The Montclair Food & Wine Festival Speakeasy

The Montclair Food & Wine Festival Speakeasy

SpeakeasyMontclair Food & Wine Festival and Amanti Vino present The Speakeasy – a clandestine affair set in the grandeur of THE WELLMONT THEATER on Saturday January 28.

Reminiscent of the Prohibition Era, the evening will intertwine illicit libations coordinated by Amanti Vino, fine culinary bites from over twenty area restaurants, and the sultry sound of Trent Armand Kendall + Brass Illusion. 

There are two types of tickets available for the evening:

THE VIP EXPERIENCE – 1 HOUR EARLY ENTRY * HI-END WINE TASTING from 6:30 PM – 10 PM. $187/person.

GENERAL ADMISSION – ALL YOU CAN EAT & DRINK ALL NIGHT LONG! 7:30 PM – 10 PM. $97/person.

For more info or to buy tickets, visit: http://montclairfoodandwinefestival.org/the-speakeasy/

This charity tasting event benefits Intensive Therapeutics and Montclair Digs.

List of participating restaurants:

Speakeasy Restos

Cheers,

Veronique

Italian Beer Dinner at Escape Montclair

Italian Beer Dinner at Escape Montclair

On Wednesday night, I attended an Italian beer dinner at Escape Montclair that was the first in a series of beer dinners to be held at the popular farm-to-table restaurant.

Chef Bryan Gregg partnered with Amanti Vino for this exclusive dining experience featuring the award-winning beers of Italy’s Birrificio Maeilla, Birrificio Rurale and Retorto Birrificio Artigianale.

While I consider myself somewhat well-versed when it comes to beers, I’d never sampled these fab brews prior to the dinner. The small-batch beers are crafted in Italy using unconventional methods and ingredients….the results – incredible flavors and food-friendliness.

These were the food and beer pairing:

First Course

Marinated fluke, citrus, garlic scapes

Paired with Rurale Scarliga

Second Course

Shellfish, giardiniera, chilies

Paired with Birrificio Maiella

Third Course

Duck “coppa style” puffed barley, broccoli blossoms

Paired with Retorto Morning Glory

Fourth Course

Lamb roast, orange peel, gnocchi

Paired with Maiella Matthias

Dessert Course

Raw cow’s milk “pot cheese” honeycomb, chestnuts cookies

Paired with Rurale Oasi

The tanginess of the marinated garlic scapes was a perfect match to the ultra-fresh fluke and kicked the evening on a very positive note. The shellfish and house-made picked vegetable “salad” was likely my favorite dish of the evening – rich yet balanced beautifully by the zip of the veggies and the bit of heat from the chilies. The duck was cooked properly with the fat rendered, skin crispy and the flesh juicy and tender. The lamb was fork-tender and served with pillowy orange-scented gnocchi. The dessert was the perfect ending to that great meal with ingredients not too sweet – chestnut “cookies/crackers” paired with light-as-a-feather cheese and not cloyingly-sweet honey – a super pairing with the slightly malty beer laced with honey notes. I’ll be reviewing the beers in a future post.

The beers we enjoyed by Birrificio Maeilla, Birrificio Rurale and Retorto Birrificio Artigianale are available for sale at Amanti Vino.

Something new that Escape is also doing is offering discounts to New Jersey Craft Beer Club members – 25% off on Mondays and 10% off any other day (excluding prix fixe dinners).

I’m already looking forward to the next beer dinner at Escape and hope the pairings are as wonderful as the ones we were presented with.

Cheers,

Veronique

Montclair Food & Wine Festival Gala Dinner Recap

Montclair Food & Wine Festival Gala Dinner Recap

TablesettingLast night, I was invited to attend the Montclair Food & Wine Festival Gala Dinner at The Manor in West Orange. The Gala Dinner is an exclusive night of collaborative culinary magic showcasing a six-course dinner designed and prepared by some of the area’s most talented chefs.

A fun part of the event this year was the new Amuse Bouche Series that each guest was treated to from four of the most creative chefs in the area. From the Caesar Salad Ice Cream by Chef Zod Arifai (Blu & Next Door) to Chef Meny Vaknin’s salmon on beet focaccia to Chef Francesco Palmieri (The Orange Squirrel) serving an outrageously-tasty smoked corn and goat cheese panna cotta with pickled asparagus and popcorn shoot stem, smoked sea salt and popcorn petal served in a river stone to Chef Thomas Ciszak (Blue Morel & Chakra) offering a perfect bite of foie gras in a puff pastry with quince and black truffle-Balsamic glaze – the amuses set the tone for the meal to come.

 

The rest of the meal went as follow:

Chef Ariane Duarte (Ariane Kitchen & Bar) started off the meal with her Perfectly Poached Shrimp, Toasted Garlic Lemon Aioli, Avocado Corn Salad. In her words “elevated shrimp cocktail”. I could have used a whole bowl of the avocado corn salad – fresh and tasty.

Chef Ryan DePersio (Fascino) had the fish course and served Pancetta-Wrapped Bronzini, Filled with Tomato Confit, Crispy Couscous, Asparagus Salsa Verde. Bronzino is likely my favorite fish, so the dish was right up my alley. The crispy couscous – clever, very clever.

Chef Mitchell Altholz (Highlawn Pavilion) served what the folks at my table and some guests I spoke with called the dish of the evening – Spring Lamb Ravioli, Merguez Jus, Fresh Mint, Brunoise of Heirloom Carrots. Great lamb flavor, bright punch of mint – a winner.

Chef Kevin Sippel (Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen) had the meat dish and served Veal Cheeks, Bone Marrow Gremolata, Fava Beans, Pecorino. The veal cheeks were melt-in-your-mouth.

Chef Michael Carrino (Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastrolounge) ended the meal with an elegant dessert of Lemon Sponge Cake, Goat Cheese Mousse, Lemon Meringue, Cucumber, Melon, Herb Flowers.

Wine pairings were expertly-selected by Sharon Sevrens of Amanti Vino. Here were the wines served (available for sale at Amanti Vino):

  • Gobelsburger Rosé 2014 – one of my favorites for summer – dry, light strawberry flavors, served with the amuses.
  • Patrick Piuze – Chablis Terroir de Courgis 2014 – simply gorgeous wine we were told would be a very sought-after name in Chablis in a few years.
  • Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Mont 2007 – loved this demi-sec wine but was my least favorite pairing with the light bronzini.
  • Graci – Etna Rosso 2012 – a natural match to the flavorful lamb ravioli.
  • Tenuta di Trinoro le Cupole 2010 – tart with lovely acidity to cut through the richness of the veal cheeks and marrow.

Dessert was paired with an ultra-refreshing rum cocktail by Busted Barrel Rum.

For those of you who missed the Gala Dinner, you’re in luck as the Montclair Food & Wine Festival goes into next weekend with two must-attend events held at the Montclair Art Museum (3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair):

Bourbon & Biergarten – Friday June 12, 7PM – 9PM.

The fun event will feature food samplings from over 25 local restaurants and food artisans. Each attendee will receive a commemorative sampling glass. Beers and bourbons curated by Amanti Vino. A portion of the proceeds from this evening will go to support education and exhibition programs at Montclair Art Museum.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants at the Bourbon & Biergarten.

Grand Tasting – Saturday June 13, 7PM – 9PM.  

At the Grand Tasting, guests will enjoy an evening of diverse culinary offerings from many of the state’s finest restaurants.

Click here for a list of all the restaurants participating in the Grand Tasting.

Plus, Amanti Vino has an incredible list of wines being poured. For my fellow wine aficionados, here’s the list of wines for this event.

Want an exclusive experience? The VIP ($135) hour, hosted in Lehman Court of the Montclair Art Museum, from 6PM – 7PM, will feature select restauranteurs and curated wines, as well as galleries open for viewing.

VIP Lounge Participants: Escape Montclair, Fresco da Franco, Restaurant Latour, Samba Montclair.

While the events are fun and tasty, the goal of the festival is to raise funds for three very worthy charities. Click here to learn about them.

Hope you’re able to join the rest of the festivities!

Cheers,

Veronique

Montclair Food & Wine Festival Gala Dinner 2015

MFWF LogoThe Montclair Food & Wine Festival will be back in 2015 with new events, educational seminars and fun for all.

Monday, June 8, 2015 from 6PM to 9:30PM – THE GALA DINNER at The Manor (111 Prospect Avenue, West Orange, NJ).

The Gala Dinner is an exclusive night of collaborative culinary magic! The six course dinner will be designed and prepared by some of the area’s most talented chefs:

  • Chef Mitchell Altholz, Highlawn Pavilion
  • Chef Michael Carrino, Pig & Prince
  • Chef Ryan DePersio, Fascino, Battello, Nico
  • Chef Ariane Duarte, Ariane Kitchen & Bar
  • Chef Kevin Sippel, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen

NEW for 2015 – Special Amuse Bouche Series

Guests at this year’s gala dinner will be treated to amuse bouche by the following chefs:

  • Chef Francesco Palmieri, The Orange Squirrel
  • Chef Zod Arifai, Blu & Next Door
  • Chef Thomas Ciszak, Blue Morel & Chakra
  • Chef Meny Vaknin, Mish Mish

To learn more about the chefs – CLICK HERE.

Wines paired by Sharon Sevrens, proprietor of Montclair’s Amanti Vino.

CLICK HERE for additional information, for pricing and to buy tickets to the gala dinner.

Cheers,

Veronique

Domaine Vincent Latour Dinner at Escape

Domaine Vincent Latour Dinner at Escape

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Domaine Vincent Latour dinner at Escape in Montclair. In the Escape kitchen, Chef Bryan Gregg and his team assembled a five-course menu that paired beautifully with the fabulous white Burgundy wines of Domaine Vincent Latour as hand-picked by Sharon Sevrens of Montclair’s Amanti Vino.

Here’s the menu and the wines we enjoyed:

Reception wine: Parigot Cremant de Bourgogne

First Course: Oyster, smoked rice milk, seaweed powder. Paired with 2012 Domaine Vincent Latour Bourgogne Blanc

Second Course: Scallops, asparagus, creamed morels. Paired with 2012 Domaine Vincent Latour Meursault Cuvée St Jean

Third Course: Pheasant terrine, apple, warm pheasant juice. Paired with 2012 Domaine Vincent Latour St Aubin Cuvée Thomas

Fourth Course: Halibut, lardo, early peas, spring onion. Paired with 2012 Domaine Vincent Latour Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres

Dessert: Rhubarb cake, sweet yogurt, honey pollen

I’ll review the wines in an upcoming post, but they were wonderful and hearing, in French, from winemaker Vincent Latour about the complexity of the vintages we tasted and the inside story on them was delightful (yes, there was a translator for my fellow diners who aren’t francophone).

Escape and Amanti Vino partner on wine dinners periodically, so to stay abreast of future events, follow Escape on Facebook or keep an eye out for future events on the Escape website events page.

Cheers,

Veronique

Montclair Food & Wine Festival 2015

Montclair Food & Wine Festival 2015

LogoThe Montclair Food & Wine Festival will be back in 2015 with new events, educational seminars and fun for all.

Monday, June 8, 2015 – THE GALA DINNER at The Manor

An exclusive evening of collaborative culinary wizardry!

A six course custom dining experience, designed and prepared by:

  • Chef Mitchell Altholz, Highlawn Pavilion
  • Chef Michael Carrino, Pig & Prince
  • Chef Ryan DePersio, Fascino, Battello, Nico
  • Chef Ariane Duarte, CulinAriane
  • Chef Francesco Palmieri, The Orange Squirrel
  • Kevin Sippel, Jockey Hollow Kitchen & Bar

To learn more about the chefs – CLICK HERE.

Wines paired by Sharon Sevrens, proprietor of Montclair’s Amanti Vino

CLICK HERE for additional information, for pricing and to buy tickets to the gala dinner.

Friday, June 12, 2015 – NEW – Bourbon & Biergarten at the Montclair Art Museum

Join the Montclair Food & Wine Festival’s first ever Bourbon & Biergarten!

A casual evening filled with the finest bourbons and craftiest brews, the Bourbon & Biergarten will feature food samplings from over 25 local restaurants and food artisans.

Each attendee will receive a commemorative sampling stein. 

Beers and bourbons curated by Amanti Vino.

PARTICIPANTS (check back for an updated list)

Montclair Bread Company

Escape Montclair

CLICK HERE for additional information, for pricing and to buy tickets to Bourbon & Biergarten.

Saturday June 13, 2015 – THE GRAND TASTING at the Montclair Art Museum

Gala Dinner by Christina Nuzzo | LifeMosaic Photography

Gala Dinner by Christina Nuzzo | LifeMosaic Photography

Enjoy an evening of diverse culinary offerings from many of the state’s finest restaurants and purveyors!

Amanti Vino will be presenting wines and spirits from around the world.

DETAILS ON PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS COMING SOON!

Want an exclusive experience? 

The VIP Grand Tasting Ticket ($135) gets you into the Museum at 6 pm (LIMITED).  Sip your favorite wines and spirits, and nibble on diverse, exquisite fare one hour before the crowd arrives. 

CLICK HERE for additional information, for pricing and to buy tickets to the Grand Tasting.

To stay abreast of all things Montclair Food & Wine Festival, visit:  http://montclairfoodandwinefestival.org/

About the Montclair Food & Wine Festival

The Montclair Food & Wine Festival, Inc. was incorporated in September 2011 by of a unique group of community volunteers, local chefs, restaurateurs, and industry professionals. As food and wine enthusiasts, our Board of Trustees has designed a two-day event that will recognize, celebrate and share the culinary wealth and diversity of Montclair, while pursuing charitable and educational purposes.

Cheers,

Veronique

New Website for Amanti Vino

New Website for Amanti Vino

amanti+vino+squareI got an email this morning urging me to check out the new Amanti Vino website. While visiting the shop is always fun and dreamy, the new website is beyond user-friendly with informative tasting notes on every wine and an eclectic, not boring selection at every price point.

Amanti Vino was ranked among the “10 Best Online Wine Shops” by Food and Wine Magazine in 2014.

BONUS! Once you test drive the new website, you’ll, of course, want to order wine. The good news – get a 10% discount on 6-11 bottles with promo code NEWWEBSITE10% and a 15% discount off 12 + bottles with promo code NEWWEBSITE15% (LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER).

Also, when you sign up on the Amanti Vino website, you can:

  • Order Effortlessly: from home or mobile
  • Enrich Your Senses: tasting notes and food pairing tips
  • Hear it First: classes, events + pre-sales
  • Get it Free: free local delivery with minimum purchase
  • Re-order Seamlessly: buy favorites with just a few clicks

I got my case already, go check Amanti Vino out!

Cheers,

Veronique 

Montclair Food & Wine Festival 2014 Special Offer

Montclair Food & Wine Festival 2014 Special Offer

MFWF LogoThe Montclair Food & Wine Festival will be back in 2014 with new venues, educational seminars and fun for all.

Saturday May 31, 2014 – THE GRAND TASTING at the Montclair Art Museum

Enjoy an evening of diverse culinary offerings from many of the state’s finest restaurants and purveyors!

Both floors of the Montclair Art Museum, including the galleries, will be open for viewing!

Wines Presented by: Gary’s Wine & Marketplace

Sunday, June 1, 2014 – SEMINAR SERIES at The Commonwealth Club

Details to Follow

Monday, June 2, 2014 – THE GALA DINNER at The Manor

An exclusive evening of collaborative culinary wizardry!

A six course custom dining experience, designed and prepared by

  • Chef Mitchell Altholz, Highlawn Pavilion
  • Chef Michael Carrino, Pig & Prince Restaurant & Gastrolounge
  • Chef Ryan DePersio, Fascino, NICO Kitchen + Bar
  • Chef Ariane Duarte, CulinAriane
  • Chef Francesco Palmieri, Orange Squirrel

And a guest chef to be announced! 

Wines paired by Sharon Sevrens, proprietor of Montclair’s Amanti Vino

SPECIAL OFFER: Use promo code: foodcapital

  • 20% OFF Grand Tasting general admission (7pm – 9pm) or VIP admission (6pm – 9pm)
  • 20% OFF Gala Dinner general admission.

The offer will remain live from 11:30am November 21, 2013, through 11:30pm on December 31, 2013.

Complete details at: http://montclairfoodandwinefestival.org