Love Food? Who doesn’t? If you want to experience some of the best food, wine and spirits, Atlantic City’s Food and Wine Festival was the place to be this past July: a culinary treat from some of the finest chefs in the country.
Imagine walking into one of Harrah’s Casino’s Grand Ballrooms and having the opportunity to sit down and eat a seven-course meal hosted by Food Network’s own Ann Burrell and Andrew Zimmerman! We started off with a luscious asparagus and apple salad, then went on to a refreshing seafood salad, with a flare of Naples; succulent shrimps, calamari, Maine lobsters, lump crab meat and kalmarta olives, lightly coated with the finest olive oil from Italy, with a hint of lemon and parsley, made by Frank Pellegrino Jr. owner and chef from the famous Rao’s in NYC. We were then treated by the famous South Philadelphia chef Steve Martorano to Momma’s famous meatballs, made with beef, lamb and veal, fresh parsley, day old bread and yes, you guessed it, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Chef Steve told the audience “Food is like making love, treat it with respect”. Finally, after two hours of eating six courses, they ended our night with desserts prepared by Pastry Chef Carlos Salazar, who indulged us with a paired melon panna cotta: sweet melon thinly sliced, soaked in cilantro, orange and sugar water, placed artistically over a creamy panna cotta. The chef also proposed a hazel nut cake, made with textures to really excite your palate: crispy, creamy and crunchy chocolate, mousse and nuts all in one delectable bite.
It was worth staying the night and getting up early to kick off the day by going to The Grand Market at Bally’s. Walking in through the doors, you could smell the different aromas of the foods you would taste. Chefs from all around USA were preparing their Petite Bouchee, “Small bite” for everyone to taste.
My first stop was the set up by VanGogh Vodka, trying some of the most intriguing blends. I actually enjoyed their peanut butter and jelly one; if it wasn’t that I was drinking alcohol, I would have poured myself a glass of milk. Then there was Pisco Portuna tequila, flavored with creamy vanilla and a hint of black pepper: yummy. Yet, I have to say that the Sxchachacha Tequila, flavored with honey and lemon, was my favorite. It was so soothing to the palate, I went back for another one.
Walking through the room, I tried I tried a wonderful array of organic pastas, handmade won tons stuffed with scallions and crabs, fudge that melted in your mouth and some of the finest made chocolates.
So, next time you see the Food Network event, why not take a day to relax and enjoy this flavorful event with a melting pot of new and exotic Food, Wine and Spirits.