KFWE. Those in the food & wine industry or those who just enjoy food & wine know this was the place to be on 2/13/17.
What an experience! As a first time attendee, I had the opportunity to be at this event and mingle with other bloggers and distributors. It was an amazing experience! For those of us bloggers, or just regular foodies, we tend to work in the background; removed from the spotlight of famous chefs and cooks bringing you everyday recipes that the whole family can enjoy. So mingling with other bloggers, like Jonathan Margolin from Toque and Scalpel or Esti Berkowitz from PrimeTimeParent was truly a treat.
What most people don’t realize, is that food blogging is a hobby for us at KosherMoms. The team at KosherMoms all have full time jobs and devote our spare time to this venture.
Today was a day I truly enjoyed this hobby, mingling with other people whom I respect and admire. People always ask if there is stiff competition among bloggers. I truly feel we all have our own talent and distinct brand, ahem…”flavor”, that we bring to the table. Not everyone may like my spin on food, but then again, maybe that is why I blog, instead of being a chef;).
As expected, Pomegranate was a large part of the event as well as the Wandering Que, supplying the myriads of people with delectable dishes like Lamb Bacon Brittle (Wandering Que) to the incredibly Steam Buns with Beef Cheek (Pomegranate).
While the food was great, it definitely paired well with all the wines and spirits being poured. I will highlight some of the ones I truly enjoyed.
For the wines, Tzafona Cellars was a big hit with me. They served two types of wine, a chardonnay (unoaked) and a dessert wine (Vidal Icewine). Both of these wines were superb. As a full disclaimer, I am not a sommelier or wine connoisseur. I, as much as the next guy, enjoys a nice wine that has flavors that play nicely on your palate with a great finish.
As I mentioned, both wines had interesting flavors, but the Icewine was a “wow”. It was atypical from the standard dessert wine that I feel is too heavy on the fruit and tastes like a syrup. This had the right balance between the fruit and the acidity. From all the selections available, this was my favorite. Best of all, if you call Tzafona in advance (located in Niagara-Canadian side), they provide wine tours with tastings. So next time you are on the Canadian side of the Niagara, give them all call. It’ll surely be a treat.
I had the pleasure of meeting Darren Summers from Southern Champion, who had excellent selections of rums and Buzz Balls. I am not a big fan of Buzz Balls, since I enjoy when my wife mixes our own drinks and plays up the flavors I enjoy most. But, this rum was surprisingly good! Yes, I have tried other brands, but to be honest, I cannot drink rum if it is not in a cocktail. The flavor is too harsh. Darren introduced me to the Pelican Harbor Rum, which was smooth and enjoyable. The Black Rum had an additional coffee flavor at the end. Up to this point, I was a Bacardi fan. Should I feel guilty switching?
Next stop was the bourbon counter. For all those haters out there, I am a scotch guy, but decided it doesn’t hurt to give bourbon a try. I met Roger Litt, the sales manager, who was warm and friendly. I had a great time talking to him! I had the chance to taste the Burnside Bourbon. As expected, it did have a harsh finish, but the after flavors that creep in were wonderful. Regardless, this still would not be my first choice if I had to pick between scotch and bourbon. However, the Burnside Oregon Oaked was a lot smoother, and in my humble opinion, is something I would look for at my local watering hole. It had a multitude of flavors the creep in and gave me a good surprise, keeping me guessing what I would detect next.
This is the time I need to apologize to Erin Colantoni. I felt really bad as she was standing near the Zachlawi stand, and I kept requesting to taste some of the Zachlawi vodkas, not realizing she was a representative of the Aligned Beverage Solutions. This was definitely a fluke encounter that turned into an enjoyable tasting.
Most of us think of good scotch as, firstly, expensive, and the older it is, the better it is. She poured me a 3 year old whiskey, called Cluny, which was smooth and totally awesome. If you poured out the scotch from your favorite high-end bottle and refilled with this one, people would be raving on how smooth it is. I won’t lie. I was afraid to try it because it was only 3 years old, but at KFWE, it is all about the experience and trying new things! Gone are the days when you need to cough up $100+ for a decent scotch; this one just made my list.
What can I say about Zachlawi? I never heard of them until I made a Bar Mitzvah two years ago for my son on Pesach. I was in a conundrum. Where do you get decent alcohol on Pesach? It is unheard of. Yoel Smith of The Grapevine guided me toward this company. Their Kosher for Pesach Fig Arak is probably the best one I have ever tasted and their Vodka Mocha Cappuccino is just awesome! I went around sampling other coffee flavored vodkas as KFWE, but this is hands down, the best you will ever taste. It has an authentic coffee flavor, and not like the other brands that have coffee imitation or a chemical aftertaste. This is a must-buy for any household!
I must end off with a special shout out to Karen Miller and their special Kosher for Passover line of alcoholic beverages. I am always big on conversation, and truly enjoyed shmoozing with Karen! What a fun person!
She introduced me to Jack Miller’s Apple Moonshine! Imagine sweet, warm, cinnamon apple pie–with a kick–but in a cool mason jar. That’s how good this moonshine is! This can be served alone on ice, or served hot on a cold winter’s night, or just a splash of it in your tea for added flavor. Hey, I may not be a wine connoisseur, but I know my moonshine and this was great! The marketing of the packaging is pure genius. To give the moonshine an authentic feel, it is bottled in a mason jars with a retro, rustic-looking label. Just love it! But there is also a serious side of this company: David’s Harp Vodka. This is also a Kosher for Passover spirit, and their citrus infused vodka is also something to look forward to…not just for Pesach, but all year round!
As I wind down from this awesome day, I want to say thank you to all the vendors and great people there who made this possible. Yes, while there were many great vendors there, the ones I mentioned above are the ones that tickled my fancy. If by chance, or by design you missed this year’s KFWE, no worries, there is always next year!