Recently, Joonbug had the pleasure of attending the phenomenal Fifth Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort. Crystal Springs is a beautiful getaway destination located in Sussex County, NJ. There was an abundance of delicious and exciting culinary events that took place during the weekend. Proceeds from the weekend are to benefit the James Beard Foundation and World Central Kitchen.
The high caliber festivities, kicked off on a Friday evening with an upscale Champagne Reception where guests met the renowned Chef José Andrés. Guests also enjoyed an amazing Wine Cellar Dinner prepared by Chef Andrés and paired with wines from celebrated winemaker Philippe Melka, one of the world’s most sought after wine consultants. Philippe consults Quintessa, Seavey and Lail, among many others. Held in the stunning award-winning Crystal Springs Wine Cellar, this special and intimate pairing of food and wine was impressive. In addition, many guests enjoyed the Top Chefs and Top Wines five-course dinner featuring Top Chef’s Dale Talde (Talde, NYC) and Marc Aumont (The Modern, NYC) among other famous culinary experts. Dinner was paired with special boutique wines.
The Marketplace Lunch which took place on Saturday at Crystal Springs over-looking the mountains, featured local New Jersey wines. The roast pork was extremely tender, the succulent ribs were a crowd favorite and the create your own pasta area was popular with diners as well. We created a special made-to-order ravioli dish using pear and cheese-filled ravioli. We added shrimp, onions, prosciutto, garlic, and fresh tomato. The chef created our one of a kind meal right in front of our eyes (talk about service). There were also various wine/scotch tastings that took place during the weekend! Many were talking about the House of Bushmill’s Tasting featuring Irish whiskeys such as Bushmill’s 21 Year Old.
The finale evening on Saturday night, was nothing short of spectacular. The Grand Tasting—the festival’s signature event featured more than 100 wines from over thirty wineries and 30 top restaurants from New York City and New Jersey. There were many highlights of The Grand Tasting, including the VIP Experience, an outstanding collection of wines and spirits, tastings from José Andrés, Restaurant Latour, The Ryland Inn, acclaimed Washington D.C.chef R.J. Cooper of Rogue 24 and more in the VIP Lounge.
Restaurant participants include; The Frog and the Peach, Maritime Parc, Osteria Morini, Serenade, Costanera Peruana, Agricola, The Orange Squirrel, Strip House, Blue Morel, Chakra, Ho Ho Kus Inn & Tavern, Lu Nello, Axia Taverna, The Dining Room at Anthony David, Morris Tap & Grill, Crystal Tavern and more. The tasting showcased wineries and champagne houses participating in the festival, including Krug, Sassicaia, Chateau d’Yquem, Dom Perignon, Hess, Chateau Montelena, Penfolds, Cakebread, Veuve Clicquot and more. One of our favorites was the fabulous live entertainment by the thirty-two piece David Aaron Orchestra. An exciting silent auction benefiting the James Beard Foundation also took place.
The party continued on at the Meet the Chefs and Winemakers After Party. Guests were able to mingle with top chefs surrounded by an indoor tropical oasis in the Crystal Springs pool and resort area. It really was festive!
The end to a perfect weekend was the Champagne Brunch. A lavish, decadent brunch buffet accompanied by a variety of champagnes. Joonbug highly suggests attending the New Jersey Food and Wine Weekend & visiting Crystal Springs Resort (not that far from Manhattan). This was the perfect combination of fun and relaxation in one get-away!