I spent last Saturday at the Wine, Food & Ferrari Fall Festival in Saratoga. Apparently this humble little blog caught the attention of the Italian Trade Commission. They reached out to me and invited me to attend as their guest. I had to think about it – hmmm, let’s see . . . Italian food, wine, fast cars AND beautiful weather??!!??
Let’s just say they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. (Sorry but I couldn’t help myself.)
I was disappointed that I was unable to attend Kevin Zraly’s wine seminar. I stood in line but didn’t have a pink ticket. I was super bummed out because that wasn’t made clear to me when I arrived. It’s a good thing I had already gotten to meet Marcus Samuelsson. That helped me cope with the disappointment.
Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden and has a restaurant in Harlem. Yes, it was an Italian festival. So what’s the connection you may ask? Good question. The answer – meatballs.
Marcus “Italianized” the Swedish meatball recipe he grew up with by adding slow roasted tomatoes to the Swedish gravy AND by caramelizing the meatballs in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. He served them with mashed potatoes with fresh peas. Tip: cook the potatoes in milk and butter. I usually boil in water and then add the milk and butter.
I was in the first row and got to eat what he made. Yummy!
I picked up a copy of his New American Table cookbook which he autographed “Dear Kim – Cook with Passion and Love”.
I only had my phone for pics. Sorry for the poor photo quality!
I did my fair share of enjoying goodies from many of the local restaurants in the area. Albany Jane does a fantastic job of highlighting the wide variety of food that was there.
I was especially impressed with Lake Placid Spirits’ P3 Vodka. P3 stands for Pure Proud Placid and boy is it smooth. They use water drawn from Lake Placid and finish it with garnet (local!).
The other local winery that surprised me – in a good way – was Adirondack Winery. This won the 2011 gold medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. It was smooth, clean and I enjoyed it with some Asiago cheese with a smear of pear/mustard jam. Heaven!
I spent the day eating and drinking. Torture! Just kidding. Seriously, the festival really showed the influence that Italian food has had on our food culture. It’s not just about the food. It’s about slowing down and enjoying it. All the flavors. I’m not a wine expert but I stumbled upon a grape that I’d never heard of before and totally fell in love.
The grape? Falanghina, an Italian grape grown in volcanic soil. It’s white and kind of hard to describe. It’s not like anything I’ve ever tasted. It’s delicate, but not light. It has a slight vanilla aftertaste. The vendor was looking for a distributor so I’m not even sure where I can buy it! Disappointed but I’ll find it somewhere.
While I was eating and drinking myself silly, Italian cars – Ferraris, Fiats, Lamberghinis, Alfa Romeo and Lancias were on display and being judged. Here’s mine:
All in all the festival was fun. I’m glad I was invited to go and hope that I can make it to the 2012 festival.