By: Jessica Farley
The 5th annual Wine and Food Festival was held this past weekend at the National Harbor. Over 150 wines, beers, and spirits were available on an “all-you-can-taste” basis to patrons, along with restaurant tastings, live cooking demonstrations, and myriad vendors coming from coast to coast with samples of their tasty delicacies.
Needless to say, I’ve been in elastic-waist pants ever since.
Highlights of the event included a live cooking demonstration from the Food Network’s Sara Moulton, who prepared crepes and buffalo chicken rice- both recipes from her new cookbook “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Meals.” Moulton, who spent 10 years as a host on the Food Network, now hosts “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” which has aired on PBS since 2008. She even has a "Sara's Kitchen" app, which features recipes, videos, and shopping, available through iTunes for $2.99.
The wine selection ranged in price from $9 to $349, and guests were also provided with a variety of craft beers featured in the “Biergarten,” as well as spirits selections from Skinny Girl, Cruzan, and Jim Beam- just to name a few. In short, nobody left the 2012 Wine & Food Festival thirsty.
Exhibitors featured everything from artisan food products, to cigars, to homemade crafts, providing something enjoyable for everyone in attendance. Amongst the most fascinating vendors included Milly’s Organics, who were back for their second year at the festival all the way from California. Describing the experience of the Wine and Food Festival as “truly phenomenal,” Milly’s all natural, all organic salad dressings proved too tasty for me to resist; I went home with a bottle of her Cayenne Watermelon Dressing, which she described as “most popular during the warm weather months.”
Also back for a second year at the Wine and Food Festival was Captain Thom’s Chili Pepper Company, a 12 year old Baltimore based company. My favorite of their featured products? A too-good-to-be-true bacon ketchup, which would pair terrifically with scrambled eggs or atop a juicy burger.
As a fan of the spicier foods in life, my mouth was left watering for more after a sample of Rizzotti Foods’ award-winning “Rippin’ Red Wing Sauce.” Based out of Abingdon, Maryland, all of Rizzotti Foods’ sauces are all natural, with no added sugars, preservatives, and zero Trans and saturated fats. All the more reason to indulge!
The crowds enjoyed a break from all of the food and drink with live performances from The Bay Jazz Project, headlined by the coquettish vocal stylings of 26 year old Silver Spring native Mary Alouette. As a first time attendee to the Wine and Food Festival, Alouette said, “I loved the experience; the crowd was so vibrant!” Her gypsy-jazz influenced debut cd, “Midas,” is soon to be available on iTunes!
As the sun began to set, and the souvenir tasting glasses shattered one by one on the ground after a tasting too many, I went on my way home- full-bellied and geared up for next year!
Take a look through my slideshow for a “taste” of the 2012 Wine and Food Festival!