Sun WineFest '10: A Culinary Adventure
An education of vintage proportion, wine lovers were schooled in the finesse of wine selection-from the vineyard to the table.
For the past seven years, just as the elation that heralds a new year finally subsides, the weekend that bids the month of January farewell welcomes food and wine lovers to one of New England’s’ most anticipated extravaganzas- the annual Sun WineFest at the Mohegan Sun.
Dismissing the reality of the two harsh wintry days that lurked on the outside, connoisseurs and amateurs of culinary and vintage fare enwrapped themselves in the cocoon of this experience that was Sun WineFest ’10.
Described as “one of the world’s largest, most distinctive and exciting entertainment destinations,” Mohegan Sun’s eclectic architecture echoes the essence of this event which invited patrons to indulged in a most pleasurable forty-eight hours of escapism that only this world famous venue can provide.
What this event promised was one of the country’s premier Wine & Food presentations. What this actually meant was that guests were privy to a state-of-the-art culinary event where you were coached in preparing signature dishes by celebrity chefs such as Christina Pirello, Robert Irvine, Betty Fraser, Mary Ann Esposito, Andy Husbands and Todd English.
That New York’s own Food Network Star Chef & Restaurateur Bobby Flay would be on hand to share his secret for making the best burger in town; and that chef Govind Armstrong would add his bit of ethnic "flava" by demonstrating the art of creating the most perfect Brandade (salted-cod) Fritters with Wood Roasted Tomato Coulis ever.
It was as intimate a moment as having many of these chefs personally autograph the cook-book that you purchased; of being seduced by a variety of delectable gourmet dishes --reasonably priced-- sold by the many vendors who totally embraced this occasion.
While basking in the bliss of a food -lover’s paradise, you were courted by over 600 regional, national and international wineries known as “the best of the best,” to sample over 1,000 varieties of wine and world-craft beers.
An education of vintage proportion, wine lovers were schooled in the finesse of wine selection-from the vineyard to the table. Guests questioned the experts, mingled and held discussions with each other-new acquaintances were formed through this shared enthusiasm. The fun of it was allowing oneself to relish in the pairing of a favorite wine with these dishes on a whim.
My personal favorite was the Apfel Eis Apple Ice Wine, the winner of some six Awards. Each bottle is made from a variety of some 80 apples and is a product of Still River Winery in Massachusetts from which I wasted no time in placing an order (free-shipping) on my return home.
Not skimming on the excitement element of the event there was no hesitation in taking-it-up a notch with a variety of live competitions such as Grape Stomping, sponsored by Yellow Tail and Hatfield Quality Meats presentation of the innovative Chef Showdown Competition.
The event closed on Sunday with the Bud Light sponsored Oyster Open in which professional “shuckers” challenged each other to determine who would be the most skillful in separating 15 oysters, perfectly, from their shells, in less than 3 minutes for a cash prize of $3,5000.
This was followed by the equally impressive Beer Bottle Opening competition in which the champion was the one whom with record speed was able to un-cap a case of Bud Light Beer, ahead of all others. Another adrenaline-upper, it was quite a delight to this very receptive audience.
New Yorker’s seldom shy away from any adventure with a joie de vivre promise especially when hosted by our neighbors just a couple hours drive away.
That The Sun WineFest ‘11 will be even more spectacular and one that Big Apple folks will have their eyes on is a surety--one that you can place your bet on.
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