That much-anticipated annual culinary event the Taste of New Paltz at the Ulster County Fairgrounds is still a week away, so what’s an eager foodie to do this weekend? Here’s an idea: Hie thee to Rhinebeck and check out the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest, which is returning to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for its 11th outing this Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9. Touted as “a celebration of the gourmet lifestyle in the Hudson Valley,” the Fest features hundreds of wines from all over New York State, dozens of gourmet specialty food vendors, food sampling from some of the region’s best restaurants and live entertainment including cooking demonstrations and seminars.
Headlining this year’s roster of celebrity chefs will be Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge of Beekman Farm, better-known to viewers of reality TV as The Fabulous Beekman Boys. Their Beekman 1802 product line, which includes the popular Blaak Cheese, spawned a cookbook also called Beekman 1802, and the memoir of their farm life, The Bucolic Plague, was a national best-seller. Also on hand for a talk and cooking demo will be seven-time certified, nationally ranked and internationally honored chef Vincent Tropepe, author of Stuffed! the first cookbook ever dedicated to the preparation and execution of stuffed food items. All cooking demonstrations and seminars throughout the Fest weekend are free with the price of admission.
Shopping for ingredients that are hard to find in your local grocery? You can find farm-fresh cheeses and yogurts, farm-raised meats, salsas, barbecue sauce, pasta, pasta sauce, dip, drink and soup mixes, pastries, baked goods, maple syrup, candy, nuts, granola, olive oils, vinegars and more at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest. The list of vendors on the Fest’s website is truly awe-inspiring, with the prize for most inventive food product line probably going to the hot pepper-flavored fruit leathers purveyed by a company called Heat Sweets.
Oenophiles will also find plenty to keep them occupied, with regionally and nationally recognized wine authorities conducting free wine education seminars and tastings. Learn about choosing, serving, tasting and storing wine, and browse the offerings of the many vintners in attendance. New York State wine is highlighted, with most of the listed wineries being from the Finger Lakes; but several familiar Hudson Valley Wine Trail producers will be on hand, including Millbrook, Warwick Valley, Whitecliff, El Paso and Brotherhood among others.
All that wine-tasting raises the question of who’s going to be the designated driver for the trip home, of course. To encourage advance planning for safe travel, the Fest offers two types of admission pricing: one for those who intend to taste wine during their visit and one for those who don’t. At $35 for one day and $65 for the full weekend, the Wine Tasting Ticket includes admission, a tasting glass and all the wine that you care to taste for one price. At $20 for one day and $35 for both days, Regular Admission includes admission, free non-alcoholic cold beverages and a souvenir tasting glass to be picked up upon exiting the Fest. Food sampling and food concessions are not included in either level of ticket price. Children age 12 and under are admitted free of charge.
The 11th annual Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest returns to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, located on Route 9 in Rhinebeck, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 8 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 9. Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, a/k/a The Fabulous Beekman Boys, and Vincent Tropepe are the featured celebrity chefs. Tickets for adults cost $35 per day, $65 for both days for wine-drinkers and $20 per day, $35 for both days for designated drivers. They can be purchased at www.etix.com/ticket/online/venueSearch.jsp?venue_id=7706. For more information call (845) 658-7181 or visit www.hudsonvalleywinefest.com.