by Sarah Teach
Fine wines won’t be the only palate-pleasers illuminating the 2012 Nantucket Wine Festival. Veiled beneath the shadows of the much more renowned Grand Tasting and Harbor Gala dwell perhaps the greater gems: the series of Wine & Food seminars that offer an inside scoop of some of the tastiest foods made by the country’s most innovative chefs. This year’s festival presents nine different seminars, each one with its own distinguishing culinary focus. Simon Shurey, Events Coordinator of the Wine Festival, says, “The people who go to the seminars are the ones who really care about food.”
Shurey’s personal recommendation for this year was “The Greatest Chef You’ve Never Heard Of,” which featured Damon Baehre. (Incidentally, we hadn’t heard of him.) Baehrel’s restaurant in Earlton, NY, has a wait list that is more than three years long; but those who attended “The Greatest Chef You’ve Never Heard Of” got to try his extraordinary “Native Harvest” cuisine right away!! Shurey also touts the seminar featuring Cheese Master John Greeley, who is Co-Chair of the American Cheese Society Competition Committee. Greeley, also known as “the Big Fromage,” will host a Friday afternoon tasting of the inimitable cheeses from France’s Rhône Valley. During these seminars, chefs welcome questions and engage actively in dialogue with attendees, offering an intimate look at food and wine pairings.
But the yum doesn’t stop at the seminars. The Friday luncheon symposia program continues this year, promising to serve up outstanding cuisine and education at some of Nantucket’s best addresses. During each of these three exclusive wine-and-dine events, the first hour is devoted to learning from several specially selected world-class winemakers. After the educational hour, attendees will be served an exquisite four-course luncheon highlighting the very wines that were just discussed!
In between the big events, there are plentiful prix fixe meals served at local restaurants, all offering superbly paired cuisines and wines sure to please any gourmet enthusiast. While most Festival-goers this weekend will simply say “Cheers!” you are invited to the more exclusive group that can exclaim, “Bon appétit!”