Sip, nibble and be entertained in grand style at Newport’s annual Winefest in August. Here’s my trip report of this sparkling event.
The day was beautiful, the setting magnificent and before us stretched all the beer, wine and spirits you can consume in a day. We attended the 2nd annual Newport, RI Winefest, held August 19-21st, and what an event it was! Last year’s event drew over 10,000 people and I am sure they surpassed that this year. The event kicked off with Newport Uncorked, in the spectacular Harborview tent, overlooking Newport’s iconic harbor. The event featured dishes prepared by the Celebrity and Regional Chefs, select premium wines and spirits, on-board access to the a ultra-luxurious Azimut yacht, music and more.
The Grand Wine tastings began on Saturday and grand they were. Three full tents of wine, beer, and spirit vendors, along with regional foods and of course all types of seafood. Check out this incredible list of wines http://www.newportwinefest.com/tasting-events.html
The celebrity chefs provided demonstrations which were fabulous. I attended Peter Kelly’s Demonstration and his watermelon tomato salad was quick, light, and delicious. Peter is definitely a culinary superstar in the New York Hudson Valley and beyond. I had a chance to speak with Peter and this was his second year at the Winefest, he enjoys doing the demonstrations, and hoped everyone tried his recipes. He generously shares some of his favorite recipes on his website Xaviars.
Dave Martin, who rose to national attention as a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef competition, was both entertaining and informative. He provided tips and tricks for cooking as well as stressed keeping it easy, light, and delicious. My favorite demonstration however was from Patricia Yeo who made a quick and easy chicken stir-fry that took less than 15 minutes. Patricia will be opening a new restaurant, MOKSA featuring Japanese street fare in a casual izakaya setting located in Cambridge, MA this fall. Currently Patricia is at OM Restaurant and Lounge in Cambridge, MA. I finished the evening with an amazing demonstration of a cold Lobster soup, by Brooke Vosika, Four Seasons Hotel, Boston. Of course, he made it look simple, but it was a highlight of the day.
Sunday ended with the The Celebrity Chef and Prosecco Brunch, and Newport Oyster Cup Challenge – a gala weekend not to be missed! here are some recommendations for some wonderful Spirits and Wines we sampled:
· Double Cross Vodka – From Slovakia, very smooth andfresh. Noted for being 7 times filtered and 7 times distilled
· Crop Organic Vodka and Framer’s Organic Vodka – Wonderful with intriguing flavors like cucumber and tomato!
· Spasso Pinot Grigio – Clean, crisp, delicious
· IL Castelvecchio – A deep, robust Tuscan wine
· Ramona Singer Pinot Grigio – Soft and light
· MionettO Proscecco – Floral, bubbly and fun – perfect to dress up a summer’s day.
The Winefest is what brought us to Newport , but you can visit anytime. A stroll down America’s Cup Avenue will take you past wonderful shops and boutiques crammed with unique crafts. Of course, a lunch or dinner at the Black Pearl is worth the trip alone . We made a wonderful discovery of the Newport Mansions gift shop which features replications of mansion heirlooms. There we met Diane Perry Gardner, author of “What’s Cooking in New England”. She graciously signed two cookbooks for us and I highly suggest making the Crab Cakes and the Broccoli Cheese Squares which were big hits in my house. The Ginger White Chocolate Chunk Cookies were also gobbled up – take a look at my plate of cookies and recipe under Taste of our Travels.
Our best Wicked Good Tip is to book your rooms for next year’s Newport Winefest event NOW. It will take place from August 17-19, 2012. We can’t think of a better way to spend a few days beside the sea in August.