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Posts Tagged ‘Ohio Food and Wine Festival’

Footnotes from the 8th Annual Ohio Food and Wine Festival

Posted by CMH Gourmand on July 13, 2009

I was a “celebrity” wine server at the Friday night pre-party for the Ohio Food and Wine Festival at the North Market. At a certain point of the night, I think I might have penciled in Cougar as the third part of the festival, there was a clear demographic early in the evening. Maybe it was that comment or good behavior or bad behavior – I’m not sure which, but I was relieved of duty early in my shift and allowed to sit back and enjoy the evening. This gave me a lot of time to ponder as I waited for Ms. Gourmand du Jour to arrive.

This year I was paired with The Winery at Wolf Creek.

Pouring wine or any role that puts one behind a bar opens up a different realm of communication. I noticed the same at the Comfest Wine Booth this year. I have some great conversations with people just by the act of pouring wine in a glass. A question leads to some banter and sometimes you almost feel like you have made a friend in a few minutes. There is always some memorable person or remark whenever I pour. There is no other role in this world that sets one up for this much fun.

Sarah and the rest of the Wolf Creek crew were great. The fan favorite of the evening seemed to be their “White Lies” a sweet white grape wine.

Jennifer Nesbitt (a Lunch Lady) pouring wine til closing time

Jennifer Nesbitt (a Lunch Lady) pouring wine til closing time

Some people snicker at the mention of Ohio wines. This is really uncalled for. Ohio has a long wine making tradition that includes leading the nation in wine production prior to Prohibition. The folks from Firelands Winery (also at the festival) have some interesting wine facts worth looking at –

Fun Facts from Firelands

I learned something during my shift.

Delaware is a:
a) State
b) City
c) County
d) Grape.

Answer: All of the above. There were delaware grapes in a Wolf Creek Wine but not from the place at the end of SR 315.

The most common question of the night: What does oaked mean?
The wine was aged in an oak barrel.

The other part of the festival is food. The world premiere of the Ohio Proud mobile kitchen was on Friday night with Robin Davis from the Dispatch Kitchen demonstrating her culinary skills and sharing tips with the crowd.

Many of the North Market merchants stayed late Friday night to serve food and treats to festival attendees in between drinks. One item that paired well with the wines was waffles.

A new merchant at the market is A Taste of Belgium with a Liege style Belgian Waffle (thicker, sweeter, and a bit richer than your typical Belgian waffle).

So those are a few notes from the evening, but that is not what I was pondering while I was sitting and sipping ice wine. I was thinking about everyone at the festival.

The “celebrities” included Walker Evans (Columbus Underground), Maryellen O’Shaughnessy (Clerk of Courts), G.A. Benton – (Food Writer for Columbus Alive) and others. These are all people I like. Each of these people is making Columbus a little bit better in some way

For food writers, you might think it was a cut throat world of trying the get the scoop on the newest restaurant or the hottest bar. We do not compete against each other if anything we collaborate on finding and sharing our favorite meals.

The same goes for the Ohio wineries, they collaborate to promote Ohio wines and get us used to drinking our “home grown” (some times) or at least “home owned” wines.

The North Market Merchants are in the same boat, they need to keep competitive to stay in business but they collaborate their time, energy, resources and more to help market the Market and keep the ability to buy from your friends, neighbors and fellow Ohioans from withering on the vine.

Another thing I thought of was the accessibility of wine. There are so many places that offer wine tastings in town that are affordable, relaxed and fun – Weilands, Hills Market, Whole Foods, Refectory, House Wine, Twisted Vine, etc., that wine continues to become a “typical” thing not just something to feel awkward about at a fine dining establishment.

With all of the above going on at the same time – I would say the event was a success.

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