Guest Blogger: Tomer Gutwaks
I’m a foodie. I always have been. Or so I thought.
The way I saw it, a foodie is a food lover. But at The Kosher Food and Wine Experience, an event I attended for the first time, I realized that food is as complex as it is complicated. And, to truly understand its allure, one must approach the topic with a fervent disposition and an open mind.
Donning a press pass I received from the elegant and artfully gifted Chef Alison Gutwaks, and armed with the know-how I adopted from her dazzling pseudo sommelier husband, Matan, I was able to experience the KFWE in a way that only very few actually do—sampling expensive wine, spirits, meats, and condiments at a pace that allowed me to understand an analyze exactly what I was experiencing. With over 200 wines on display and cuisine prepared by over 30 of the most renowned restaurants and caterers in the food world, it was the crème de la crème of edible ecstasies.
I was fortunate enough to spend a creatively educational two hours on Pier 60 in New York City, learning, tasting, and living, the vast variety of tastes, sounds, and aromas that fill the air at event so august and elaborate as the KFWE. Though I felt like I was staring into a Gastronomic Abyss, I salvaged my inexperience, and took home from the event a lot more than a full stomach. I even managed, with respect to my own culinary shortcomings, to compile what I deem to be an eccentric but informative list of the best samples I was lucky to come across. I was as excited to out together the list as I was to eat the culinary explosions of flavor. In other words, if you still haven’t caught my drift, I have put together the NAÏVE Food Lover’s Guide to the Top 10 best Food and Drink Encounters at the KFWE.
Keep in mind, that this list is meant to act as an a approach for the most untrained food eye and tongue, and all recommendations, though delicious in their own rights, should be experienced with the knowledge that their recommendations are given from a cuisine simpleton such as myself.
1. Grand Mayan Tequila ( Extra Anejo)
Distilled twice, and made from Pure Blue Agave, this tequila was a miraculous find of mine. It has a soft and smooth profile, tastes delicious and finishes confidently. It is a blended from tequila from three different barrels, distilled twice, and comes in one of the most chic bottles you’ll ever see. A 375ml as well as a 750 ml are available.
2. Prime Hospitality Group- Spicy Salami and Kosher Prosciutto
Price: Not Available
Coming from the juggernaut of upscale Kosher food Gurus, the Prime name lived up to its austere expectations. Balancing incredibly inviting textures, with smoky and well balanced flavors, it’s hard to believe something so audacious can be kosher. With a mix of aged meats eloquently displayed, they look as good as they taste. A must try.
3. Flam Superiore Syrah, 2011 Reserve
Though turning Bar Mitzvahed only a few years ago, this Winery is quickly becoming as well respected as it deserves to be. With a few selections, including a Cabernet a Merlot and even a Blanc, I opted for the under appreciated of the bunch, the Syrah. Boding a rich taste you don’t have to lie about experiencing, the finish is so fruity that you can actually guess the berries involved. I loved it, and look forward to experiencing it at my next meal. And, if you are drinking with me, bring an extra bottle.
4. Montefiore Colombard Chardonnay
Montefiore Winery is the exotic sweetheart of Mr. Arnon Geva, whose Vino resume is as elaborate and luxuriant as the wines his winery produces. Hailing from Israel, his wines are based on Moses Montefiore’s actual persona, and this clearly shines through. Optimizing fragrance, as well as taste and body, this wine is perfect for any white wine lover. Boasting more Colombard than actual Chardonnay, the wine’s ingredient are best developed in a climate like Israel’s. Wonderful.
5. The Wandering Que, 18HR Smoked BBQ Beef Brisket
Representing the Kosher BBQ line of Gemstone Catering, the Wandering Que, is all that and then some. I enjoy smoked meat as much as the next guy, but an 18 hour slow smoked beef brisket? I was in heaven. The consistency is so tender that chewing for more than 10-15 seconds is futile. The taste is so rich, that it is quite possibly some of the best darn BBQ I’ve ever tasted. I may have gone back for more than just seconds. The Barbecue Sauce compliments the meat and its texture famously.
6. Schmerling’s Chocolate Mint Liqueur (Available after Pesach 2014)
Schmerling’s, far from neophytes in the chocolate game, have added a new flavor to their already stellar repertoire of chocolate Liqueurs. Infusing their own chocolates into their Liqueurs, this Chocolate Mint affair, could not have been a better idea, highlighting the perfect touch of mint into an already perfectly composed chocolate taste. And, it’s Parve, as in not Dairy. No, I’m serious though. This is the perfect dessert compliment. Or, you know what, chuck the dessert and enjoy it solo.
7. Morad Danue Passion Fruit Wine
Fermented and aged for over a year’s time in vats of Stainless Steel, these guys know exactly what they are talking about, even If I don’t. Purchased from a humble winemaker in Yokniam, Israel, the current owners opted to keep the winemakers name, Morad. Introducing robust flavors, it’s hard to believe what you are actually drinking. Though very rich in taste, the wine is so delicious that it has to be experienced. An additional and charming perk is the diversity of the product, as it can be easily infused into desserts, baked goods or anything else. Try their Amaretto flavor as well.
8. Pomegranate Chopped Liver
Price: Not Available
Wow. This is a must. If you are as Haimish as I am, you will love this. Spread thinly on Tim-Tam crackers, the taste was as wonderful as the display was. Rich in flavor, but not overbearing in the slightest, this is the perfect type of spread, and you can eat it straight, on a bagel or however you see fit. Not the flashiest of dishes, it was a shame that people didn’t try more of this.
9. Psagot Prat Red Desert Wine
Price: $28 (500ml)
I do like the occasional sweet wine and Psagot did not disappoint. Implanting a variety of sweet flavors including velvety grapes, and even some chocolate, the smoothness of its body is as intense as its color. Easily enjoyed after dinner, this wine’s reputation speaks for itself winning an award in 2006. Intense though it is, in small doses, this wine comes close to flawless.
10. Alexander the Great Gaston Reserve 2010
Dark in color, and wide ranging in taste, this wine was delicious and matter of fact. Holding no surprises, but clearly a product of experienced winemakers, this wine is superb. Drinking it is addictive, and its hard not to ostracize other wineries while experiencing it. Great with dinner.
So that’s it for me.
Cheers and good eats y’all!