2011 Saratoga Wine, Food & Ferrari Fall Festival

by Kimberly Hickok

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!

Samuelsson before the cooking demo readying his pots and prepping his mise en place. During the demo he asked me what I would serve him if he came to my house for dinner. My answer? Fried Chicken!!!

The free standing range from Blue Star’s ‘Inspired by Marcus’ line. It features a French cooktop.

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!).

Ann O’Leary (right), owner of Lake Placid Spirits

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!

The Adirondack Winery is located in Lake George. Good to know!

Asiago cheese with pear, mustard jam. The perfect sweet/savory combo. Add a sip of Adirondack Winery’s semillon and you have a very, very happy girl!

The Asiago came from this wonderful spread of (mostly) Italian cheeses.

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.

Keep your eyes open for this bottle and let me know where you find it!

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:


In my dreams!! Just kidding.

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.

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Daniel B. September 16, 2011 - 5:41 pm

Sorry I missed meeting you in person last weekend. I had to take of my FUSSYlittleBLOG hat, because it just got too hot. Anyway, hope to see you IRL one of these days.

Mo Rocca Headlines Saratoga Wine & Food Festival 2013 - Kimversations September 4, 2013 - 9:08 pm

[…] years ago I had the best time at the Saratoga Wine and Food Festival. I missed it last year but I am NOT going to miss it this […]


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