Event Review: 2016 New York City Wine and Food Festival

Note: In exchange for an event review of the 2016 New York City Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting, I received one entry ticket.

The 9th annual Food Network/Cooking Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival – the largest of its kind in New York – occurred from October 13-16th at venues throughout Manhattan.  In spite of its grandiose presence, 100% of the net proceeds go to the Food Bank For New York City and the No Kid Hungry® organization.  The NYCWFF was inspired by Miami’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival, which was first held in 2002.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-1Entry was somewhat chaotic, made worse – I hate to say it this way – by having to wait outside.  What does that mean?  Smokers.

After being corralled into our respective lines, patrons received wristbands with two tear-off portions; one for a gift bag, and another for a wine glass.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-7White collar Wal-Mart?  Yet, as much as I’d like to, I can’t say that every show in NYC is a mosh pit.

To sum up the show, it was an odd mix of presentations by Food Network/Cooking Channel stars, big brands side-by-side with one-off restaurants and food start-ups, and get sloshed so that you won’t remember you attended the previous day.  Coca-Cola was handing out bottles of their soda, and Delta – the airline, not the faucet company – was present to remind you of how much better food tastes on the ground.

marinara-jarThe nice folks at Victoria gave me a jar of their marinara sauce.

You know what’s good about them, besides their product line?  The ingredients list.  Take the marinara sauce for example; you can look at the label on the photo above, or be glad that whole tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, garlic, basil, and spices compose the whole list.  There’s a groovy comparison graphic on their homepage in which you can click on other pasta sauce brands to lament about see what their ingredients are.

Recently, they’ve begun to use avocado oil for some of their products…will have to try that one next.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-2There were a handful of memorable bites at the New York Wine and Food Festival.  Casa Lever had a nice scallop dish, and another booth offered the polenta and sardine with bread crumbs and pine nuts dish photographed above.  I apologize for not having photos of everything mentioned.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-3This jackfruit-focused amuse-bouche took me back to my time in Indonesia.  The preparation style of the nangka, or jackfruit – a sweet stew – was the same, though I would’ve gotten a kick seeing “Carolina slaw” on a Jakarta menu.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-8Earlier in the week, I was invited to a wagyu event at the Institute for Culinary Education.  Wagyu (和牛/ わぎゅう ), translated as Japanese beef, come with individualized identification cards.  That is to say, if you ever wanted to know where – as a buyer – your cow came from/what its diet was/when it made it to the abattoir, you can search online with that cattle’s 10-digit code.

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-5Samsung was one of the main sponsors of the event.  Jumping on that dubious bandwagon were a number of Korean booths, offering samples of fermented foods, seaweed and in this delicious case, kabocha soup.

Korea, perhaps you should concentrate solely on food exports?

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-6(My) winner for greatest brand at the show- Malk.  Check out this The Simpsons clip for reference.

Pretty good, too, and even better, no sugar added.  I’m waiting for the right time to try the chocolate pecan milk.

I can also assure you that I didn’t go hungry that day, though I may have left in a bit of a stupor.  Yep, various liquor brands – not limited to wine – were present throughout the show…

2016-new-york-city-wine-and-food-festival-at-pier-94-4Pisco, mezcal, gin, whiskey, vodka, plenty of wine and beer?  Yep.  But the standout, at least by flavor profile, was the Strega saffron liqueur.  An herbal delight.

Did you make it to the New York City Wine & Food Festival this year?  Is it now on your list for next year?

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