KFWE  (Kosher Food and Wine Experience) was bigger and better than ever, more wines and wineries, more restaurants, more delicious food and definitely more people!
GKC started the evening with a shared taxi ride with GKC friend, personal chef and soon to be GKC contributor, Naomi Nachman, my favorite Aussie gourmet . Its always fun to spend time with her, she loves to talk about food as much as we do, and we are both already talking about Pesach, ahhh!
As soon as we arrived we ran into good friend Miriam Morgenstern from the Wine Spectator. Miriam always gives GKC the best wine tips and what’s hot and what will be soon! (Flam  Classico and Elvi  Herenza were at the top of her list). Those hot picks are golden because those wines often run out fast at the show. Thanks for the heads up Miriam.
One of the things that is so much fun about KFWE is that you taste so many wines from so many kosher vineyards around the world, seriously it was the UN of wine tasting, with special call outs to the delicious wines of Goose Bay from New Zealand. Loved the Sauvignon Blanc! Tasting special occasion wines to the everyday, you can compare and contrast the same bottles from year to year and try the newest wines that are not even released yet. And best yet, you meet and speak to the winemakers from South Africa, Italy, France, Spain and of course Israel! Listening to them speak of the winemaking craft enhances the experience and totally inspires us to quit our day jobs and go crush some grapes!
So what were the favorites?
We loved the Capcanes  wines and tasting them with winemaker Jurgen Wagner. GKC is looking forward to the special event at City Winery with them on March 11. Elvi, from Spain, had some favorites. The soon to be released, Clos Mesorah is a must taste. Its grown on a 90-year-old vine from the family reserve and is only available in limited quantities. The Elvi  Herenza is the best Rioja GKC has ever tasted. Spicy and warm flavors, its Spanish wine at its best. A fantastic find and brand new to GKC was both the Tulip  and Flam wineries, both Israeli wines became kosher in 2010 and the kosher world became more delicious because of it! In the Flam  Classico, a combination of Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Pertit Verdu grapes make it a complex and flavorful wine. Tulip  showcased their new White Tulip, made of Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, both dry and light, it was impressive and an instant hit. Their Cab was a favorite too. GKC loved to learn that Tulip is located inside a village near Haifa where a large community of disabled people live. They employ many of these adults and take great pride in their inclusiveness. This chesed is clearly bringing lots of mazel to their winemaking, as these wines were delish!
Herzog Wine Cellars  should be exceptionally proud of their new release, Mt. Veeder Cabernet. Herzog’s winemaker, Joe Hurliman, shared the secret to this fine wine, which is, hand harvested grapes from the wildcat vineyard in California. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any Shabbos meal and will only be available in limited quantities and they will go fast. While we are mentioning Herzog  wines, we must not forget the Clone Six, Chalk Hill Cabernet. We raved about it last year and enjoyed it again this show – Hey what’s delish stays delish!
As readers of this blog know, we love our new BFF’s from Psagot  Wines. Yaakov and staff came with all our favorites – Yum the Edom! But tonight, GKC especially loved the single vineyard Cabernet.
Are you worried that we didn’t eat? Worry not!! We ate and ate and ate. Chef Moshe Wendel from Pardes  wowed us again with his creative and innovative pairings, smoked ribeye tartare, soy enoki, basil seeds, fresh radish and a rice krispie crunch. Chef and owner of Le Marais , Jose Meirelles, served both fabulous smoked duck and a hanger steak salad. I loved the colors and flavors in the steak salad. Watermelon, cucumber, jalapeno, peppers and micro cilantro with star anise vinaigrette, ambitious and delicious. The Pomegranate  market was bigger and better than ever this year. People crowded around their booths to get a look and taste of the extravagant display. My top picks, purple eggplant dip, kalamata olive tapenade, pareve blue cheese dip, lamb riblets and the honey mustard corn beef. A special call out to the entire staff at Pomegranate  that seems to truly love what they do. New at KFWE, the Reserve  from Lakewood made an out of the box, spicy tuna taco that won huge accolades from all as a show fav.
GKC finally made our way over to Gemstone  caterers for some super savory apple and hickory Texas smokehouse brisket (if it didn’t cook for 18 hours I would definitely try and make it myself!). They also get high marks for super creative presentation; we loved those Chinese spoon won ton cups (the won tons were toasted in the shapes of spoons – more on that instruction at another time). Also, making a splash was new New York sensation Sushein  with a dumpling and duck sauce that people were lining up for!
With a full stomach and a wine happy smile we still had time to enjoy dessert from GKC friend, Udi Ezra, from Basil . His beautiful, rich and smooth flourless chocolate cake was coated with a light ganache and gorgeous white drizzle. Then a tasty bite of whipped cream infused with cocoa and espresso. Picture and taste perfect. GKC ended the night indulging in a perfectly sweetened Meyer lemon tart from Pardes  with special friend, Jamie Geller of Joy of Kosher . We both agreed it was worth waiting for as is everything that comes from the Pardes kitchen.
Many thanks to Gary Landsman who is a frequent and totally fabulous contributor to GKC, we can always count on Gary to tell us what wines to try and which ones to have with whatever you’re serving. The entire Royal Wine  Family deserves huge kudos for such an absolutely terrific event. Can’t wait til KFWE 2013!!