Monday night Jamie and I had the pleasure of experiencing a lot of kosher food and wine. We also got to meet so many of our online friends, it’s wonderful to see so many of you in person. This was the 7th Annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience hosted by Royal Wine Corporation at Pier 60 in New York City. This event offers the opportunity to taste over 200 wines and sample foods from over 25 restaurants and caterers.
I started the day early so I could get some pictures during the daytime light and sample some of my favorite wines before the crowds. Here were a few of my favorites for you to consider for an upcoming special occasion, Purim or Passover.
I tried a few varieties from Herzog, the Generation VIII To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, the Single Vineyard Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and my personal favorite the Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.
Carmel also offered a few wonderful wines including the Limited Edition 2007 had virtually no tannins and tremendous depth and a real taste of Israel – an interesting contrast to the California wines from Herzog and Covenant. The Carmel Mediterranean 2007 was also excellent.
I have always thought the Domaine Du Castel Grand Vin is one of the finest kosher wines in the world and the 2009 does not disappoint. The Shiloh Secret Reserve stood out as well as tasting of some older vintages of Covenant’s award winning Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The 2003 and 2006 Covenant wines were exceptional and show off the virtue of patience when cellaring a high quality bottle.
I’m not a huge white wine fan and I think many kosher winemakers don’t live up to their potential when making Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc , but I love the Chardonnay from Alexander, a boutique winery in Israel. The Alexander the Great Amarolo 2007 or Grand Reserve 2007 are fit for a king, with a gold label available for special occasions or gifts for that special someone.
I must share with you this perfect Purim addition for your Mishloach Manot, a bottle of sparkling cider with a Joker label from Poland, it screams Purim. Binyamina also has a nice selection of liqueurs from Limoncello to Triple Sec if you need to spice up your Seudah.
Now on to the food. The first thing I noticed during the early press time was that the caterers really stepped up their presentations and truly went all out this year. Gemstone/Got Cholent/Hakadosh BBQ does so many things well and their diverse display of five different kinds of cholent, a Herring Bar; Caviar Bar (we loved the caviar!), Smoked Chicken Sliders, Smoked Veal Belly with Polenta (my favorite) and a designer Jello Shot Bar (that would make any mixologist proud) to clear your palette had folks buzzing all night.
Pomegranate provided the pass around treats during the early press time and impressed with a Porcini Soup Shooter and a Smoked Tongue with Pickled Onions that had everyone wagging their, umm, tongues with joy. I also loved those little snow globes of seared steak salad – so clever!
Heavenly Events and Catering took vegetables to a whole new level with a natural and bountiful display. Their Brisket was heavenly, too and their fun take on dessert offered Rice Crispy Treats on a stick and an incredible Pistachio Brittle that I will be dreaming about for days.
Later, they served a seared Ahi Tuna in an edible spoon, so cute!
We had so many wonderful dishes from Le Marais's simple, but perfectly cooked hanger steak to the best burger I ever had, the Porcini Kobe Sliders from Prime Grill, to the gourmet hand crafted chocolates from Guilty Pleasures. One of the biggest surprises from the event was a Cantaloupe Soup from Basil in Crown Heights. The server tells me that the base is just pureed cantaloupe topped with espolette (a red spice I had never heard of), citrus salt, chives and basil oil to create one of the most interesting and tasty dishes I had all night.
Did you make it to the KFWE this year? What were your favorites?