The fifth annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival, which ended its four-day festivities Sunday night, was chocked full of culinary events. There were wine and spirits seminars; food demonstrations by celebrated chefs and food and spirits authorities; chef-hosted dining experiences, and the signature Grand Market, a tasting village of foods, wines, spirits and craft brews. The festival was presented and hosted by Caesars Entertainment’s four resort and casino properties – Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s and Showboat.
Spearheading the star-studded roster of chefs were TV and culinary notables: Robert Irvine, Rocco DiSpirito, The Neelys, and sommelier and wine expert Laurie Forster. The non-stop culinary crusade kicked off last Thursday night poolside at Harrah’s and ended Sunday night with an island luau hosted by Pat and Gina Neely with their take on some favorite Hawaiian fare.
Some of the highlights this weekend were: the ever-popular Blues, Brews and BBQ at Showboat’s House of Blues featuring craft beers and live blues bands; Chefs in the Kitchen – Robert Irvine, Rocco DiSpirito and The Neelys; Laurie Forster Wine Seminars – 101 about the basics of tasting wines and The Killer B’s of Italy, Barolo and Brunello, a tasting for the more experienced wine palate. Laurie also hosted a seminar, Rock of Ages: Cocktails Through the Decades, from the ‘50s and Manhattans to the ‘00s and the Negroni. Forster brought fun trivia details to each decade and what it popularized. In the ‘50s it was the invention of Velcro, the Betty Crocker cookbook and casseroles; in the ‘90s it was hip hop, the TV show “Friends” and the arrival of world wide web.
At the Grand Market, a huge tasting event that occurred four times over three days, several new products were introduced. Some top picks were: The Hangover Pretzel, from sweet to hot and spicy; Subararashii Kudamono Gourmet Asian Pears, dried pears to sweet dessert pear wine; Paul Goerg Champagne, recently introduced in the U.S., and Wines for Dummies, not the book, but the real deal – Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti DOCG and Pinot Grigio IGT (in Italy the letters designate the origin), and Absolut Cilantro, a slightly tangy herbaceous and flavorful vodka.
Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City has partnered with Architecture for Humanity’s ‘Restore the Shore’ Fund exclusively for the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival. Caesars will donate $1 for every ticket sold during the four-day event with all proceeds going directly to the ‘Restore the Shore’ Fund. Accolades go to all of Caesars culinary, marketing and resort staff for executing an enormous event that was produced to perfection. With more than 20,000 attendees over the four days, Caesars contribution to ‘Restore the Shore’ Fund should be significant.
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