Hudson Valley Wine and Food Fest Recap

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Glasses were raised, bottles poured, growlers were filled, and hunger was quenched at Hudson Valley’s 17th Annual Wine and Food Festival in Rhinebeck, NY.  Hosted on the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, thirsty crowds flocked to booths representing the best wine Hudson Valley has to offer. Featured rave-worthy vineyards include  Don Tony Perez, (Yonkers, NY), with its silky Petite Verdot, and Baldwin Vineyards’, (Pine Bush, NY), award-winning Strawberry Wine along with their unique hops-touting Autumn Crush, made with apples, pumpkin and hops.

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The chic Tousey Winery, (Germantown, NY), definitely made a statement with its modern museum designed booth staring its beautiful, white dessert wine, Bloomé.

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Mead, spirits and traditionally made ciders rounded out the delicious weekend libations. Mysto Mead, (Carmel, NY), a honey-based wine producer, showcased its wide variety of mead including the impressive, Silver Medalist: Basil Mint.

Many New York State distilleries showcased luscious, traditional and creative selections. Harvest  Spirits Farm Distillery (Valatie, NY) fans tasted clean, flavorful swills like the John Henry Single Malt Whiskey, Core Black Raspberry Vodka, and Cornelius Peach Brandy.

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Harvest  Spirits Farm Distillery seletions

Another rad distillery in attendance was Olde Farm Distillery based in Hudson, New York. Female owned and operated, this distillery uses seasonal ingredients to make gems such as Cacao Maple Vodka, Smoked Maple Bourbon, and seasonal spirits.

New York Cideries had a great presence at the festival. Specializing in traditional craftsman and taste techniques, Pitchfork Cider in Hopewell, NY offered its fresh pressed, gluten-free cider.

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Another popular cidery was Awestruck Hard Cider (Sidney, NY) which use 100% New York State apples in its thoughtfully crafted and named selections like Hometown Homicider, and the pleasant Lavender Hops.IMG_8610

The day also included cooking demos by local chefs, food artisans with homemade condiments, and alluring food trucks serving local grilled sweet corn, Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian food, gyros, pulled pork nachos, and so much more!

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Time to taste, network, and learn at Bevcon 2018

bevcon-2016-day1-mrodriguez-082116-l-98.jpgIn just a few days, LaLa Land will have a beverage takeover like no other as the 3rd Annual BevCon comes to town. From August 19th until 21st beverage industry only convention is making its debut in Los Angeles but was birthed in Charleston, South Carolina by Angel Postell in and her dynamic team in 2016. Bevcon is an enlightening, three-day, networking event for everyone in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic tipple industry, filled with educational seminars presented by the best in the business, both domestic and globally. Angel took a few moments to share her thoughts on all things beverage, trends, and the exciting plans for BevCon 2018.

CannyCandi: What are your insights/ opinions in today’s current beverage culture?

Angel Postell: I think it’s really exciting. The chef side of things has gotten a lot of attention and support over the last several years. Beverages are really coming out on their own. There are communities [of people] dedicating themselves to beverages a lot more, and placing more emphasis on the imbibing culture in general. Also, people are enjoying drinks and becoming more thoughtful about what they drink instead of just ‘drinking’ to drink. They are asking questions i.e. “Where’s this wine is from?” and then getting excited about the educational aspect of their drink.

CC: Do you think anything is lacking in the beverage culture?

AP: Not exactly lacking, but I was recently reading something about emerging countries developing beverage products. This is exciting because it shows that you don’t have to be in a certain area to grow grapes to make wine. Plus, brewing has become such a big thing, same for distilling, and there’s such a big interest in mezcal. I think the next horizon is bringing this beverage movement global and exposing interesting techniques and practices all over the world.

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CC: Where do you see the culture going?

AP: I’m very excited about what’s done in Paris, Amsterdam, and Mexico regarding the different techniques used there. It’s cool! Those beverage professionals have different styles and preparations. We are just as advanced in America as they are, but we just do the same things in a different way. Also, there’s a huge interest in popups. I think that the culture today is interested in what’s new and the use of social media urges bars to be creative with concepts and approaches. Constantly changing menus and keeping things new, will become more normal. And yet, there will still be places where ‘the classics’ will always be available. So, there will be a good mix of the [classics and modern concepts].

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CC: BevCon seems like an ideal platform for smaller producers to share their product line. Was that one of your original intentions?

AP: Yes. My team was working with small craft producers who didn’t have the money or resources to do the bigger events. They wanted their products out there for people to try. So, I saw a void to fill. One of the main core elements of BevCon is to give artisanal craft producers the space to showcase themselves in a meaningful way, without spending a lot of money. We wanted to provide a space to connecting small brands to industry professionals who can help get the smaller brand products on the markets or get the product in establishments. Also, we work with midsize and larger producers who are showing their limited reserve products. They have an equal voice [at Bevcon, also,] without overpowering the smaller producers. As a result, we have seen the smaller ones receive great media exposure [through the event] which has taken them to a whole new level!

CC: Are there any learning sessions you are looking forward to attending?

AP: This year we’re offering One-Day master classes, for the first time which provides attendees a chance to really get the knowledge on how to achieve industry and business goals and education on specific trends. This is much better than bouncing around to different classes since attendees can stick with one specific track. I’ll attend the class on how to successfully open a bar, (we have great people teaching that), and I, personally, want to open a bar. We have one on the influence of Hip Hop on the wine and spirits industry. That’s going to be really cool. The Hip Hop culture is influential in so many ways and I love that it has such a presence in the beverage world.

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CC: Why was Los Angeles, California (L.A.) chosen as the host location for this year and next?

AP: It was almost surreal as to how we chose L.A. We always wanted to move the event to different cites, but I was invited to L.A. which was my first time there.  And I just fell in love with the city! It’s such a cool community with lots of energy, excitement, and diversity.  The beverage scene has definitely blossomed there. Hospitality is so genuine in all the neighborhoods with great vibes. L.A. is more accessible than Charleston is, so more international guests have been very receptive to participating this year.  I’m so pumped to be there and everyone has been very open and interested in hosting this year.

CC: I love the idea of pop-up bars all around the area. Is this a new idea for this year?

AP: We had popups in Charleston, but it’s more focused this year. Each night will feature three locations with guest bartenders making drinks paired with a special menu.  These popups will be the only activity open to the public. It’s great for social media because people can actually meet the bartenders and post all the excitement instantly. Guests can hop around since there’s no cost to attend. Just visit and order off the provided menu. Bar venues range rooftops, to speakeasies, and natural wine bars spanning Downtown, Koreatown, and Hollywood. I’m really looking forward to these because some of the best cocktails I have consumed have been at the BevCon popups.

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CC: What else do you envision for the future of BevCon?

AP: BevCon started out as a hobby of mine. My teams and I foresee it as a year-round experience by doing more programming around the country, such as a one-day mini BevCon experience, geared toward a city’s local community. This would work well for key market’s looking for more educational opportunities and exposure. Would be great to capture or record the live sessions and follow up with teleseminars throughout the year, too. And definitely, in a couple years, host an international BevCon. People will never stop eating and drinking, and the industry will always continue to grow globally.  


 

 

Llama Inn: Not Your Average Barrio Bar

llama-innA truly international and rustic cuisine, Peruvian food deserves more acclaim than it receives. Serving up a melting pot of cultural influences including Spanish, African and Incan, yield iconic dishes like ceviche and Escabache de Pescado (fried fish with onion sauce). Peruvian dishes often have bold, complex and vibrant flavor, incorporating ingredients like aji chili and sweet lucuma (a native fruit).

Flavors such as these are proudly served at Brooklyn’s Llama Inn. Don’t let its hipster vibe fool you – the ‘Llama Drama’ (referring to the buzzing atmosphere) is serious about delicious authentic eats, reflecting Chef Erik Ramirez’ favorite nostalgic meals. Chef Ramirez and his staff have done a wonderful job turning a social haven into a full-scale, epicurean, must-visit. One of the stand-out dishes is the Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry. This visually stunning dish matches its aesthetics in taste as it is a beautiful mountain of sliced tenderloin topped with red onion, rocoto (hot chili pepper)  and French fries served with a side of avocado and scallion pancakes. The succulent beef is bathed in a luscious soy sauce, perfect for dipping fries or drizzled on a pancake burrito.

It’s difficult to go wrong at the Inn with so many exceptional selections including the refined octopus or spicy pork belly anticuchos (skewered meat). Whether a novice to Peru’s succulent fare or a native, Llama Inn is an unforgettable experience transporting diners’ taste buds to the motherland itself.
Hungry for more? Click here to watch the ‘Llama Drama’ in action on POUR featuring Llama Inn’s iconic Flying Purple Pisco cocktail.

Llama Inn

50 Withers Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211

718-387-3434

Tidbits:

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 3:30 pm

Rooftop bar and dining space

The County Cork Wine Pub Review

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Dinning in a small town doesn’t mean a dull dining experience. Such is the case when it comes to The County Cork Wine Pub. Nestled in a modest area of Eldersburg, (a suburb of Baltimore) this chic family owned wine bar has truly made its mark with locals. With an impressive selection of wines ranging from sparkling to the favored J. Lohr Chardonnay, delicious ports, and flirty rosés, this pub is well stocked for a great time. And let’s not forget vino from around the world like the Austrian Grooner Grüner Veltliner (a white wine with citrus and green apple notes) and the Argentine Alamos Melbec (a full bodied red with dark cherry flavors) is on hand – no passport necessary. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to choose; you can sample up to three wines for $10. No too shabby! The cocktails are great to boot, too!

There are so many great reasons to come visit with friends or to end a work day. On Tuesdays bottles of wine are half price and Wednesdays are free apps! My favorite appetizer is the bountiful Crab and Brie fondue- a cheesy pool of fresh, lump crab meat adorned with diced tomato and scallions. You can’t go wrong with the Shaved Lamb French Dip with swiss and caramelized onions along with a velvety au jus. Or even the glorious Grilled Eggplant Flatbread decorated with tomato, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

The County Cork Pub has so much to offer; it’s not just another wine bar. The Cork’s library of wine, specialty cocktails, and craft beer paired with no-nonsense dishes provides a top shelf experience for guests. Throw in its superb service, warm atmosphere and affordable prices, there’s no wonder why this pub is an up-and-coming neighborhood favorite.

Location: 1716 Liberty Road, Eldersburg, MD

Tid- bits:
OpenTable Diner’s Choice 2014 Winner, Happy Hours, Monthly Wine Events, and fantastic weekly specials
Hours: Tue- Sat 11am -1 am
Sunday brunch: 10am -3pm
Closed Mondays

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