I've always thought New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine magazine and Travel & Leisure magazine was the sister event of Food & Wine Classic Aspen, but it's actually the sister event of Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival. New York City Wine & Food festival was founded to benefit hunger relief organizations like Food Bank for New York City and Share our Strength. And even though the festival was just two year old, it's been able to attract some of the most famous chefs/food tv personalities. Looking at the festival's website, it's hard not to notice the star-studded lineup -- Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Alain Ducasse were some of the well known chefs who took part in this year's festival.
If you happened to be around meatpacking district or Dumbo area on Oct 8-11, you probably noticed the areas were literally transformed into a food wonderland filled Foodies and food enthusiasts from everywhere. Tickets to the individual events can be purchased in advance, and there's an overwhelming selection of events to choose from: culinary demonstration by famous chefs, sushi rolling class, wine pairing class, dinner with famous chefs etc. I wasn't planning to attend any of the event this year (or last year) because the tickets were pretty expensive. But since my friend Wenwen won a pair of tickets from serious eats to attend Dovetail's John Fraser and master sommelier Andrea Robinson's "Pair like a pro: French Connection" event in the Standard Hotel, I finally got a chance to check it out.
Our event was on Oct 11, a Sunday afternoon and I arrived a little late on the day of the event because of delayed service at Path Train (Yes I know, no excuse). Fortunately, I only missed the introduction and Andrea Robinson was just starting to explain the types of wine when I walked in (she picked a total of 6 different wine). Throughout the event, we tasted 5 different bite size dishes on the tasting plate prepared by Dovetail's Chef/owner John Fraser paired with the wine Andrea picked.
I really loved all the wine Andrea Robinson had chosen for us; It was one of the best Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Syrah that I have tried. The always reliable Albrecht Gran Cru Riesling Pfingtsberg 2004 and Chateau La Louviere Blanc matched especially well with Chef Fraser's wonderfully prepared oysters with grapefruit and sunchokes, and shrimp sausage with cardamon and sour cherries. And the Pinot Noir, Etienne Sauzet Cahssagne-Montrachet 2007 complemented Chef Fraser's beef cheek lasagna and casoulet croquette perfectly. The casoulet croquette, which was made with four types of pork: guanciale, panchetta, baby pig's leg and bacon was just plain amazing.
Wine pairing is definitely an art that will take me a long time to learn and acquire. I didn't expect to be an expert after attending this event, nevertheless, I did learn that successful wine pairing is about complementing food with flavors, texture, body and acidity of the wine. Also, this events confirms that red with red and white with white do not always work since it also depends on the way the food was cook (ie. type of sauce, seasoning, spices). Sounds complicated right? It is. I think I'll just leave it to the sommelier to pick my wine next time I dine at a restaurant.