This past weekend Napa had the best of the best under on roof - literally! The Taste of Napa took place in Napa Valley, California on July 17th from 11am to 2:30 pm.
The event catered to many as guests were able to 'taste' incomparable gourmet food from various artisan food producers, craft brews, as well as wines. This was a great event for locals as well as newbies to beautiful wine country and enabled all in attendance a 'taste' of Napa.
In addition to sampling tasty bites and delicious top-tier wines guests were able to watch top chefs from Napa and San Francisco battle it out in the "Town & Country Cookoff". "The Town & Country Cookoff" will be emceed by Spencer Christian of KGO-TV and featured Chefs Mark Dommen - One Market, Esteban Escobar - Town Hall, Lucas Knox - Burritt Room + Tavern from San Francisco versus Napa Valley's own Chef Chad Hendrickson - Hess Winery, Nick Ritchie - Atlas Social and April Cordsen - Morimoto Napa competing in an Appetizer, Main Course and Dessert culinary clash.
During the 20-minute cook off contenders were allowed to only use 10 ingredients, including one mystery ingredient. Judging the cook off were culinary author and Emmy Award winner Susie Heller, Top Chef Tiffany Derry, and San Francisco Chronicle's Kitty Morgan. Together they will provide a cumulative score to determine the winning team.
The point system was: 10 points for taste, 5 points for presentation/plating, and 5 points for originality using the mystery ingredient. Competing during the dessert portion of the competition were April Cordsen and Lucas Knox. With the mystery ingredient being 'whiskey smoked brown sugar', Cordsen gave her spin of a lemon meringue pie with a sweet iced tea while Knox created a blueberry compo.
"Summertime is really hot around here, (this is) delicious, light and fresh," explained April. "(I) thought it'd be a nice thing to bring to the table. This is not on the menu (it's) just something that I pulled together." While Knox described that his dish will have a 'little salty and blueberry flavor with a nice coating'.
For this round April Cordsen took the win as her dish was described as 'beautiful' as the judges gushed about the presentation of the overall finished product.
Throughout the event guests were treated to a fun live interactive performance by Morris Legrand. Getting the crowd together LeGrand put on a electrifying performance which he played within the crowd and even got everyone up and dancing, by the end of the event the crowd was jammin around in a conga line!
"I had most fun listening to the music and people enjoying themselves," exclaimed fellow Taste of Napa attendee, Luajuana LeGrand." (The event) was all I expected and more. It exceeded my expectations and is wonderful."
More than 50 wineries and 30 restaurants and food artisans came together to offer gourmet samplings including the very best. Among the many distinguished wineries participating were: Acacia Vineyard, Bouchaine Vineyards, Etude Wines, HALL Wines, Silver Oak Cellars and St. Supéry Vineyards and Winery. Culinary purveyors include: Kollar Chocolates, Skyhill Farms, Brown Dog Mustard Co., Calistoga Olive Oil Co., Cate & Co. Bake Shop, Kara's Cupcakes, Angèle Restaurant & Bar, Atlas Social Club, Carpe Diem, City Winery, Compadres Rio Grille, Evangeline, The Farmer & The Fox, Harvest Table by Charlie Palmer, Heritage Eats, Kollar Chocolates, and many more.
A personal favorite of mine was gourmet fast food restaurant, Heritage Eats. Sampling the Banh Mi Dutch Crunch which consists of: Grilled lemongrass port on dutch crunch roll with Asian pickle, garden greens, creamy cilantro and boom sauce. Heritage Eats created a great experience for each and every guest as each guest had to profess their want to go to 'boom town'!
The Reserve Lounge offers an unprecedented list of fine wines for the connoisseur-at-heart from such exclusive labels such as: Quintessa, Caymus, Cardinale, Darioush, Blackbird and more. Executive Chefs Scott Pikey of Mayacama and Britny Sundin of Signorello Estate will provide a meticulously designed bounty of delectables that pair perfectly with these sought-after wines.
Thanks to the presenting sponsor for Taste Napa, Union Bank, and Eurostampa for being the Main Tasting Floor sponsor and Mayacama for being the Reserve Tasting sponsor.
Blending art and music with unprecedented food and wine the Taste of Napa is an experience that truly encompasses the best of Napa! Passes for Taste of Napa are $75 per person. Tickets for the Reserve Lounge that also include full access to the full event are available for $139 per person. For more information or to purchase passes, visit www.tasteofnapa.org or phone the box office at 888.337.6272.