SBWFF 2011: More and More at Best of the Best
|Chocolates from Andrew Shotts of Garrison Confections in Providence, Rhode Island|
Is it the just-because-you-can decadence of eating humble snack food like popcorn dressed with freshly grated truffles? Is it a live jazz band providing the soundtrack as you line up for yet another swig of gratis Krug champagne? Is it a chorus of angels applauding your existence as you float from tasting booth to tasting booth, only to be handed a peekytoe crab roll by molecular gastronomy maestro Wiley Dufresne himself?
Oh, okay. So you were likely at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival's Best of the Best last night, a blow-out at the Fontainebleau presented by Wine Spectator. The three-and-a-half hour event was a monument to sensual, though restrained, luxury.
Best of the Best assembled 15 champagnes, precisely 201 wines, and dishes from over 47 marquee-name chefs. Clearly, this was not a party for those overwhelmed by choice -- but though the display was plentiful, it was never tacky. If anything, the event was a bit staid, but with the circus-like atmosphere of other events this weekend, it was welcome.
One of the best bangs for the buck -- at least for bubbly-lovers -- came in the smaller champagne selection, which included multiple selections from Krug, Henriot, Mumm, Pommery, Nicolas Feuillatte, and Perrier-Jouet, among others. Among the still wines, the selection weighed heavily towards California, France, and Italy, though a few vineyards from Argentina, Chile, Spain, and Austria also peeked through. (Click here to read a full list of all the vineyards who participated.)
As far as the food, Miami establishments figured heavily among the restaurants serving, with most of the city's culinary stars dutifully represented: Michelle Bernstein, Thomas Buckley, Scott Conant, Ciny Hutson, Ooi Soon Lok, the Randazzos, Alfred Portale, Simon Stojanovic, John Suley, Norman Van Aken, Peter Vauthy, Bjoern Weizzgerber, and Kris Wessel among them.
From farther afield, bigger marquee names were also promised: Marcus Samuelsson, Wylie Dufresne, and event host Charlie Trotter among them, but Dufresne was the only one who could be found hands-on plating the offerings at his booth. That was a peekytoe crab roll with salt and vinegar chips and celery mayonnaise.
Here are some more random pictures collected during the evening.
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