Sake Tasting Rounds Out a Bustling New York Wine and Food Festival

This past weekend for foodie geeks, there was the New York Wine and Food Festival. If your palate was ready and your stomach was empty, you were in a for a culinary feast that would keep you satisfied for hours. The event, sponsored by Celebrity Cruises, Riedel, Food & Wine, Hudson New York, S. Pellegrino, and Southern Wine & Spirits, was sprinkled with celebrity chefs as well as classes on wine pairings, tastings, and how to make (and eat) the perfect burger. And while I know my way around a wine bottle – sake is a whole different apéritif and digestif, and Monica Samuels was more than willing to teach us sake newbies how it is done. Sake Simplified: From Rice to Riches was just one of many seminars that took place this past weekend.

The seminar took place in a small room at the Hudson Hotel, and the nine different glasses of sake we were about to try made up for any lack of ambiance. Our host and sake ambassador, Monica Samuels, led the charge, and from there, sake amateurs quickly become connoisseurs – learning about the different ways rice is fermented and how each one is distinctly prepared to make the perfect glass of sake. Also, certain sake myths were debunked and replaced with a totally new perspective of the growing-in-popularity Japanese beverage.

So while the New York Wine and Food Festival might be all about the glitz and glam of meeting your favorite Food Network stars – there is actually a lot more to it than fawning over Rachel Ray. You can learn a thing or two from the innovative classes that are available throughout the program. But most importantly, so far the festival has raised 6 million dollars for the NY Food Bank, and it will hopefully do so for many years to come. In the meanwhile, we’ll be salivating at the thought of next years festival.