My husband and I spent our Saturday perusing the wines and wares of the Hudson Valley Food and Wine Festival, and I left with more business cards than I could fit in my wallet and a nice buzz. I can’t say better things about spending the day at a wine festival; whether it’s a small, local affair or a large, full-scale event that showcases the brilliant and delectable homegrown treats and libations of your area, the experience is worth the time and money. For New Yorkers and those willing to order fabulous goods from the Empire State, let me share a few of my favorite vendors from this weekend:
Clearly I ate the brownie intended to be featured…I just couldn’t help myself
Sweet Girl Brownies
This was the best freakin’ brownie I think I’ve ever eaten in my life. Being I’ve been inhaling baked goods for over thirty years, I’d say that is a true testament to the deliciousness of this ooey, gooey, gluten free delight. And I’m not saying “good for gluten-free,” either. This little thing is better than any damned gluten-full brownie you’ll eat, I can promise you that. Order some right now: http://www.sweetgirlbrownies.com – you will not regret your purchase. Warning: consumption of this product will lead to an insatiable obsession.
Beautiful bottle art, too!
Warwick Valley Winery
Our affinity for Warwick Valley Winery dates back to our time spent in Tuxedo Park, and I make it a point to seek out their station at every wine festival we attend. Not only is the wine fabulous, but the winery itself is a treat to visit. With a gorgeous little cafe serving up delectable goodies and a tasting area that is often so lively and busy it reminds me of a college bar on Thursday nights, this place does business and does it well. They are a wonderful winery, and I highly recommend you find them at your next wine festival or take the trip to visit where the magic happens. My favorite wines are featured here: Harvest Moon and Black Dirt Blush. The husband loves Black Dirt Red and their hard ciders, which are pretty amazing. Those of you winos too far away to experience them in person should take a chance and place an order: http://www.wvwinery.com. You will not be disappointed.
I’ll need a juice cleanse after the wine and brownies…
Okay, so I know the whole idea of a juice cleanse sounds absolutely terrifying, especially when you’re as into brownies and wine as I am. But I have to say trying a sample of cold-pressed juice from this company definitely changed my mind. Who knew juicing could taste so good? Their bottled juice takes the guess work (and any work in general) out of drinking tasty, quality juices. They offer a three day cleanse and a five day cleanse package, among other things. This stuff is good – and I got the non-fruity stuff. My sister had some watermelon/mint concoction that was even tastier! While the price of $50 per day sounds steep, I suppose you have to weigh it with the alternative: taking time out of your busy day to look up recipes, go to the store, purchase the produce, clean it, prep it and juice it – all for just one juice drink! I couldn’t imagine doing that three – five times a day…needless to say, I’ll be ordering my cleanse through them! You should, too: http://www.littleapplelove.com
After only 24 hours in my possession, I’d like to consider this bottle half full rather than half empty
Madava Farms: Crown Maple Syrup
When one attends a wine festival, especially a big one, things tend to get a little fuzzy. You’re sipping wines, bumping into strangers, looking for your husband, who is often updating his fantasy football roster ten feet behind you…let’s just say you’re not always checking out the signs for the vendors. When I walked up to this very busy station and noticed little plastic shot glasses half full of a beautiful amber liquid, I assumed it to be some sort of fancy liquor – maybe it’s rum? Maybe a nice scotch? YOLO! In the spirit of trying everything, which is what you should do at a wine festival, I swept up a little shot glass. Just one, mind you, because I knew that I would not take the entire sip of some hard liquor; I assumed I’d do what I always do with things I don’t want: pass it back to my man-servant, Alex. How pleasantly surprised – and a little reluctant to pass it back to the huz – I was to taste this fantastic maple syrup. So pure, so light, so natural. As you can see by the $17 bottle, I’ve already used my share this afternoon to make maple chicken (Don’t ask for the recipe. I made it up…I just had to use the damn syrup. It’s that good. I’m sure a quality recipe exists somewhere on the food network site). Go to http://www.crownmaple.com today and order yourself some syrup so you, too, can start whipping up BS recipes just to have an excuse to use this stuff.
Aunite Liana’s Cake Balls
Okay, so, full disclosure: we ate them all, and there’s nothing to show you. However, I’m sure you can find some pictures of the incredible cake balls my friends and I inhaled in the last twenty-four hours here: http://www.facebook.com/AuntieLiana’s.
These cake balls were out of control – the red velvet and salted caramel being our faves. I’m sure there are a ton of things this little bakery makes, but I wouldn’t pass up the cake balls if I were you. I know what you’re saying, and guess what? They’re not my thing, either. BUT that large pink box I saw everyone carrying around at the festival caught my eye, and I had to find their station, and I had to walk away with a pink box, too, because the spoiled, impulsive Veruca Salt in me was screaming, “Daddy, I want a pink box of goodies, too! I don’t care how, I want it now!” So we walked away with 13 cake balls and literally will never regret that purchase or how it totally negated the Little Apple cleanse I partook in earlier. I’m a huge fan of this bakery and will keep them in mind for future celebrations.
In truth, there were a number of other lovely local vendors at the festival, including raw honey purveyors, natural soap artisans, fun wineries named Nautie and Montezuma’s Revenge, etc. I wish I could promote all of the folks who let me sample their delicious concoctions. It’s easy nowadays to go out and purchase the big brand names and trust in what you know, but I appreciate festivals like this one because it gives access to the lesser-knowns and the small businesses that are trying to grow. There is nothing more rewarding than purchasing from the local folks and supporting a small business. As a self-published author and a daughter of an entrepreneur, the struggle of the small business man will always be near and dear to my heart. We have a lot of talented creators in this country, and I’m so grateful for the chance to experience their creations and share their names with my audience! Goodnight all, and happy food and wining!
He was a tad happier here than he was yesterday carrying my bags and boxes and bottles…
PS- This was my date to the festival. Handsome devil, isn’t he?