On May 15-16th, Foodbuzz generously supplied my tickets to the elite Tampa Bay Fine Wine and Food Festival. I was super stoked, of course, and on Friday afternoon got all dressed up and ready to taste some wine on the beach!
The events on Friday were only open to the media, press and members of the trade. Luckily, my ticket granted me special media VIP access so I could have a first look at all the festivities!
There was so much going on and it was so hot outside that I promptly found the sangria station to cool down and relax. Nothing like a glass of icy sangria on a hot Florida afternoon!
There were so many different vendors and wines from around the country, which was awesome, but the truly amazing thing was that all the wines featured were organic! The whole theme of the festival this year was “Going Green” and they really pushed organic everywhere. It was very cool to see. I found a cooking demonstration by the chef of one of my favorite restaurants so I immediately sat down and listened to him talk about sustainability in our oceans and the importance of knowing where your seafood comes from.
While the demonstration was going on, different wines that paired well with the meal were being passed around. I sipped on a 2007 Chablis (the first picture in this post is of that Chablis).
Here’s some Chablis facts for you budding wine-o’s out there:
- Chablis is a PLACE in Burgundy, France about 80 miles north of the famous Cote d’Or
- Chablis is famous for its soil, which is mainly limestone and chalk. You can taste both elements in the wine itself
After the cooking demonstration was over, I did another lap around the big tent and finally found exactly what I was craving-—
Gelato! My favorite 🙂
I had a sample of the mint chocolate chip-—
And then made my way into the event of the afternoon, a blind wine tasting led by a Master Sommelier! I thought this was totally cool because its not every day you get to hear a master talk about wine…..I loved it! I tried a sip out of all the wines on the table and my favorite was the Rose, which was an organic 2008 Mas de la Dame from Provence—perfect for summer!
After the grand tasting I grabbed a perrier and headed out since I knew the next day would be even more good food and wine (plus how much fun can you have when you are by yourself and driving?!)!
Now on onto Saturday, which was much more fun since I got to share in the festivities with my lovely mama!
First let me say, we had a blast. Buying her a ticket for Mother’s Day was worth all the money in the world because for the first time since my brother’s accident, I saw her smile and laugh again. It was great.
We got to the beach around 1:15 and were, of course, starving! First things first though, I grabbed a glass of delicious blackberry sangria to cool off and relax—
(Keep in mind that all drinks and foods were very, very small. This drink was mainly ice!)
And then we entered foodie bliss! Here’s everything I tried for lunch—when I say “tried” I mean that I didn’t necessary finish each of this tiny plates but rather tasted every one of them!
Lobster ravioli and wilted spinach with garlic from Carrabbas:
Crab and asparagus salad (I think?!) topped with candied prosciutto from SideBerns
Watermelon and feta salad with greek pasta salad from O-Grill
Deconstructed spicy tuna roll with seaweed salad from a sushi restaurant in town (don’t remember the name)
Caramelized sea scallop with papaya slaw from Salt Rock Grill
Sea scallop with lemon feta orzo from Capital Grill
Whew! Yes, you could totally make the proper assumption that I ate my way through the festival. Everything was so good and I wanted to taste it all! But the food wasn’t the only thing that was great…….I might have found a new favorite drink ever!
I had two of these they were so delicious. I think they were called a “Geisha Rose” or something. Mix of rose extract, pomegranate juice and vodka and topped with fresh blueberries and a flower!
And my mom I couldn’t miss, of course, the grand wine tasting— “Old World vs New World Wine”:
Basically, all of us had to taste each wine and decide if it was from the Old World or the New World. The green wine was a mystery wine that was tinted with food coloring! I learned the easiest way to classify a wine was to know that generally, Old World wines are fruitier than New World. This case has exceptions but for the most part its pretty much true.
I studied my wines intently:
And took a sip of each one during the 45 minute presentation. My favorite, by far, was the Torres Villa Esmeralda, which was a blend of Muscat and Gerwurstaminer.
I went crazy over this wine! It was my favorite of the entire festival and I can’t wait to search it out at Total Wine. Its a very light wine from Spain that would go perfect with Thai Food or sushi. Plus, Torres is the most Green winery! Mr. Torres buys each of his employees a hybrid car and all his grapes are organically grown.
Did you know that organic wine should be drunk within the first three years of its vintage? Its because organic wine does not contain any sulfites.
After the wine tasting we were pretty much ready to head for home. Luckily our driver (my father) was waiting for us in hotel lobby to sweep us away. I grabbed a huge water from the Evian booth and we were ready to head out.
We had a great time, thanks Foodbuzz!! 🙂