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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 TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Events

Gourmet Getaway: American Wine & Food Festival ~ Los Angeles



During the weekend of October 2nd-4th, the 27th American Wine & Food Festival is serving up a world-class culinary celebration, benefiting Los Angeles Chapters of Meals On Wheels.

  • The weekend kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 2nd, with an intimate party where philanthropists and foodies mingle over chic eats and innovative libations.
  • On Saturday, October 3rd from 5-11 p.m., there’s a Wolfgang Puck VIP Cooking Demo, followed by a gala on the Universal Studios Back Lot: an unrivaled epicurean feast prepared by world-renowned chefs, with live bands and a luxurious silent auction.
  • On Sunday October 4th, at 6 p.m., there’s a Chef’s Grand Tasting and live auction at Spago Beverly Hills. Celebrity chefs Thomas Keller of Bouchon, Dean Fearing of Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, Jereme Leung of Jereme Leung Creative Concepts, Nobu Matsuhisa of Matsuhisa & Ubon and Gina DePalma of Ristorante Babbo will each prepare one course.
  •  

    universal-studio-backlot-230

    The Saturday evening event at the Universal Studios Back Lot.


    According to a colleague who attends each year, even for $350 a ticket, the Saturday night event is one of the best foodie deals you can find: more than 50 of the best chefs in America personally serving their favorite dishes as top wineries pour fine wines, all in the fabulous ambiance of the Universal Studios back lot. You can read the full list of marquee names on the website, but a sampling of participating chefs includes Tom Colicchio, Larry Forgione, Ilan Hall, Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsushisa, Mark Miller, Mark Peel, Stephen Pyles, Lidya Shire, Joachim Splichal, Jonathan Waxman, Alan Wong and Sherry Yard. For information and tickets, visit http://www.awff.org.

    Comments

    GOURMET GETAWAY: WhiskyFest, San Francisco



    irishbrogue-230

    Whisky “on the rocks.” Photo courtesy of Tullamore Dew.

     

    Where can you find more than 200 of the world’s rarest and most expensive whiskies in one place? At America’s largest whisky celebration, WhiskyFest, taking place for its third year in San Francisco on October 16th. Attendees can not only sample the revered spirit, but can learn how to identify, sniff, swill and taste it, see how its made, and discover everything else about whisky, through speakers and seminars and from leading industry experts, master blenders and distillery managers.

    “It gives whisky enthusiasts the chance to taste some incredibly rare whiskies and meet the makers behind the barrels,” says John Hansell, Publisher of Malt Advocate magazine, which sponsors the event. The whisky celebration doesn’t start with the festival; the week leading up to it will feature events related to the spirit and promotions at popular nightspots, restaurants and bars.

    For more information on ticket sales or event information, visit WhiskyFest.com.

  • Check out our Whisky Glossary.
  • Peruse a selection of delicious whisky cocktail recipes.

  • You may notice the different spelling of “whisky” versus “whiskey.” In Ireland and the United States, the word “whiskey” is spelled with an “e.” The British, Scots and Canadians use “whisky.” Etymologists don’t know why. The best explanation is that the Irish had whiskey first, and when the Scots started to make it, they left out the “e” to point out the difference between their spirit and Irish whiskey.

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    GOURMET NEWS: EAT-JAPAN Sushi Awards


    The winner: a sushi made of seven
    different treatments of rice. Last year’s
    winner, Golden Shooting Star, was also a
    vegetarian sushi.
    Award-winning chefs from Japan, Russia, Scandinavia, the U.K. and the U.S. competed on October 6th at Sushi Awards 2008 for the Sushi Of The Year Award, a unique creation developed for the event. The “Seven Sushi Samurai” created their selected sushi for 322 sushi connoisseurs, members of the press and a guest panel of British culinary celebrities. The event, held at Bloomsbury’s London House, was sold out (there was a waiting list for the £90 tickets).

    The winner was Mitsunori Kusakabe of Sushi Ran in Sausalito, California. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1970, Kusakabe is a largely self-trained sushi genius who holds the 6th American Sushi Skills trophy. He has carried his skills around the globe before bringing them to his Michelin-starred restaurant, Sushi Ran in California. Born in Osaka, Japan in 1970, Kusakabe is a largely self-trained sushi chef who also won the sixth American Sushi Skills competition. His creation, “Seven ‘Rice’ Samurai,” used only rice (no fish or vegetables, except for the nori wrapper and garnishes such as shiso flowers), and demonstrated his skills as a chef; judge Kyle Connaughton, head chef of The Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen, called it “tecnhically brilliant.”

    Kusakabe utilized used seven different cooking methods—fermentation, frying, toasting, sautéing, roasting, freezing and extraction—to transform rice into an innovative sushi. The inspiration behind this recipe was Kusakabe’s desire to show the world just how delicious and essential rice is, and how versatile rice can be. You can only imagine how good this sushi tastes, but the next time you’re in the neighborhood of Sausalito (right across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco), see if you can get a reservation at Sushi Ran.

    Last year’s winner, Golden Shooting Star, was also a vegetarian sushi. To learn more about the different types of sushi available at most sushi bars, read THE NIBBLE’s Sushi Glossary. And if you’re headed to any of the cities where the rest of the Seven Samurai sushi chefs work, you can be assured you’ll find some exciting sushi there.

    Read more about the Sushi Of The Year competition, and see photos of the runners up.

    Comments

    NEWS: Polling For America’s Favorite Dessert


    Take a break from the Republicans and Democrats. The Pillsbury Campaign for a Sweeter America has announced that Cake and Brownies have received the people’s nomination to run for the nation’s favorite dessert. The announcement comes after a nine-city primary campaign tour with the Pillsbury Doughboy to Asheville, NC, Baltimore, Boston, Chicato, Columbus, OH, Troy, OH, Indianapolis, Pittsbugh and Washington, DC. Voters have been won over by Cake’s ability to make every occasion a celebration, but the chocolatey irresistibility of Brownies is certainly putting up a fight. You can cast your vote in the online election at www.pillsburybaking.com/campaign. And you can read about our favorites in THE NIBBLE’s Cakes & Brownies Section.
     

    Comments

    EVENTS: Halloween Star-Studded Spectacular

    The market may be down, but the stars are out. If you have $150, put on your best Halloween costume, get a balcony seat for dinner and rub shoulders at the cocktail reception with food, fashion and Hollywood A-listers at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. On Friday, October 31, 2008, at the annual Hulaween benefit for Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project, more than 1,000 guests will be entertained by Gloria Estefan, the Miami Sound Machine and Emmy award-winning comedian Kathy Griffin (on the D-List and proud of it). American designer and “Project Runway” judge Michael Kors will pick winners from the crowd for the annual costume contest. Alice Waters, internationally acclaimed chef from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, will receive the “Wind Beneath My Wings” Award from Bette Middler for her pioneering advocacy for locally grown and sustainably harvested food that has become a model for restaurant and home cooking all over the world.

    A special committee of celebrity chefs will honor Waters by making their signature appetizers for the cocktail party, including: April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig and The John Dory); David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar), Tom Colicchio (Craft); Lisa Fernandes (Mai House); Kurt Gutenbrunner (Wallse, Café Sabarsky and Blaue Gann); Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto); and Andrew Zimmern (SuperTarget Meal Adventure Guide and Host of “Bizarre Foods” on The Travel Channel).

    For tickets and information about Hulaween, call (914) 579-1000 or visit www.nyrp.org.

    Comments

    FREEBIES: Free Drinks

    It’s over in San Francisco, but if you live in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia or Seattle, you can still catch a free Campari cocktail as The House of Campari and SWINDLE magazine present “The Art of Cocktailing.” At bars and lounges, the project also presents silkscreens by artist David Weidman, as part of Campari’s century-long commitment to the arts. Campari, a bitter aperitif, was invented in Italy by Gaspare Campari in 1860; the original recipe is still in use today, although many countries have shifted to an artificial red colorant from the original natural carmine cochineal coloring derived from insect shells. The chairman of GruppoCampari is the only person in the world who knows the entire formula for the recipe, which includes quinine and other bitter herbs, rhubarb, spices, ginseng, bergamot oil and orange peel. It is often mixed with soda, and two popular Campari-based cocktails, the Negroni and the Americano, have been emjoyed by historical and fictional figures, including Ernest Hemingway and James Bond.

    Comments

    News: Diet At The Cheesecake Factory

    Our favorite chain restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, has added to its popular Weight Management menu category with the addition of a Weight Management Grilled Chicken, a lightly-pounded chicken breast, charbroiled and topped with a tomato and arugula salad. The plate is garnished with steamed white rice (tell them to hold the rice—too bad they didn’t make it brown rice, since white rice is largely empty calories) and asparagus. The Grilled Chicken entrée is less than 590 total calories, making it the perfect light summer fare. The piece of limited-edition 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake you can have for dessert will easily match those calories. The four-layer anniversary cheesecake combines two layers of Original Cheesecake and two layers of Chocolate Fudge Cake, filled with chocolate cream and finished with crunchy pearls of Valrhona chocolate. Share a piece with two or three friends. The first Cheesecake Factory restaurant opened in Beverly Hills, California in 1978.  
    Cheesecake Factory’s limited-edition
    30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake
    Cheesecake.

    Read more about cheesecake in THE NIBBLE‘s Gourmet Cakes & Cupcakes section.

    Comments

    New Product: Can Chocolate Predict The New President?

    Some people look to the Gallup, Zogby and Harris polls to gauge the presidential preference of the American public. But chocolatier B.T. McElrath is measuring public opinion on a “gut” level: chocolate sales. “Campaign Buttons,” round dark chocolate melt-a-ways that have been selling like—hotcakes?—since early June. They feature cocoa butter images of Democrat or Republican vintage campaign buttons. They’re available at specialty food and gift retailers nationwide, as well as directly available at www.btmcelrath.com. Since August 15, the company has begun issuing weekly postings on the political temperament of the country based on chocolate sales. The current numbers have the Democrats with a slight lead, 51% to 49%. However, this is a poll where you can vote as many times as you like! Five pieces in 60% cacao semisweet chocolate are $10.70.

    Read more about chocolate in THE NIBBLE‘s Chocolate section.


    B.T. McElrath’s democratic chocolate
    buttons.

    Comments

    THIS WEEKEND IN NYC: Coffee & Tea Festival

    Tavalon Tea
    Part of the Tea Of The Month Club offering from TavalonTea.com, an exhibitor at the show.
      If you have a passion for coffee or tea, hopefully you’ll be in New York City this weekend. Then, you can attend the 3rd Annual Coffee & Tea Festival NYC. You can even save $5.00 (half the ticket price) when you buy tickets online (enter code FESTIVAL or NIBBLE). Some of the area’s finest NYC coffee, tea and confectionery companies will be showcasing and sampling their wares to enthusiasts who like the finer things (and yes, you can buy what you like). The 30,000-square-foot exhibit space will be loaded with:
    – Coffee and tea sampling
    – Lectures / Classes
    – Shopping
    – Contests
    – Demonstrations
    – Art
    – Java/Tea Lounge with music &
    entertainment
    If some in your crew don’t like coffee and tea, the area is a shopping mecca, on both the Sixth Avenue (large chains) and Seventh Avenue (boutique) sides. Come join us: THE NIBBLE staff will be there!
    11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 12
    11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 13

    Comments

    Events: Chocolate & Beer Pairing (February 1, NYC & Perhaps In Your ‘Hood)

    Knipschildt Chocolate
    Which beer would you drink with this piece of chocolate (from Knipschildt Chocolatier)? Start pairing beer and chocolate to find out.
      For years, beer and chocolate lovers have traveled beyond the enjoyment of a good chocolate stout, combining malty and chocolaty craft beers with fine chocolates and chocolate desserts (see the recipe for a Chocolate Stout Float—chocolate stout and chocolate ice cream). In his book, The Brewmaster’s Table, Garrett Oliver, brewmaster of the Brooklyn Brewery, describes a luncheon of sommeliers held at the Gramercy Tavern in New York City. The dessert trio included a chocolate-caramel tart, a molten chocolate cake and a malted milkshake. Oliver paired the dessert with two beers: Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout and a Belgian raspberry lambic. No sommeliers could come up with any wine that would pair as well as either of the beers. If you live in New York City, you’ll be able to attend a chocolate and beer pairing on February 1st as Garrett Oliver and chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt chocolatier (read our review of Knipschildt chocolates), pair chocolate and beer.
    If you’re not in the neighborhood, check your local area food calendars: Beer and chocolate are hot stuff, and pairing events are happening all over the country. We’ll be attending the event and reporting back in time for you to plan your own beer and chocolate party for Valentine’s Day.If you can’t wait, where should you begin?
    - Porters and Stouts. These dark beers are made from darkly-roasted barley or highly-toasted malts. With roasted, toasted and some coffee-like flavors, these beers match well with most chocolate desserts. Some are made with chocolate malts, chocolate nibs and/or actual chocolate.

    - Belgian-Style Ales and German-Style Weizens. These beers have big, fruity-spicy beers aromas that complement chocolate. Weizens have subtle spicy flavors including banana and clove; Belgian-style ales have notes of apple, apricot and peach. As you can see in our chocolate flavors and aromas chart, similar tastes appear in fine chocolate, and actual fruits and spices are added to chocolate desserts, making for excellent pairings.

    EVENT DETAILS: February 1 Chocolate & Beer Pairing At Whole Foods Market in NYC, with Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and Fritz Knipschildt, chocolatier and owner of Café Chocopologie, in Norwalk, Connecticut. The event will be held at the Whole Foods Market at 95 East Houston Street (between Bowery and Chrystie Streets), 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. To register, phone 1.866.462.2838, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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