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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Events

EVENT: Kids’ Food Festival

Get ready for the 2015 Kids Food Festival on February 28th and March 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Held in the America Winter Village at Bryant Park (behind the New York Public Library, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue and 40th and 42nd Streets).

Presented by The Creative Kitchen, this is a fun-filled, flavorful weekend of family activities that showcase how delicious and easy it is to make better-for-you foods.

A celebration that educates families about making balanced food choices, it’s a great opportunity for adults to help create wholesome, lifelong eating habits for kids and adult family members alike.

With a fantastic line up of chefs, performers, and exhibitors, free general admission includes:

  • The Main Stage, featuring music and dancing, live
    entertainment and cooking demonstrations
  • The Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt
  • Fun activities and kitchen crafts for the whole family
  • Samplings of delicious foods
  • Giveaways and more


    Appetites of all ages will be satisfied, February 28th and March 1st.

    Tickets for hands-on cooking classes hosted by the James Beard Foundation at the Future Foodies Pavilion can be purchased separately here. The $25 per class includes admission for one child and one adult companion.
    The Kids Food Festival helps in the fight against childhood obesity. It’s a painless way to learn about the importance of achieving balance in food choices, through fun activities and sampling family-friendly foods.

    When kids are immersed in enjoyable activities, they absorb information more effectively. The Kids Food Festival embodies this philosophy of learning through fun events.

    Families will cook, dance, laugh and taste their way to making balanced food choices! Get your forks ready for a weekend full of flavorful fun!

    Discover more at



    EVENT: Oyster Frenzy


    Belon oysters from Maine. Photo courtesy J.P.


    What’s shucking in your town?

    In ours, New York City, we’re in the middle of New York Oyster Week—actually two weeks of oyster-centric events, from September 11th through September 28th.

    Once, in the waters surrounding us, oysters were so plentiful that anyone could enjoy as much as he chose. Alas, as with the sturgeon that once swam the Hudson River, so plentiful that free caviar was served at pubs (the salty caviar made people drink more beer), we over-fished our bounty by the mid-nineteenth century.

    Now, if you crave it—oysters or caviar—you pay dearly (a little less dearly in the case of oysters versus caviar).

    You can indulge in oyster excitement on Saturday, September 27th, when the 12th Annual Grand Central Oyster Frenzy takes place at The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal.

    Admission is free to view:

  • A shucking competition among top professional oyster shuckers. Seven-time champion Luis “The Mexican Menace” Iglesius will try for yet another title.
  • The Slurp Off Competitive Eating Competition for the public, to see who can slurps 12 oysters in the fastest time.
  • The Beer Shucking competition, crowning the person who “shucks” a case of beer in fastest time—is sponsored by Blue Point Brewing Company.
  • Chef demonstrations of culinary wizardry.
    There are also tastings, with oysters and beverages priced per item, including:

  • 16 Oyster Pairings! From 12 noon to 4 p.m., Oyster Frenzy will present 16 varieties of oysters—eight each from the East and West coasts—paired six championship wines. We can’t wait!
    For information call 1.212.490.6650 or email info@oysterbarnycom…or just show up!



    We had never heard of Duck Island, a tiny spot on Long Island Sound (between Long Island, New York and Connecticut) that you can’t even see clearly on a map.

    But yesterday we were treated to Duck Island oysters, plus Kumamotos from Baja, California, along with 23 different wines under consideration for the Oyster Frenzy at the Oyster Bar.

    Our challenge was to select which of the wines went better with the very briny Kumamotos and which went better with the fruity, honeydew-note Duck Island oysters from Long Island Sound.

    Lest anyone think, “Oh boy, 23 different wines,” let us emphasize that this is very tough work! And without going into detail on the 23 wines (kudos to the sommeliers at the Oyster Bar for such an informative challenge), our philosophy is:

  • Go for a classic Chablis or Pinot Blanc with fruity oysters. You don’t want any fruit sweetness from the wine interfering with the subtle notes of the oyster.
  • For briny oysters, a touch of fruit in the wine can offset the salinity. In the blind taste test, we picked a Sauvignon Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay blend and a dry Riesling.
    As for those Duck Island oysters, we couldn’t get enough of them. We’re heading back to The Oyster Bar this weekend for more!



    Our favorite way to enjoy oysters—apart from naked, as absolutely plain oysters are called—is with salmon caviar. Photo courtesy The Sea Grill | NYC.



    When you’re eating fresh oysters on the half shell, the best way to eat them is naked. That’s how you’ll taste the different flavor notes in different varieties.

    Any addition—lemon juice, cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce, horseradish—just covers up those wonderful flavor notes.

    On the other hand, if the oyster is bland, you need those condiments to add flavor! But that should never be the case at a seafood restaurant or oyster bar.

    Oyster crackers are small, salted, soup crackers, typically hexagonal in shape and molded into two halves, roughy suggestive of an oyster shell. They were so-named because they were commonly served with oyster chowder, oyster stew and similar fish and seafood dishes.

    The best ones we’ve ever had—served at the Oyster Bar—are from Westminster Bakers. We can’t stop eating them!


    Check out the different types of oysters in our Oyster Glossary.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Rosé Wine & The Best Rosé Tasting Ever

    Quick: What’s a rosé wine?

  • It’s a type of wine that gets some of its rosy color from contact with red grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine.
  • It can be made anywhere in the world, from almost any grape (or a mix of different grapes); it can be made as a still, semi-still or sparkling wine.
  • Depending on the grape, terroir and winemaking techniques, the color can range from the palest pink to deep ruby red to hues of orange or violet; and in styles from bone dry Provençal rosé to sweet White Zinfandel and other blush wines from California.
  • It may be the oldest style of wine, as it is the most easiest to make with the skin contact method.
    And it’s popular.

    According to Nielsen, premium imported rosés (those priced at $12 or more per bottle) grew by 39% in volume and 48% in dollar value in 2013, capping nine straight years of double-digit growth.

    In sum, a glass of chilled rosé is now hot.

    And soon, in celebration, the world’s first large-scale rosé tasting event, La Nuit En Rosé will be held in New York City—on June 13th and 14th.

    Before then, you can set a bottle or two on your Easter table. But La Nuit En Rosé is a rosé tasting with 50 wines you won’t want to miss.



    Multiply times 50: That’s how many roses you’ll be able to taste at La Nuit En Rosé (if not more!). Photo courtesy Corks and Caftans.


    JUNE 13th & 14th, 2014

    La Nuit En Rosé, “The Pink Night,” marks the first time a large wine event has focused exclusively on rosé. It’s a celebration of rosés from around the globe, and your opportunity to taste the different grapes and styles all in one evening—on a yacht cruise!

    There will be more than 50 wines from the world’s great wine regions.

    This tasting event will take place during an elegant yacht cruise along the Hudson River that nestles Manhattan Island. There are not only wines, but live music, optional cuisine and some of the best views Manhattan has to offer.

    There are two four-hour sessions a day, an afternoon and an evening sailing, each featuring a 90-minute cruise. The yacht departs from Pier 40 (West Street and the Hudson River).

    Just pick your day and time on Friday, June 13th or Saturday, June 14th:

  • DAY TASTING & CRUISE, 1 PM to 5 PM: Take in the summertime sun during a daytime cruise. Sip on the world’s finest rosé wines while taking in the sights of downtown New York City from the water. You can board as early as 1 and start tasting. The cruise begins at 2 p.m. and sails until 3:30 p.m.; you can then remain on board until 5, tasting and enjoying the music.
  • NIGHT TASTING & CRUISE, 7 PM to 11 PM: Prepare for an evening of wine tasting, dancing and cruising around the city. Enjoy views of the lit-up Manhattan skyline. Boarding time is 7 p.m.; the cruise begins at 8 p.m. and sails until 9:30 p.m. You can remain on board until 11.

    Tickets are $60 per person and include all of the wines and the 90-minute cruise. Buy them at

    Food vendors on board will sell cheeses, charcuterie, fresh seafood, French pastries and other snacks to pair with the wines.

    The event also features a wine competition, where distinguished judges will confer honors upon the best of the wines, and you can cast your own vote for the audience award (“people’s choice”).

    If you taste something you really like, you’ll be able to order it on board from renowned wine merchant Zachys.

    Get together a group: It should be a memorable event!



    We can’t wait to taste and cruise. Photo by
    Thor | Wikimedia.



    Surprise: Most wine grapes have clear juice, regardless of the skin color. The pink color in rosé—and the color of red wines—is obtained through skin contact. This means letting the crushed grape skins and fresh juice (which is called the “must”) of black-skinned grapes (a.k.a. purple or red grapes) rest together in a vat.

    The longer that the juice is left in contact with the skins (typically one to three days for rosé), the more color is extracted and the more intense the color of the final wine. When the color is the right shade for the brand, the must is then pressed and and the skins are discarded.

    The winemaker drains the juice from the skins and proceeds to make the wine in the same way most whites are made (cool fermentation and, for rosé, no oak).

    Rosé Vs. Blush Wine

    In the 1980s, American winemakers began using the term “blush wine” to sell their pink wines. The reasons:


  • White Zinfandel had become enormously popular (at one point it was the largest-selling wine in America), and there weren’t enough Zinfandel grapes grown to meet demand. Winemakers needed to use other grape varieties, and could no longer call the product “White Zinfandel.”
  • No one was buying, or showing an interest in, rosé at the time, while blush wines flew off of the shelves.
  • American pink wines, whether White Zin or the generic “blush,” are typically sweeter and paler than French-style rosé.

    The styles and tasting profiles of each are as varied and complex as any varietal, and richly deserve their new popularity. Get to know fifty of them this June.



    FREEBIE: Harvard “Science Of Cooking” Online Cooking Class

    What if you could study the science of cooking with some of the world’s best-known experts, in a Harvard online course? For free! You can, starting October 8th.

    One of the largest trends in education are MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses. The concept is being led by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which founded edX, the not-for-profit online learning enterprise.

    Harvard’s popular Science & Cooking course, which brings some of the world’s top chefs into the science classroom, will start on October 8th at edX. “SPU27x: Science and Cooking—From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Physics,” is an online adaptation of an internationally recognized Harvard course that uses “deconstructivist” cooking techniques to illustrate the principles of science and engineering in the classroom.

    Top chefs and Harvard researchers explore how everyday cooking and haute cuisine can illuminate basic principles in physics and engineering, and vice versa.


    What makes gelatin go from powder to solid? It’s one of the many chemical reactions that will be explained in the course. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.


    Chef instructors include some of the world’s most acclaimed modern chefs. A sampling:

  • Jose Andres, Chef and Restaurateur, Washington D.C.
  • Ferran Adrià, Chef, Barcelona
  • David Chang, Chef, Momofuku restaurants, Ma Peche and Milk Bar, New York
  • Wylie Dufresne, Chef, WD-50, New York
  • Harold McGee, Author, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
  • Nathan Myhrvold, Author, Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine At Home
  • Enrico Rovira, Chocolatier
  • Bill Yosses, White House Executive Pastry Chef

    The syllabus. Image courtesy Harvard


    The original course grew out of collaboration between faculty at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Alícia Foundation, led by groundbreaking Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. When Adrià gave a public lecture at Harvard SEAS in 2008, his talk drew an audience that spilled beyond the auditorium doors. Encouraged by the crowds, faculty in applied physics developed a four-month undergraduate course that now, in turn, has inspired this offering on edX.

    During each week of the course, Adrià and other top chefs will reveal the secrets of some of their most famous culinary creations—often right in their own restaurants. Alongside this exhibition of cooking mastery, the Harvard instructors will explain the science behind the recipe.

    You can:

  • Watch the weekly lecture at your leisure (everything is archived online)
  • Audit or commit to a certificate (which requires assignments and tests)
  • And do it at this time for NO FEE WHATSOEVER.


    Head to edX.



    EVENT: Bacon In The City

    Bacon cupcakes, bacon potato chips, bacon melon balls, candied bacon, bacon lattes—these were just some of the treats enjoyed by participants in last year’s iAdventure festival in New York City.

    On Sunday, June 23rd, Bacon Bash II will take place at Bowlmor Times Square. Join the party to sample bacon-inspired libations and treats and bring home some baco-licious souvenirs. Your bacon cravings will be satisfied by Bare Burger, House of ‘Que, Baconery, Bacon Bites and others with bacon preparations from the sweet to the savory!

    Tickets are $35 for 1 draft beer and à la carte food; $45 for 5 Bacon Tastes and 1 draft beer, and $85 for two tickets with 10 Bacon Tastes and 2 draft beers!

    You must be 21+ to attend. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

    Until then, check out our:

  • Favorite Bacon Chocolates
  • BLT Martini Recipe
  • Homemade Bacon Vodka & Bacon Bloody Mary Recipe

    Candied bacon and bacon lattes from Bacon Bash I.




    EVENT: Coffee Cup Tasters Challenge

    How well do you know your coffee?

    Counter Culture Coffee wants you to get to know it better. You’re invited to take part in The Counter Culture Coffee Cup Tasters Challenge 2013, held on March 15 in:

  • Asheville
  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Durham
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • Washington, D.C.
    Events in all regions start at 7 p.m. E.T., 6 p.m. C.T. in Chicago.


    Taste the coffee black to discover the differences. Photo courtesy Derby Pie.


    Known in the industry as “coffee cupping,” this is the process professionals use to assess different coffees—for example, to decide if and how to improve the roast or blend, or which beans should be served/sold by the establishment.

    The Counter Culture event, though, is a consumer contest for a regional title win. The overall winner gets a chance to go to the Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Boston this April, to compete in the U.S. Cup Tasters Championship.

    For a $5.00 entry fee, participants get to taste delicious coffees: multiple sets (flights) of three cups each. To win, you’ve got to correctly identify which cup is different from the other two in each set.

    Ready to put your palate to the test? Registration information is at



    EVENT: Umbria Month In NYC

    Distinctive red wines made from the
    Sagrantino grape are unique to Umbria.
    Photo courtesy


    Needing a quick trip to Italy, we headed to Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street in New York City, home of Eataly, a high-end Italian food market/mall. The first store opened in Turin, Italy, in 2007; the New York branch opened to much fanfare in August 2011.

    It’s Umbria Month in New York City, proclaimed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and celebrated at wine stores, restaurants, Italian food markets and Eataly, which is a combination of all three.

    There are restaurant menus with Umbria’s signature fare, cooking classes led by Eataly’s chefs and tastings of Umbrian foods and wines at shops including Di Palo’s Fine Foods and Enoteca (wine store) in Little Italy.

    Can you pick out Umbria on a map? The region of Umbria is in central Italy, less than two hours from Rome and Florence. The capital is Perugia.

    Neighboring Tuscany gets much of the food and wine coverage in America, but the region of Umbria, east of Tuscany, is equally deserving of your attention.


    And there’s much atmosphere as you eat and drink. Known as “il cuor verde d’Italia”, the green heart of Italy, Umbria home to stupendous mountains, valleys and medieval villages and of course.

    We sampled some of the local specialties at Eataly—fine wines, black truffles, olive oil and a perfect porchetta, roast pig with the crispest skin we’ve ever had. Good news: It’s available every Thursday in the Rosticceria, one of the 12 eating areas at Eataly.

    Along with the full-bodied, spicy Sagrantino-based red wines (the grape is unique to Umbria), it was a delicious lunch. Fully refreshed, we left “Umbria” and returned to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

    See all the Umbria Month In NYC activities at



    EVENT: Kids Food Festival: November 3rd & 4th

    Kids will discover that healthful foods are exciting. Image courtesy Kids Food Festival.


    It’s tough to get kids to establish healthful eating habits. Aside from all the media messages, there’s peer pressure and the ubiquity of not-good-for-you food and beverage choices.

    But what if good eating could be presented as a fun activity? That’s what Cricket Azima, kids food expert and founder of The Creative Kitchen, thought when she designed the Kids Food Festival.

    Now in its second year, in partnership with Cooking Light, the festival is a weekend full of flavorful fun held in Manhattan’s Bryant Park (42nd Street and Avenue Of The Americas) on November 3rd and 4th, 2012.


    The Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices. This helps to create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents.


    The mission is to combat childhood obesity by engaging families in fun food activities, tastings and exciting family-friendly programming.

    The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including cooking classes, food demonstrations, live entertainment, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt for kids, food sampling, giveaways and more. General admission to the event is free and open to the public.

    Cooking Classes For Kids

    Some of New York’s top chefs will provide hands-on cooking classes for kids at The James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion, including Ellie Krieger, Jehangir Mehta, Sam Talbot, Patricio Sandoval and Katie Workman. Classes are $25 per child with a portion of the proceeds benefiting FoodCorps, a nationwide team of leaders who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Tickets can be purchased here.


    If you’re not in the New York Area, the Kids Food Festival can come to you. Contact @CricketAzima on Twitter or use the Contact Us form on the Festival website for information.

    You can follow the festival on Twitter @KidsFoodFestNYC and on Facebook and the Festival’s website.



    EVENT: Best Food Films Online

    Immigrants with pushcarts try to sell fresh
    fruit to people who really need it. Photo
    courtesy Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.


    Launching on Sunday. April 22—Earth Day 2012—the Do Something Reel Film Festival affords the opportunity to watch some of the best food-focused documentaries online.

    It’s sponsored by Whole Foods Market and partners that include Applegate Organic & Natural Meats, Earthbound Farm Organic and Siggi’s Cultured Dairy Products.

    Each year, a number of terrific food films are released but get limited distribution. Even we, who would love to see them for professional reasons, don’t have the time to get to wherever they may be showing.

    But stream them online at, and we’ve got a whole month to tune in.

    The Do Something Reel Film Festival is a much-needed showcase for provocative films about food and environmental issues. Viewing is on a pay-per-view basis. Ticket sales help to fund filmmaker grants for new projects.


    Launching This Sunday

    The online film festival opens on April 22, with a live screening of “The Apple Pushers,” narrated by the actor Edward Norton. It will be followed by a panel discussion with the film’s writer/director, producer and other experts.

    While there is a charge to watch the film, the panel discussion can be viewed free online from April 22nd to April 30th.

    The film follows five immigrant street-cart vendors who sell fruits and vegetables in New York neighborhoods where fresh produce isn’t widely available. The vendors personify what it means to be an American entrepreneur, and their stories shed new light on the nation’s food crisis and skyrocketing obesity rates.


    A New Film Each Month

    Each month the festival will showcase a different film online. Following “The Apple Pushers,” the films currently slated are:

  • MAY: “Watershed,” which follows a Rocky Mountain National Park fly fishing guide and six others living and working in the Colorado River basin. The film illustrates the river’s struggle to support 30 million people across the western U.S. and Mexico.
  • JUNE: “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?,” a profound journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees around the world, uncovering the long-term causes that could create one of our most urgent food crises.
  • JULY: “King Corn” and “Truck Farm,” the first film spotlighting the tragedy of our country’s corn crops and the second focusing on mobile gardens.

    The struggle of one watershed to support 30 million people. Photo courtesy Kontent Films.


  • AUGUST: “Lunch Line,” a fresh perspective on the politics of food and child-nutrition through an examination of the surprising past, uncertain present and possible future of the National School Lunch Program.
  • So mark your calendar for a monthly movie night with the Do Something Reel Film Festival. It’s your opportunity to connect with these important films and their thought-provoking issues. And you’ll see how your everyday decisions and purchasing power can make a difference.

    For additional information, a complete schedule of events and details about the grant program, please visit



    EVENT: Share Our Strength’s Taste Of The Nation


    Enjoy something spectacular so kids can get
    basic nutrition. Food shown is not part of the
    event, but similar in spirit. Photo courtesy
    Restaurant Tru.


    Even in the world’s wealthiest nation, nearly 17 million children worry about where their next meal will come from. That’s nearly one in four children at risk of hunger, with limited access to the basic nutrition they need to develop to their full potential.

    Last night, Share Our Strength’s Taste Of The Nation tour launched in Charlotte, NC and Manchester, NH. It continues to 25 other cities from now through the end of June.

    Billed as “the nation’s premier event to end childhood hunger in America,” the event raises money by serving affluent food enthusiasts elegant fare from top chefs.

    Food, drink and services are donated, so 100% of ticket sales support Share Our Strength’s programs.

    In Philadelphia, one of the tour cities, 24.5% of residents live below the poverty line and 260,000 people are “at risk for hunger.”

    That’s why those who can afford as much food as they’d like—and who appreciate the best food—are encouraged to take part.

    We won’t list all 25 cities here, but see if your city is on the tour and purchase tickets at Share Our Strength/Taste Of The Nation.

    You can also make a donation directly or in someone’s name. Maybe that’s what Mom would really prefer for Mother’s Day (May 9th).


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