Thursday, April 10, 2008

'Experience' wining and dining in NOLA

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience marks its 17th year with a five-day extravaganza, May 20- 25.

The 2008 event brings together world-renowned winemakers, celebrated chefs and industry insiders in a showcase of signature events and one-of-a-kind seminars designed to entertain, educate and inspire.

It “explores some of the most innovative and exciting trends in the culinary world,” says Howard Brown, 2008 NOWFE president. “This year we intend to bring some new elements to the event, such as a Louisiana Chef Cook-Off, and expand on the recent addition of VINOLA, by adding more upscale events and premium wines.”

The event kicks off with wine maker dinners in some of New Orleans’ most celebrated restaurants, followed by the traditional Royal Street Stroll on Thursday, and culminating with Grand Tastings in the Superdome on Friday and Saturday.

All Saturday Grand Tasting attendees will have the opportunity to watch and cheer for their favorite Louisiana Chef while the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board hosts The Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off. Louisiana’s top chefs will compete for the chance to represent Louisiana in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off against America's most notable chefs.

Additional festival highlights will include a live auction and an expanded VINOLA! VINOLA, NOWFE’s 2007 premium tasting event, was so popular it has been expanded to include two upscale wine seminars; a VINOLA dinner with outstanding wines and a surprise guest, sponsored by Viking; as well as the exclusive Tasting with up to 120 elite wines. Attendees of the VINOLA events will enjoy a rare opportunity to mingle with notable winemakers, while sampling exceptional wines from around the world.

Seminars and events include:

  • Going, Going, Gone! Don't miss your chance to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences at NOWFE's first Live-Auction. Auction lots will include all-inclusive trips, and VIP perks you can't buy anywhere else. This event takes place on Thursday, May 22 from 4:30-5:30pm at the Ritz-Carlton. Vinola ticket or advance reservation required.

  • VINOLA! Exclusive tasting event. Thursday, May 22 from 2-4 pm at the Ritz-Carlton.

  • Krewe of Cork While strolling down Royal Street you are invited to join in the revelry as the Krewe of Cork parades through the French Quarter donning wine and grape related costumes, while throwing beads, and corks, of course! Krewe of Cork is the Official Parade of NOWFE.

  • 14 Steve Reynolds will take your palette on a tour of Napa Valley, with a Meritage blend that captures the essence of Napa…made with one barrel from a vineyard in each of Napa's 14 sub-appellations.

  • From Spain to Dumaine For 37 years, Louisiana was under Spanish rul...Just long enough for Spain to influence the architecture, culture and culinary history of New Orleans. Local food critic, Tom Fitzmorris, will be joined by four of New Orleans' most acclaimed chefs, who will explore these “tradiciones culinarias espaƱolas!”

  • Cocoa Vin Chocophiles and Oenophiles alike will experience euphoria during this heavenly tasting of wine with its most sensual companion.

  • Red, White & Fin Join Chef John Besh (right), a former winner of the Great American Seafood Cook-off, & Ziggy “The Wine Gal” Eschliman, as they team up at The Besh Steakhouse to pair each of three seafood dishes with a red and a white wine. You will fall hook, line and sinker for Louisiana Seafood!

  • Chef + Sommelier = Perfect Pairings! Tap into the ultimate harmony that transpires between an exceptional chef and an expert sommelier, when they collaborate to create the perfect balance of flavors on some of New Orleans' best menus.

  • Wild About Game & Wine! Hunting for the proper wine to pair with game? Join Chef John Folse, author of After the Hunt: Louisiana's Authoritative Collection of Wild Game & Game Fish Cookery, for a cooking demonstration and lesson on properly pairing wine with wild game.