POPSUGAR Celebrity

Cheers From the Piers! Highlights From the Grand Tasting

Oct 15 2012 - 9:46am

Although the New York City Wine & Food Festival [1] hosts everything from guest speakers to wine seminars, it's probably best known for its Grand Tasting, which is held at Pier 57 overlooking New York's Hudson River. At the tasting, festivalgoers find everything — from cheese and Champagne to deli pickles and Delta Airlines wines — all under one roof. It took us hours to navigate the boisterous scene, but here are some edibles that came out on top.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

ShopRite's Black Bear "Chicago-Style" Hot Dog

Chicago hot dog purists may balk at ShopRite's take on a Chicago-style hot dog, with cubed tomato, onion, and hot pepper, but I found myself appreciating the simplified update on the classic.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Nutella-Stuffed French Toast

"Everything is truly better with Nutella," assistant editor Anna declared in between bites at the Ferrero USA booth. The french toast sandwich, which was also filled with strawberry jam, was the ultimate cold-weather comfort.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Roasted Butternut Squash With Burrata

One of the most elegant dishes came from Stephen Kalt of the Borgata Hotel's Fornelletto Cucina & Wine Bar [2]: burrata served with butternut squash that had been marinated in aged balsamic vinegar and dried Sicilian figs.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Chipotle Mexican Grill's Barbacoa Chili

Chef Nate Appleman [3], who creates new products in Chipotle's research development group, came up with a spicy barbacoa chili to serve at the Grand Tasting. Aside from Chipotle's signature barbacoa, it also had pinto beans, organic black beans, and crispy tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, and shaved radish on top.

Although it's not currently available nationwide, "if you combine Chipotle's barbacoa, pinto beans, and black beans, then you're halfway there," one of the restaurant's servers told me.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Brooklyn Brine Co. Spicy Pickled Carrots

McClure's [4] may have sponsored Burger Bash, but Brooklyn Brine Co. [5] was in full force at the Grand Tasting. We especially loved the brand's Chipotle Carrots.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Chopin Wheat, Rye, and Potato Vodkas

Chopin [6] is famous for its vodka, which is distilled from potatoes in Poland. But the vodka house also makes vodka distilled from rye and wheat, so we had the opportunity to taste the three side by side. It was a revelation. The wheat vodka was sweet and light, the rye vodka peppery and spiced, and the potato vodka smooth and devoid of any alcoholic burn.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Carnaval Moscato

When it comes to wine, Brazil takes a backseat to its better-known brethren, Argentina, but it's actually the fifth-largest wine-producing country in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the world's emerging wine regions [7]. We found this out while sipping Carnaval [8], a light and not-too-sweet Brazilian sparkling made by wine cooperative Vinicola Aurora out of white and red Moscato grapes.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Dorda Chocolate Liqueur

Dorda Chocolate Liqueur [9], a blend of chocolate and Chopin vodka, is like a more concentrated premium version of Adult Chocolate Milk [10]. We envisioned taking advantage of the liqueur in a chocolate martini, cupcakes, or tiramisu.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

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