Cochon 555 2019

 

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Cochon 555 is a culinary competition featuring heritage breed pork. The competition is a 10 city tour that stopped in New York City on Sunday April 13th.

It’s a “nose to tail” culinary event with 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 wine makers. The mission of the tour was conceived as a way “to educate buyers about the agricultural importance of eating heritage breed pigs”.

The event was held at the Weylin, a former Williamsburg Savings Bank at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s an architectural gem with a beautiful copula in the center of the room.

As far as food festivals are concerned, this is on of the better ones with good wines, spirits and pork centric dishes from local restaurants.

There were a couple of cheese tables with excellent cheeses paired with various wines. A Sommeliers table that featured a rotating selection of eclectic wines throughout the evening. Spirits made a good showing with a good selection of brown spirits with some white spirits as well. I did have a nice cannoli too.

A butchering competition had a contestant breaking down a whole hog into kitchen ready parts.

 

 

 

Charcuterie Masters 2019

 

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Charcuterie are prepaired meat products such as sausage, terrines, rillettes, confit and patés to name a few made primarily from pork.

On Saturday February 23rd the 4th annual Charcuterie Masters competition was held Flushing Town Hall located at 13735 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens.

The “meat lover’s paradise” had pro and amateur chefs competing for the best charcuterie of the night. It was appropriate that in the Year of the Pig the event was held in Flushing, Queens which has one of the largest Asian communities in New York City.

This was the wrong place to be if you didn’t eat pork since there was copious amount prepared meats on hand from both local and international purveyors.

I could have spent the night in front of the big bowl of chicharrónes, noshing on the crispy, crackly bits of fried pork and pork rind that were like “pork popcorn”.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Casella’s: American prosciutto using exclusively rare breed heritage pigs. They were slicing from two prosciutto made from Berkshire and Red Wattle pigs. Very tasty and happy to see that domestic producers can go head to toe with the Europeans.

Il Porcellino Salumi: A Denver based company, they served several different versions of salami and a Wagu braesola.

Amylos Taverna: Not everything was dried meat, this Astoria restaurant served an excellent roasted suckling pig with lemon potatoes, mint yogurt and lodolemono aioli.

Caseiro e Bom Gourmet House: A meat wholesaler that served several salumi and an iberico ham from the pata negra pig which is always outstanding.

Fermín: A Spanish charcuterie company, they served an excellent iberico ham and a couple of salumi.

Drinking options weren’t extension but they served wines from Rooftop Reds, a Brooklyn based winery using Finger Lakes grapes.

Mikkeller Beers, a Danish beer company brewing beer at Citi Field baseball stadium.

An surprising, Sanfords restaurant poured Macallans 12yr old double cask single malt scotch paired with manchego cheese.

 

 

Cochon 555 New York 2018

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Cochon 555 is a multi-city culinary tour to “further the conversation of heritage pigs on dinner tables across the nation” and whose goal is to “support family farmers and to educate influencers ultimately making them a better, more knowledgeable teacher”.

The 14 city tour kicked off in New York City on January 21 with a “friendly competition for a cause” featuring 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers.

The event was held at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi at 851 6th Avenue in Manhattan and showcased pork centric dishes from local restaurants (and the outlier steak tartare bar) and competitions that involved bartenders, sommeliers and butchers.

Of course to wash all that down were punches, Manhattans from the Manhattan Project and international wines some of which included:

 

2016 Mariotti Campi Rosato

2015 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc

2015 Ronco dei Tassi Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge

2005 Marquis de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva

 

 

Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.

 

CiderFeast Brooklyn 2017

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Cider Week in New York was on October 20-29. It was a week of cider and cider themed events at various venues and restaurants across the city.

CiderFeast was held on Saturday afternoon on October 28th at The Brooklyn Kitchen, “a radical cooking school on a mission to teach people to cook like grown-ups”. It’s located at 100 Frost Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

CiderFeast was hosted by Edible Brooklyn magazine and presented by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s Nº 43 restaurant who has run many food and spirit events.

It was a walk-around tasting of over 20 local and international ciders with a live band providing the music and some really excellent cheeses from Bardwell Farms, an artisan cheese producer from Vermont and from Murray’s cheese shop.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Angry Orchard (NY State). The usual mass-produced cider you get on tap at a bar, they also make small production unique ciders such as the trio that was served here: Understood in Motion 01, EDU and Wooden Sleeper.

Diner Brewing Co. (NY State). This guy brought a tub of bottles with no labels since they were all experimental ciders including one made with Miso. He also brought over some home-grown Sicilian figs.

Descendant Cider Co. (NY State). New York City’s first cider company located in Queens. They poured their limited reserve ciders: Descendant Dry, English Kills and Wilderness.

Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (NY State). Some of their offerings included specialty unfiltered and bottled conditioned ciders such as The Last Blacksmith and Northern Spy.

Barrika (Spain). Basque cider, the guy who was pouring made a show of it by pouring the cider from a glass carafe while holding it high above the drinking glass. He was a hit.

Bembel With Care (Germany). In addition to straight cider they served ciders flavored with cola and cherry (kirsh). The German guy pouring liked to crush the empty cans and soon the table was full of crushed cans.

Black Duck Cidery Woody (NY State). This is their barrel fermented cider.

Others I sampled:

EZ Orchards Roman Beauty Cider (Oregon)

Urban Farm Fermentory wild fermented ciders (Maine).

Austin Eastciders (Texas)

Downeast Cider (Massachusetts)

Farnum Hill Cider Extra Dry (New Hampshire)

Aval (France)

Aspall Dry (England)

Craigies Cider Ballyhook Flyer (Ireland)

 

 

Chefs & Champagne 2017

 

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This past Saturday afternoon, July 29th I attended the James Beard Foundation’s annual Chefs & Champagne Summer tasting party held at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack, just east of the town of Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island.

The event raises funds for the philanthropic work of the foundation and this years honoree was Chef, author and philanthropist, Marcus Samuelsson.

There were 40+ Chefs serving tastings of their signature dishes to be washed down with wine and cider from Wölffer Estate, beer from Ommegang Brewery and cocktails from Tito’s vodka. This year the free-flowing Champagne was provided by Barons de Rothchild which poured their Brut and Rosé.

The weather looked liked it might be a factor this year with dark clouds looming on the horizon in the morning but the day turned into a gorgeous, comfortable afternoon, unlike the sweltering sauna-like conditions of last year.

 

Some of the bites I sampled:

Greg Baxtrom  Olmstead: Radish Top Gazpacho

Matt Abdoo  Pig Beach: Deviled Eggs with Country Ham Salad

Jefferey McInnis/Janine Booth  Root & Bone: Shrimp and Grits with Melted Tomato, Charred Corn, Pickled Onions and Bacon-Beer Jus

Domicic Rice Calissa:  Montauk Fluke Crudo with Watermelon Finger Limes, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Radishes, Sesame Seeds, Olives and Basil

Galen Zamarra  Mas Farmhouse: Trout Piscator

Daniel Skurnick  Le CouCou: Le Crêment d’ Anjou with Local Goat Cheese and Summer Berries

Stephen Bogardus  The North Fork Table and Inn: Chilled Sweet Corn Mousseline with Fermented Berries

Graeme Cockburn  Windstar Cruise: Seared Oak-Smoked Salmon

P.J. Calupa  The Spainard: Lobster Filane Toasts with Charred Corn, Crème Fraiche and Tarragon

Britt-Marie Culey  Coquette Pattisserie: Smoked Ohio Peaches-Elderflower Crémeux with Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Aspic

Andy D’Amico  Nice Martin: Moroccan Shrimp Burger

Brian Cheewing  Wölffer Kitchen: Montauk Tuna Tacos with Avocado Puree and Pineapple Salsa

Oliver Lange  Zume: Wagyu Beef Tartare with Saikyo Miso Bun and Australian Winter Truffle 

Marcus Samuelsson  Red Rooster: Jerk Pork Belly with Stone Fruit, Pickled Cabbage and Cornbread Crisp

Bryan Hunt  Fowler & Wells: Hamachi with Celery and Sea Urchin Lemon Posset with  Blueberries and Cornmeal Cake

 

 

Speedrack NYC Finals Season 6

 

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Speedrack is a speed-bartending competition for women.  There are eight regional competitions held in Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Boston with the finale held here in New York City. The winner would be crowned Miss Speedrack of 2017. The competition have the bartenders making specialty cocktails very quickly, to be judged by a panel of cocktail experts not only for speed but for deliciousness of the final product. Proceeds from the event go to breast cancer research,  education and prevention.

The finale took place May 21st at the Weylin event space located at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The event space, which is across the street from the iconic steakhouse Peter Luger, is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank. Built in 1875 back in the day when banks were built to impress with its cathedral-like frescoed dome, mosaics and wooden carvings, is an impressive venue for an event.

As befitting a cocktail competition, there were many cocktail stations scattered around the room with bartenders mixing specialty drinks using high end spirits and liquors.

The final pitted bartender Elyse Blechman from Texas against bartender Mony Bunni from Chicago. Ms Bunni won.

Some of the cocktails I sampled:

 

Negroni: The classic, 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari

Bust-Ed Punch: Jameson Black Barrel, lemon juice, pineapple juice, Monin cinnamon syrup, Lustau Manzanilla sherry.

Count of Mount Kisco: Averell Damson gin, Salers Gentian aperitif and Dolin Dry vermouth de Chambery.

“Haus” Negroni: Royal Dock navy strength gin, Cappelletti aperitivo and Cocchi vermouth di Torino.

The Hot Whisper: Singani 63, lime juice, jalepeno juice, cucumber juice and Perrier.

Moonwalk: Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, grapefruit juice, rose water and Champagne.

Pisco Paloma Punch: Olmeca Altos Reposado, grapefruit juice, lime, ancho reyes, GH Mumm Champagne.

“The Independent Ginger” Punch: The perfect puree ginger sour, the perfect puree blood orange, ruby red grapefruit juice and lime flavored seltzer.