Westchester Magazine's Wine & Food Weekend Grand Tastings

Plus: Captain Lawrence Brewing Company’s Cornhole Tournament, Pig Out in Peekskill, and Pâté and Steak Frites at Tagine in Croton

Like EDP? Then  like button Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekend on Facebook, where, every week until our festival (June 6-9), we’ll be giving away great stuff. This week, look for two free tickets to the Sunday, June 9, Grand Tasting of Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekendwe’re talking celebrity chefs, 200+ world-class wines, and specialty cocktails crafted by Pernod-Ricard in our Spirits Lounge. You heard us correctly—that means free booze! Only on Facebook (and only if you “like” us)!

Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend: Where Will You Be on June 8 and 9?

So, as some of you know I’ve been behind the scenes at Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Weekend and I’ve been party to (some of) the intense planning so far. Here’s the deal. The vineyards that participate in our festival only get better with each year–and we started out at a pretty high level. If you’ve signed up for the Saturday or Sunday Grand Tastings, you’ll be able to freely sample more than 240 wines from across the world–and those include heavy hitters from vineyards like Drouhin and Caymus. Better still, you’ll have one-to-one access to winemakers and their representatives. These folks will be gathering for one weekend at the Ritz-Carlton Westchester from points all around the world.

Beer will be another feature of this festival. Not only will we offer Blue Moon from Manhattan Beer, but Captain Lawrence beers will be on tap all weekend long. For the real card carrying beer geeks among you, the Captain himself, Scott Vaccaro (Owner and Head Brewer of Captain Lawrence Brewing Company), will be conducting a seminar with four of his most prized, limited release cask aged beers. It’s called “So You Think You Know about Beer,” which sounds a bit of a challenge. Expect great examples of these hard-to-find beers along with a heady (sorry!) discussion of barrels, blending and aging. Cocktails drinkers will not be left out in the cold. Our Pernod-Ricard Spirits Lounge will be showcasing two specially designed drinks shaken by Pernod-Ricard mixologists. Look for the Absolut Aphrodisiac to get you in the mood.

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Seventy Westchester restaurants will be present over the two days of Grand Tastings, and they’ll all be offering samples of their tastiest dishes. Look for Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish, Tarry Lodge, MP Taverna, Ruth’s Chris, Gleason’s, Village Dog, Farmhouse at Bedford Post, Mima, and scores more. PS: on Sunday, you might lay a firm foundation for your Grand Tasting with 42’s Sparkling Sunday Brunch that offers sparkling wines, passed hors d’oeuvres, a smoked salmon station, a buffet, a chocolate fountain, and assorted desserts. PS: I understand there might be coffee involved, too.

Some of you might have been turned off by recent festivals whose long lines and scant food and drink supplies have given similar events a bad rep. (Googawho?) Here’s the great thing about the Grand Tastings at Westchester Magazine’s Wine and Food Weekend: our capacity is strictly limited by the size of the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, which means that there’s room for everyone with no waits. Plus, the Ballroom at the Ritz-Carlton is indoors, air conditioned, and—just between us—we have all mod cons. We’re talking lovely marble-lined bathrooms with plumbed-in water (and not Port-o-Sans). Just sayin’.

We’re pretty excited about our chef demos and cook-offs this year. Not only do we have Chef Eric Gabrynowicz and Stephen Paul Mancini of Restaurant North returning for their usual food-and-booze hijinks, but we’ve also got that imp of culinary perverse, Chef David DiBari of The Cookery. Generally these three can be depended on for thought-provoking (or provocative) food info-tainment. And, this year in our Top Chef Cook-Off, we have feisty Top Chef Dale Talde (of super-hot Talde and Pork Slope) returning to throw down with fellow Top Chef (season 7) Ed Cotton (of Plein Sud). Also look for a cooking demo by culinary superstar Chef Michael Psilakis (of MP Taverna and every chef award on the planet). New for 2013 is Christian Petroni of Ardsley’s Fortina. You might remember Petroni from Anthony Goncalves’s Peniche in White Plains, the Greenwich branch of the Barcelona Wine Bar chain, and several Chopped appearances.

So, for these two Grand Tastings on June 8 and 9, we’re talking unlimited access to winemakers and their fine wines, plus craft brewed beers, a Pernod-Ricard cocktail lounge and the best restaurants in Westchester. Admission to all chef demos and our Top Chef Cook-Off is included in your $85 Grand Tasting ticket. I hope I’ll see you there.

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Summer Fun!
CLBC Cornhole Tournament
May 30
$10 per person
Look, I don’t really know what cornhole is but I know it sounds exciting. I also know that cornhole is a big sport among beer drinkers, so it offers the promise of drunkenness. There is apparently some sort of tournament being held at Captain Lawrence Brewing Company—it’s a convocation of cornholers who will gather and throw objects. At least, that’s what I believe. Here’s the info for those of you that speak Cornhole: “Blind Draw Double Elimination Cornhole Tournament, 32 player max, 80 percent payout, registration 6-7 pm; Bags fly at 7 pm. Sharp. Register in advance: pat@wardboards.com and visit Wardboards for more information.

Peekskill’s Pig Out
June 30
$25 per person
From the announcement: “PB’s 4th Annual Pig Roast will be taking place once again in the North parking lot of our location at 47-53 South Water Street. We’ve changed the format a little bit this year—but $25 per person includes all the pig, fixins and dessert you can eat! We will also be offering a cash bar that day. Buy your tickets now as there will be limited seats and limited walk-ins that day. Tickets can be purchased by coming into the Brewery or call at 914-734-2337. If all that great food isn’t incentive enough…Evan Watson will be there to perform!”

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Tagine in Croton
So, we finally dropped into Tagine, the new Croton-on-Hudson venture by Jonathan Pratt and Craig Purdy, the duo behind Peter Pratt Inn and Umami Café. There, happily ensconced with a delicious (and budget-friendly at $8.50) NY State draft Riesling, we tucked into hearty county pâté and this delicious dish of steak frites. Despite its Moroccan name—the name tagine refers to the cone-lidded, earthenware Moroccan cooking vessel—much of tagine’s menu is in the straightforward vein of French bistro. Look for essential French soul food in dishes like escargot in garlic butter, and salade Nicoise, pissaladière, sole meunière, and mussels steamed in wine. We loved Tagine’s perfectly executed Delmonico steak served with the snappably crisp and salty steak frites, pictured here. 

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