workshops will be: Prosecco & Pancakes breakfast (10 a.m., $35), followed by A Taste of Italy (12 p.m., $35) highlighting charcuterie, olive oils and wines from Castello di Gabbiano. Gruner Veltliner – The Hidden Gem of White Wines with Austria’s Laurenz V (12 p.m., $35). Winemaker seminars feature Sassicaia to Biserno: Italy’s Finest Wines (1 p.m., $65) with Sebastiano Rosa and Sassicaia wines, The Creation of an Award-Winning Winery (2 p.m., $45) with Frank and Julie Husic of Napa Valley. Rose wines of the 2015 vintage paired with sorbets and artisanal gelato (4 p.m., $40) and feature George Dickel Whiskeys with hand-rolled cigars (4 p.m., $40).
A new event for 2016, Chef & Farmer Culinary Showcase (1 p.m., $50) will highlight the state’s agricultural diversity by pairing top New Jersey chefs including Francesco Palmieri (The Orange Squirrel) and Bryan Gregg (Escape) with local farmers and purveyors such as Bobolink Dairy, Happy Harvest Hydroponics and Restoration Agriculture.
New Jersey’s popular Iron Shaker (3 p.m., $35) will feature four local bartenders who will compete in two rounds with both judges and the audience voting for their favorites.
Secrets of the Crystal Springs Cellar (3 p.m., $150) returns with a tasting of rare wines from the Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Wine Cellar led by VP of Hospitality and Wine Director Robby Younes and Chef Bucco.
The Grand Tasting (7 p.m. to 10 p.m. $135, VIP admission at 6:30 p.m. $250) is the event’s centerpiece, a walk-around tasting with 25 top New Jersey and New York chefs and more than 30 wineries. Confirmed restaurants include Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Mistral, Maritime Parc, The Bernards Inn, Ninety Acres at Natirar, The Orange Squirrel, Osteria Morini, Terre a Terre, Hamilton Pork, The Kitchen Step, Escape, Redux, Pig & Prince, Hotel du Village, Ho-Ho-Kus Inn & Tavern, Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, BURG, Villalobos, Axia, Taverna, Crystal Tavern, Lunello, Andre’s and more. VIP ticket holders gain access to the VIP lounge with exclusive Champagnes, wines and restaurants including tastings from Restaurant Latour and Michelin starred restaurants from NYC.
Biosphere at Grand Cascades Lodge hosts the Meet The Chefs & Winemakers After Party (10 p.m., $150). This extravagant annual party features live performances, a DJ, dancing, an open bar, delicious bites from the resort’s chefs and more. This year’s theme is inspired by Rio de Janeiro, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Sunday, April 3
The Festival concludes with a champagne brunch (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., $50 plus tax and gratuity) in the Crystal Ballroom.
Tickets can be purchased at www.njwinefoodfest.com or by calling 844-207-3203.
Image at top from 2015 festival.