This weekend Philadelphia is helping to raise awareness for some very important causes. On Saturday, the 14th, the annual Red Ball will take place at the Please Touch Museum, helping to raise money and awareness in honor of the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania. Then on Sunday, Philly foodies and beer lovers will gather to indulge at the 10th annual Brewer’s Plate, with proceeds…
On the last Sunday of February, we attended a Food and Wine Pairing class at TASTE, one of the tasting rooms for Sand Castle Winery. Joined by about 12 other wine lovers, we spent 90 minutes indulging and learning. We were guided by Alison, a very knowledgeable and funny woman who explained the history of the winery, its wine, and how to select the right grapes for the right dish. We paired 7 different Sand Castle vintages with some small appetizer dishes. Not only did we get to try some great local wines with some yummy food bites, but we have found are go-to wine bar outside of the city. Oh, we also got to keep the wine glasses as souvenirs. ;)
To start, we had a 2008 Johannisberg Dry Riesling. This was paired with some gruyère on a toasted baguette slice and topped with some arugula. The wine itself smelled of gasoline and tasted nothing like a typical riesling would. Once paired with the food though, the wine was not as bitter or dry and it brought out lemon flavors in the cheese. Terrific pairing.
Next, we paired a 2008 Chardonnay Classic with a mixed green salad tossed with pineapple balsamic and topped with shaved aged asiago cheese. While the wine and food together made no difference to us, the Chardonnay left a lasting impression. Normally, not Chardonnay fans, we actually went home with a Sand Castle bottle!
Moving on to the reds, we paired a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon with a small slice of turkey breast with gravy and a side of cranberry sauce. Though the gravy was not a big hit with us, this pairing was definitely reminiscent of Thanksgiving. We got a little piece of milk chocolate to try with the wine as well…much better pairing.
Next up we paired a Cuvee Blush with a piece of toasted rye with abruzze spread and a slice of spicy soppressata salami. The blush, on its own, was a little too sweet for our taste. Together with the food though, the wine lost some of the sweetness. In turn, it also helped put the fire out from the spicy salami.
Not a fan of Port, we braved it up to try a sip along with some stilton and quince paste wrapped in prosciutto. While the pairing was ok, it was just hard to get past the fortified Brandy taste.
In our style of preparation for desserts, we ventured back to white with another Johannisburg Riesling, this time a 2008 Semi-sweet. We paired this with a warm apple puff with cinnamon and sugar. The pairings ended with a warm Alpine Spice wine and some vanilla ice cream. Heavenly.
There was so much to taste and learn and we definitely did a lot of both. If you’re looking for a Wine Pairings class that’s both fun and informative, we highly recommend you give Sand Castle Winery a try. They have two tasting rooms. We visited the TASTE Warminster location at the Valley Square Shopping Center. The other TASTE location is in Phoenixville. Of course, you can also visit the Sand Castle Winery which is located in Erwinna, PA.
Aside from premium estate wines, TASTE also has some amazing olive oils and balsamic vinegars for sale. You’ll find some select DiBruno Bros. cheeses and gourmet food products as well. You can find great gift ideas or even just stop in to unwind with a glass of wine after a long day.
TASTE and Sand Castley Winery offer a variety of classes and events. For more info check out:
On Wednesday, Feb. 19th, some of Philly’s biggest restaurants and food fans gathered to celebrate Philly Cooks 2014- The Big Event, presented by Philly Mag and foobooz. We were excited to partake in the festivities and sample a variety of unique dishes, fine wines, beers and spirits. The Big Event was the grand finale to a three day culinary adventure that began on Monday and Tuesday with several Tasting Tours. The tours featured some of the hottest and up and coming restaurants and foodie neighborhoods in Philly…and they sold out fast!
Wednesday’s event took place at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The place was packed, complete with live musical entertainment, raffles, plenty of drinks, and restaurants who could barely keep up with all the hungry Philadelphians. Some long time favorites were dishing out samples, but its the newest restaurant on the scene that definitely stole the show. While Laurel Restaurant had a steady flow of people waiting to try their perfectly cooked (and seasoned!) mackerel, it was no secret that most were hoping for a photo op with owner and newest winner of Bravo’s Top Chef, Nicholas Elmi. We managed to congratulate him and snap a pic or two. ;) Very nice guy. Another booth we were excited to visit….Rosa Blanca, the newest restaurant by Chef Jose Garces. Their Cuban sandwich sample guaranteed our future visit to the restaurant. One of our favorites of the night, however, actually belonged to Celebrity Cruises. Not only were they serving yummy food in adorable mini crock pots, but they offered free photo ops in a giant chair, and we even got to make our own spice concoction to take home. If we had to pick a winner for the night though, we’d have to give it to the desserts. :) We tried everything from amazing chocolates to cake samples to a South Philly favorite, Ms Goody Cupcake. All in all, it was a fun night and great way to sample a variety of what the Philly food scene has to offer.
If you didn’t make it this year, you won’t want to miss Philly Cooks 2015.
Enjoy our slideshow…