Behind The Butter

Wine and Food Galore

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!! 🙂

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  • LisaR
    May 17, 2009 at 6:38 am

    It looks like you had a blast!!! Glad you can share that time w/ your momma!

  • Nicole
    May 17, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Wow, it definitely looks like you and your mom had a great time! Yay!

  • hk
    May 17, 2009 at 7:19 am

    sounds like a special event with momma! glad you had a nice time!

  • The Novice Berker
    May 17, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Good gosh, what an expo!! The samples all look YUMMY and I really like the green theme of the whole shebang. Very cool!! I’m not big on wine, but I bet you had a ball with all of those faves. 🙂

  • Nicole
    May 17, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Man, that looks like fun!!!! It’s so nice that you and your mother got to enjoy it together 🙂

  • Kim
    May 17, 2009 at 7:28 am

    Looks like you & your Mom had a wonderful time. You both deserve it after the past few weeks.

    That wine with the blueberries looks amazing!

  • Bree
    May 17, 2009 at 7:34 am

    So glad you & your mom had great time, you both look so beautiful! I need to find that Torres wine (probably a bit tricky here in VT!) and that Geisha drink sounds wonderful! (I wonder if I can make something similar with rose water instead of extract)

  • K
    May 17, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Looks like a great event! I love, love, LOVE your dress you wore!!

  • brandi
    May 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

    how fun! everything looks great, and that’s nice that you could go with your mom

  • LK- Healthy Delcious
    May 17, 2009 at 7:41 am

    I’m so jealous- this sounds amazing!!

  • Jocelyn
    May 17, 2009 at 7:43 am

    whoa whoa all that food looks delish!
    and your new favorite drink with the flower looks beautiful!

  • runjen
    May 17, 2009 at 7:48 am

    What a blast! You both look beautiful!!

  • Jenny
    May 17, 2009 at 7:53 am

    sounds like an awesome night, and I am in love with your dress!

  • Still Life in South America
    May 17, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Great write up, Jenna. I did not know that there is a difference between Old World and New World wines. Can you give us some examples of the different terrains of OW and NW? I imagine that perhaps French Champagne would be OW and an Argentine Malbec might be NW. Established vs burgeoning?

    That muscat Gerwurstaminer sounds awesome. When I first started drinking wine, I could only drink dessert wines, but a muscat cut with a younger grape sounds refreshing and perfect for a summer brunch.

    Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge. Your mom looks radiant in the photo, btw.

  • Michelle Hisae
    May 17, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Wow, that looks like such a blast! I hope to go to a wine festival in…1 year! Under 21…haha.

  • Anna
    May 17, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Wow that looks like so much fun! I’m so glad you and your mother were able to enjoy a fun time together. And damn you look HOT in that dress!

  • bobbi
    May 17, 2009 at 8:29 am

    What a fun treat! I love wine tasteting, and so glad your momma enjoyed herself 🙂 Have a beautiful Sunday Jenna!

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner?
    May 17, 2009 at 8:40 am

    What a great event!!! I’d love to be able to attend an event like that someday…

  • Kailey (SnackFace)
    May 17, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Alright, this is totally girly, but where did you get that dress? It’s beautiful!

    Aw it looks as though you and Mama had a fabulous afternoon! All the food and wine looks incredible, and you two are gorgeous in the photos 🙂 Enjoy your Sunday!

  • FitFoodie
    May 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Looks like an amazing time!!! I’ve never been to a food & wine event where you can sample all kinds of foods plus do a REAL wine tasting. I’m definitely going to look into going to it next year.

  • Beadie @ What I Ate Yesterday
    May 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

    What a spectacular time you had!! everything looks and sounds delicious!

  • Leanne
    May 17, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Looks like a wonderful day with your mom. Nothing better than sangria on a hot day, that’s for sure!

  • Sharon
    May 17, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Oh wow, what an awesome time!

  • Christina
    May 17, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Mmm good choice with the chocolate chip gelato 🙂
    Looks like such a fun event – thanks for the recap!

  • Joy
    May 17, 2009 at 9:28 am

    such a cute dress! glad you both had fun and got to spend a relaxing day together, you’re mom looked adorable as well.

  • laura
    May 17, 2009 at 9:34 am

    i am from Spain and i love this wine too!!!!!!!!!!
    it is so good with seafood.

  • Run Sarah
    May 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

    How awesome! All the wines look fantastic.

  • *Andrea*
    May 17, 2009 at 9:48 am

    how fun!!! pretty dress.. you and your mama are gorgeous 🙂 love to see you both smile, it lights up the bloggerspace 😉

  • Maggie
    May 17, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Besides the food being absolutely beautiful…you look stunning!! Now I want a blonde bob 🙂 Glad your mom had a good time!!


  • Help Meghan Run
    May 17, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Awesome! All that seafood looks so tasty…and I’m glad you got to spend that good time with your mom. 🙂

    www. HelpMeghanRun .com

  • Gabrielle
    May 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

    It looks like you had a lot of fun and your dress is SO cute!

  • Erin
    May 17, 2009 at 10:21 am

    The caramelized sea scallop with papaya slaw looks and sounds amazing!! Two of my favorite foods are scallops and papaya.

    Austin is having a wine festival I am attending next weekend, I hope it is as good as this one!!

  • Jenna
    May 17, 2009 at 10:26 am

    What a fun time!! 🙂 Your dress is so cute! the wine and food looks incredible!

  • Layla
    May 17, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Great recap! You’d be fabulous as the Murphy Goode wine girl- hope you win! May I ask, where did you get your bag? I am loving the yellow straps and black & white print. Please tell me where I can find it if you know:)!!

    • jenna
      May 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm


      Thank you! I actually got that purse about four years ago on clearance from Anthropologie. I think sadly that it might be long gone! 🙁

  • brianna
    May 17, 2009 at 10:39 am

    First off, I loved your dress – so pretty! I’m glad you and your momma had a good time. I’m harsh craving a glass of sangria right about now!

  • Anais
    May 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    All that looked delicious! You both really deserved a special day, so I’m especially glad you enjoyed it!:)

  • Claire
    May 17, 2009 at 11:49 am

    You;re mom looks just beautiful! Glad y’all had a good time.

  • Raffi
    May 17, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Have you ever done the EPCOT food and wine festival? A bit roudier than the one you were at, and more variety in the food choices from around the world. We love it.

  • Newlywed Wife
    May 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    So much fun! What a great idea to take your mom, I’m glad ya’ll could spend some time together and have such a wonderful time! That food (all of it!) looks delish!

  • Lynna
    May 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Looks like you had an awesome time. I love the halter dress you wore, it’s so cute!

  • Jesse
    May 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Jenna if you want to get serious about wines, I reccomend a subscription to “Wine Spectator.” They review hundreds of wines from all around the world, and have the latest with what is going on in the food and wind world. I love it! Good to see you had your first taste with “Old World” wines-also what really distinguishes them is the “terroir,” which in French means earth, or soil. It refers to the quality of the soil in France which is just so special…try some Sancerre too-it is French Sauvignon Blanc, the epitome of what it is supposed to be! 🙂

  • Menden (Skinny Menny)
    May 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    This event looks like it was so much fun! You and your mom are both so pretty 🙂

  • Oh She Glows
    May 17, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    o agree with everyone else….I LOVE your dress!!!! I love the deep vneck!

  • Matt (No Meat Athlete)
    May 18, 2009 at 4:46 am

    So jealous that you get free tickets to that kind of stuff! Foodbuzz and I are going to have a talk….

    I’m surprised that you say Old World Wines are fruitier than New World. I always thought it was the reverse (think California cabernet vs. Bordeaux). Maybe I’m thinking “sweeter,” and that’s not the same as “fruitier”?

  • Fitzalan
    May 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    That was incredible.

    Food and wine “porn” at its finest!

    Happiness Awaits

  • IKEA Me Out | Eat, Live, Run
    May 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    […] Remember when I told you that Torres wine from Spain was very passionate about going green? Well, I was happy to support that! And I just love this wine, which is a blend of Gerwurtzaminer and Muscat. Goes perfect with some raw rosemary “quackers” from One Lucky Duck, wouldn’t you say? […]