2015 NJ Wine & Food Fest
2015 NJ Wine & Food Fest

2015 NJ Wine & Food Fest

A celebration of the world’s best wines and top chefs from around the United States, the 7th Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort takes place March 20-22. The 2015 Festival will once again benefit the James Beard Foundation. Held at Crystal Springs, the state’s only year-round resort, the weekend’s events allow food and wine lovers to meet and mingle with great chefs, winemakers, and fellow wine aficionados. This year the guest of honor is David Kinch of Michelin 2-star Manresa in Los Gatos, California.
This festive weekend kicks off with two exclusive dinners on Friday, March 20. The first one, at Restaurant Latour, will bring together Chef Kinch, the Restaurant Latour team, and California wine producer The Prisoner. The second dinner will feature Larry Stone, Master Sommelier and Estates Director of Quintessa, with back vintages from their collection and a menu prepared by Executive Chef John Greeley.

Opening Night Festivities:

* 7 pm Champagne Reception where guests will meet Chef Bouley ($50; included with Wine Cellar Dinner), enjoy Krug Champagne and hors d’oeuvres
* 8 pm Wine Cellar Dinner prepared by Chef Bouley paired with wines from winemaker Axel Heinz of the celebrated Tuscan winery Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia. Held in the stunning award-winning Crystal Springs wine cellar, limited to 28 guests. ($375)
* 8 pm Top Chefs & Top Wines is a five-course dinner paired with boutique wines featuring highly regarded guest chefs from around the U.S. ($225)

The schedule continues below the photos.

Saturday Events:

* 11:30 am – 2:30 pm Marketplace Lunch with local New Jersey wines and products served. ($35)

* noon Battle of N.J. Sous Chefs – six sous chefs from New Jersey restaurants will each prepare a dish to pair with a glass of wine in this Top Chef-like challenge. Chef David Bouley, James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro, and Eric Levin, Senior Editor of New Jersey Monthly, will judge. ($45)

* 1 pm Eat! Drink! Italy! Restaurateur and Host of PBS’ Eat! Drink! Italy! Vic Rallo demonstrates how to make wild boar ragu while Anthony Verdoni and Axel Heinz introduce Bruno Giacosa and Ornellaia. ($65)

* 2 pm Secrets of the Crystal Springs Wine Cellar A look inside Crystal Springs’ 135,000 bottle wine collection, holder of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award since 2006, with Wine Director Robby Younes. A tasting of rare and highly rated wines from the cellar for connoisseurs. ($150)

* 2 pm Classic vs. Contemporary Napa Styles Winemakers Christophe Paubert (Stag’s Leap) and Josh Phelps (Taken) will discuss their wines and lead a tasting. ($40)
* 3 pm The Art of Blending Bourbon Distiller Wes Henderson will lead a tasting where attendees will be able to make their own Angel’s Envy bourbon blend. ($40)
* 3 pm The Ornellaia Vertical Experience Winemaker Axel Heinz guides a unique vertical tasting of vintage Ornellaia wines. You will taste eight wines from 2002 to 2010. ($75)

* 4 pm Local Craft Cocktails: This event features some of the Northeast’s best small-batch spirits. You’ll sample local favorites like Laird’s Apple Jack from New Jersey, Brooklyn Gin, Bootlegger Vodka, and Widow Jane Bourbon from New York. They’re all showcased in creative cocktails by mixologist Christopher James from the Ryland Inn. ($40)

* 4 pm Bubble-Q In the spirit of spring, James Beard Award-winning Sommelier Belinda Chang will lead a seminar pairing Champagnes with barbecue. ($45).

* 6:30/7 pm – 10 pm The Grand Tasting is the Festival’s signature event featuring more than 100 wines from over thirty wineries and 25 top restaurants from New York City and New Jersey ($125, VIP $250; VIP admission 6:30 pm).

* Highlights of The Grand Tasting:

Top Restaurants from New York City and New Jersey. The tasting showcases the wineries and Champagne houses participating in the Festival, including Krug, Ornellaia, Stag’s Leap, Dom Perignon, Hess, Chateau Montelena, Penfolds, Cakebread, Veuve Clicquot, and more.
Live entertainment by the thirty-two piece David Aaron Orchestra
An exciting silent auction benefiting the James Beard Foundation
The VIP Experience: an outstanding collection of wines and spirits, tastings from David Bouley and New York chefs who have worked in his kitchens.

* 10 pm – 1 am Meet the Chefs and Winemakers After Party Guests will mingle with the chefs and winemakers ($140).

Sunday Events: 

* 11 am – 2 pm Champagne Brunch A lavish, decadent brunch buffet accompanied by Ruinart Champagnes ($60).

The 2014 New Jersey Wine & Food Festival tickets are on sale at www.njwinefoodfest.com. Resort reservations start January 27 at (855) 816-1137 ext. 3.

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