2018 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival Recap

I spent last Saturday at the Greenwich Wine + Food Festival. It’s an annual event held at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut. The two-day festival celebrates the area’s best culinary delights in the food and beverage industries. It also benefits multiple charitable organizations, including Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Greenwich Parks & Recreation Fund, and others. It has over 150 vendors providing samples of the best food, wine, and spirits on the market!

As soon as I walked in I was given a tote bag with a wine glass. Off to a strong start. From there I look around and there is HUGE (and I mean HUGE) tent with endless vendors, all offering tastings. There’s a few different tents - the tasting tent, the grand tasting tent, and a tent specifically for wine tastings. On top of that, there’s areas where celebrity chefs conduct cooking demonstrations. The furthest part of the park has a full-blown stage where Tim McGraw was going to perform that night. Mind. Blown.

As we began walking through the grand tasting tent, Dan goes “Wait, is this unlimited?! Can we just eat whatever we want here?” Why yes, yes you can.

What I learned from the festival:

  • Pace yourself. It’s a long day, with a ton of food and beverage vendors. It’s pretty easy to get excited and start eating and drinking a ton as soon as you get there, which will leave you ridiculously full and buzzed by 2pm (and who doesn’t want to see the concert?!). Slowly make your way through the vendors, and take occasional breaks to check out one of the cooking demonstrations. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

  • Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes is key. It’s a lot of standing/walking, plus with all of that food you’re eating you’ll want to wear something you can easily rock a food baby in!

  • Most of the vendors are open all day and close in the early evening, and some vendors don’t open until then (4-4:30pm). I noticed a lot of the liquor vendors fall into the later category, which makes sense.

  • There are stands all over the park with all kinds of chips. I was very confused by this when I first got there. There’s top notch, amazing food everywhere, so why would they need stands with chips?! Fast forward to 8pm, when everyone with a buzz was SPRINTING towards the chips, and I quickly realized why they were there.

  • If there are certain vendors you definitely want to go to, hit those up first.

  • You are not allowed to bring outside food or drink inside of the festival, including water. They have unlimited bottled water there, not to mention all of the food, so you’ll be all set. You’re also not allowed to bring “a camera with a detachable lens” into the festival unless you have a media pass. The only camera they’ll let you bring in is your phone camera.

  • The price of the tickets is so worth it. At first I thought it was a little steep, but figuring everything you get, it’s worth every penny. Save up your money for next year!!

Now let’s get into some of the vendor highlights. Now keep in mind that there were 150 vendors there, so I didn’t get a chance to necessarily spend time at every single one of them, so there may have been so incredible vendors that I missed. However, here are a few that totally stuck out to me, starting with the food businesses first:

Kow Cattle Company - Wow, just wow. This was probably the best steak I’ve ever eaten in my life. When I first got to this vendor, I noticed the line was crazy long (which is always a good sign), so I came back later on when it was a little shorter. I’m so glad I did. The team there was incredibly nice, and the steak blew me away. They are a family-owned company that focuses on raising their cattle the right way. On top of that, it’s organic with no added hormones or antibiotics. It’s a little pricey, but as someone told me there, “you absolutely get what you pay for.” So true. SOLD.

Donut Crazy - these doughnuts blew me away. They had about 7 different flavors you could try - and I’m not talking samples, I’m talking FULL SIZED DOUGHNUTS. IN UNLIMITED QUANTITY. I had their chocolate doughnut and Dan tried their cannoli doughnut. Now being from New Jersey, Dan is a super huge cannoli snob and rarely does he think a cannoli is up to his high standards. He bit into the doughnut and I’m pretty sure his life was changed forever. He actually said “I know this is a doughnut, but it’s probably one of the best cannolis I’ve ever had.”

Fjord Fish Market - yep, probably the best salmon I’ve ever had. I think we went back three times so we could get more of the salmon samples! So ridiculously tasty and cooked to perfection, and on top of that, all of their seafood is responsibly-sourced!

Citarella - ceviche and wine pairing?! Sign a sista UP. The ceviche was incredible, and the wine it was paired with was equally amazing too.

Connecticut Cookie Company - edible cookie dough in a ton of different flavors, say whaaaaat. SO ridiculously good.

Kerry Gold - I’ve always loved their cheese, and the festival was no exception. So many tasty flavors to try, and the cheese is made from grass-fed cows! I even bought some at Whole Foods when I got home (see below!).

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - pulled pork sliders like crazyyy. They were so tasty and made right there on site!

For beverage/spirit brands:

Stella was giving away full-sized beers (with their signature Stella glass!). Don Julio (my favorite tequila brand of ALL TIME) was giving out fantastic margaritas. Fishers Island Lemonade was sampling their incredible spiked lemonade, which is seriously one of my favorite beverages ever (and gluten-free!). True Colours Brut was sampling their tasty sparkling wine, and 50 cents of every bottle sold gets donated to the GLAAD foundation - so amazing! Owl’s Brew Radler was sampling their innovative tea beer double brew (tasty!). Spiked Steltzer’s low carb, gluten-free drinks were as tasty as ever, and they even had a mermaid you could take a photo with. Ketel One vodka was giving away some tasty mixed drinks. Drunken Fruit was sampling their alcohol-infused cucumber (hellloooo). Manny’s Ultimate Blood Mary was sampling their mix with Don Julio for some pretty fantastic bloody marias. GIFFT was sampling some of their delicious red and white wines. Jameson was sampling their classic whiskey. Bubly had their huuge assortment of all of the delicious flavored sparkling water…

and last but certainly not least…

Filippo Berio - the FB fam was repping their amazing pesto flavors! They even had an online quiz you could take which would make your personality with one of their pesto flavors. I took it and got Olive, which was AMAZING. The quiz was pretty spot on because it was one of the only pesto flavors I hadn’t tried, and it was pretty fantastic. It tasted like an olive tapenade and pesto had a baby! I actually used it at home to make the this scrumptious cheese and cracker plate (see below). I love the flavor because you can use it on pasta dishes, chicken, fish, pizza, cheese, crackers - there are so many options!

I paired the Olive Pesto Cheese + Cracker board with wine (naturally) and shared it with my in-laws. Needless to say, the entire thing was gone in minutes. My sister-in-law even asked, “What is this olive dip?! It’s amazing.” Why yes, yessss it is.

Olive Pesto Cheese + Cracker Board

  • Filippo Berio Olive Pesto

  • Cheese variety (I used Kerry Gold cheeses)

  • Crackers (I used Jilz Crackerz)

  • Smoked wild salmon

  • Organic red seedless grapes

  • Dark chocolate (I used Eating Evolved)

  • Anything else you would like to add to it!

Now the big question is - who’s going to the 2019 festival with me?! Let the countdown begin…

Cheese + Cracker Board with Filippo Berio Olive Pesto Dip

Cheese + Cracker Board with Filippo Berio Olive Pesto Dip