The 4th annual Summit Wine and Food Festival, held Sept. 21 - 23, was, once again, a huge success with 15 various events. The stage was the Grand Summit Hotel and the entire event was smoothly orchestrated by Jean Criss, of Jean Criss Media, and Ivan Ruiz of the Wine List in Summit, NJ.
Some of the topics included: The Flavors of India, Cognac, Wines of Portugal, The Joys of Peppers, and Latin Cooking. The chefs, sommelier, and speakers came from restaurants around New Jersey along with celebrity chef, Daisy Martinez of the Food Network ‘Daisy Cooks’. The speakers were extremely knowledgeable and informative.
Not only was it a wonderful event, but the proceeds also supported the Community Food Bank of NJ.
I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on the Wines of Portugal, presented by Neil Rodriguez of the Wine List and Sandra Marquez, North American Export Manager for Sogevinus Fine Wines. Not only did Neal talk about the process of wine tasting itself by swirling, smelling and tasting, he also eloquently explained a bit of historical information on the grapes, the culture and the regions of Portugal dating back to the first makers of Port. Sandra spoke about the interesting process of Porto wine making and how the fermentation is halted early on in the process by adding brandy to the juice. The brandy fortifies the Porto as it ages in barrels along the city of Porto where the climate is very humid and assists in the aging process.
I also attended a seminar presented by Maricel Presilla who is a recent James Beard Award Winner. Maricel is a chef, restaurant owner and food historian. She gave a very informative presentation on peppers and their influence in the culinary world. The most delightful part of the seminar was when we tasted a delicious sampling of tamales and the different heat attributed by the variety of peppers used. We also tasted dark chocolate infused with chile and paired it with a dry Malbec. The way the wine enhanced the spices in the chocolate was absolutely brilliant.
It was such a delightful way to spent several hours of a fall weekend in NJ, enjoying two of the things that I love best – wine and food.
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