W & F^3 Fest Part 2

Sorry for the radio silence, guys! I lost Wi-Fi connection for about an hour. But it’s back and so am I! My first stop was inside the Grand Tasting Tent. This tent was primarily wine. Man, if you want bang for your buck for ticket prices, you’ll get it here.
I walked into the adjacent tent and tried the Shrimp and Butterbean Salad from Hattie’s. The shrimp was not overcooked, but overall it was just okay. I wouldn’t hit it again. There was some bacon and squash in there, but the flavors muddled together.
Potato Chowder/Soup from the Irish Times. Not a fan. Flavor was a little weak, and the texture was thin.
Hello! This was the first thing that made me go “Oh. Oh yeah!”. It’s a grilled octopus over risotto from Marche. I’m not a risotto fan in general, but the octopus was perfect. Charred and smoky, and perfectly tender. Might go back for seconds 😉
And some vino. I tried a Trapiche wine – malbec. Oh man, guess what? I like malbec, or at least this one. Tons of berry flavors up front, sweet/smooth finish. Definitely something I will seek out in the future.
And a Riesling from Georg Muller was also quite tasty.
Pretty bottles are everywhere!
Okay, if you can’t figure it out, I LOVED this Riesling. So sweet, but without being cloying. It was everything I love about rieslings. Not a hint of bitterness in the finish. I was sad to have to pour this wine out.
Next to the table of tasty Riesling was Chocolate Springs from Lenox, MA. This was a cognac and something truffle. I just mostly tasted chocolate, but they were lovely little button sizes, not huge and monstrous like most truffles are.
Okay, my next favorite wine was this Ice Wine (Far right, blue bottle) from Casa Larga. SO sweet and wonderful. It’s a great Ice Wine. They said they won best ice wine in the country. They are from the Finger Lakes, and… oh, this was also hard to pour out to try the Riesling. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the Riesling because it was dry, but at least it wasn’t that hard to pour out that way.
The Prime table (677 and Prime @ Saratoga National) was pretty mobbed, in that there was always a line there. But for good reason.
Surf & Turf Roll (Lobster, Filet Mignon, & Cream Cheese), Pecan Crusted Trout W/Blackberry Lavender Beurre Rouge, Duck Salad and Cucumber Canape.

DO NOT miss the duck and cuke canape. So moist, ducky, with a lovely light crunch from the cucumber disc.

The Surf & Turf roll was a bit too large, and the rice a bit too mushy. Good flavor overall, but it was hard to discern lobster or filet mig.

The trout was well cooked, but I couldn’t taste much in the beurre sauce. Ah well.

There was also a Shrimp and Kielbasa chowder that had a great broth with flavors of meat and seafood. But the meats in the soup didn’t have much of a flavor. Overall, I’d just go for a cup of this broth given the chance.

So far, this has been my favorite food table.

And then the Wi-Fi signal went dead, otherwise you’d have read this like 30 min earlier.

Instead, Iwent to the 2-3 session on Italian Cheeses presented by Grana Padano. They started a few minutes late, and there wasn’t much of a group when I first got there.
They also snuck us some wines to try with the cheeses, even though they hadn’t originally planned on it. This was a prosecco. I wasn’t crazy about it since it was dry, but a lot of other folks liked it.
Two folks sat next to me after coming in late, ate everything on the plates as soon as they got them, and pretty much left shortly after… dude.
They also served a rosato (rose), which was sweeter than the prosecco, but still on the dry side. Not too bad.

I stuck it out for about 45 minutes before leaving. We’d only covered 2 things on our plate, the proscuitto (which was really tasty) and the Grana Padano (also stellar. If you like Gruyère Reserve, you’ll love this Grana Padano) and I was getting antsy. The speaker just kept rehashing his trip to Italy when presenting. He was bringing up good points about things, but for something that was supposed to end at 3 pm things were going slow. If this were a longer seminar it would have been great, but as-is, it was a little too long for something that would cover 5 cheeses, ya know?

Okay, off to try more food and wine. FOR YOU.
  1. Ewan said:

    Rats – wish I had known you were there; we were in that same cheese seminar and I had exactly the same (i) reaction [“boy, he is going on a lot”} and (ii) action [“OK, I am leaving now”] – my wife stuck it out and enjoyed sitting being talked at, but I wanted more time to check out the food!

    Gorgeous day; we got free tickets from AOA, and I don't think we would ever pay the $75 to go otherwise, but we had a great time. Bought some of that olive oil you mentioned, too. Oh, and the truffles were cognac and champagne.

    Biggest regret was not getting to taste te Ferrari wine – we only even saw it at the end of the day and 'twas all gone, alas.

  2. DelSo said:

    Great job, A.J.! I totally agree with you about the typical truffle size – gross. Bigger is not always better, kwim? Thanks for making me feel like I was there despite my inability to actually be there.

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