Category Archives: Event Recaps

Event Recap: Central Market’s Passport to Italy

Written by: Lauryn Bodden

There are normal grocery stores with your essential food items (ice cream and wine), and then there’s Central Market, which is every foodie’s heaven. On April 30, Central Market will debut this year’s two-week themed Passport celebration that spotlights the culinary delicacies of Italy.

With more than 40 winemakers and cooking classes led by renowned Italian chefs, Passport Italy delivers eclectic, authentic Italian cuisine straight to the Lone Star State. Everyone knows wine is the classy way to end a long day and get drunk with friends, but Passport Italy will make you the wine connoisseur you have always dreamed of becoming. (And what better way to enjoy a chilled glass of Prosecco than with some of the world’s finest meats and cheeses?) Showcasing traditional foods and ingredients, Central Market will also provide hundreds of new items such as gelatos, breads, pastas, cured meats, wines, cheeses, oils, vinegars, and chef-prepared foods. Winemakers, chefs, and producers alike will be on-hand to walk customers through the ultimate Italian food and wine experience.

The featured winemakers include:

  • Luca Bosio of Luca Bosio Vineyards brought in a wave of freshness and novelty to both the technical and commercial areas of his family’s vineyards, reinventing the way they do business. With a mix of technology and rural tradition, he blends his family’s grapes with grapes from hundreds of farmer organizations from different parts of Piemonte, giving them greater diversity in their winemaking.
  • Stefano Chiarlo oversees the cultivation of 110 hectares of vineyards, all while taking care to adhere to the most exact ecological requirements needed by winemaking. By focusing their vineyards on hilly zones and rigorously thinning out grape bunches, Michele Chiarlo Vineyards has ensured the production of highly elegant wines with excellent longevity.
  • Umberto Cosmo directs the Bellenda estate, located in the Vento wine region. Especially known for producing fantastic Prosecco, Bellenda is fresh and clean with delicate bubbles that enhance its subtle citrus flavor.
  • Franceso Daddi runs the Ormanni farm, which is ancient and deep-rooted in Italian history. Owned since the 1200s by the Ormanni family, mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s famous Divine Comedy, and at one point owned by the legendary Medici family, the Tenuta Ormanni Vineyards focus on tradition and detail. Tenuta Ormani wines have an artisan feel and clean taste.
  • Antonio M. Zaccheo Jr., the son of Carpineto co-founder Antonio Mario Zaccheo Sr., is the latest in a long line of family winemakers blending old world heritage with modern expertise. With an extensive bottle-aging program, Carpineto has ensured the production of elegant wines of approachable intensity, with the majority of their focus being on red wines aged three or more years.

Highlighted below is a list of all the boozy events (basically everything) taking place during Passport Italy for you to enjoy:

Passaporto Italia Kick-off with Umberto Cosmo, founder & winemaker of Bellenda

Wednesday, April 30 from 4-7 p.m.

Join us as we kick off Passporto Italia in style! Be our guest at our Prosecco Party where Umberto Cosmo, founder and winemaker of Bellenda, joins us for a Prosecco tasting.

Italy Meets Texas

Thursday, May 1 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Join us for a Texas-sized Sip & Stroll to celebrate the beginning of Passporto Italia! We’re kicking off two weeks of celebrating everything Italian with a stroll through the store where you’ll be able to sample the likes of Truffled Pasta, Fresh-Made Sausages,

Cannolis, Italian cheese, and salumi, along with new offerings from our Chef’s Case. We’ll have hundreds of new items; many never before seen in the U.S. Don’t forget the wine! We’ll pair all our items with a wine that will have you sighing, “Amore!” A commemorative glass also will be available for purchase at the Information Desk.

Zardetto Prosecco Wine Dinner with Filipo Zardetto

Friday, May 2 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Located in the heart of Italy’s famous Prosecco territory between Conegiano and Valdobiadene, Zardetto has been a leader in making sparkling wine for more than 40 years. This vibrant and refreshing, off-dry Prosecco is produced from carefully selected grapes grown on the finest hilltop vineyards, modern technology, and traditional practices that result in an acclaimed brut. Learn more about the grape-growing and production methods, and sample these wines that display the traditional flowery, fruity characteristics of Prosecco wines paired with Asiago & Sopressa Vicentina with Bellini; Salad of Kale, Radicchio & Pancetta; Risotto with Radicchio, Ubriaco & Chestnuts; Orata al Forno con Gli Aromi (Roasted Sea Bass with Herbs); and Crema Fritta (Fried Custard Cream). $65. Reserve your seat at centralmarket.com.

Under A Tuscan Sun

Thursday, May 8 from 6:30-9 p.m.

Antonio Sanguineti, winemaker/Principal of Sanguinetti Wines; Lorenzo Gatteschi, Winemaker/Owner of Podere Ciona; Alessandro Bocci, Winemaker/Owner of Perazetta Winery; and Luca Brunelli, Owner of Brunelli Wines

Join us for a festive wine dinner served family-style, featuring the winemaker/principal of Sanguinetti Wines; the winemaker/owner of Podere Ciona; the winemaker/owner of Perazetta Winery, and the owner of Brunelli Wines. While these experts discuss their wines and the special regions in which their grapes are grown, our Cooking School staff will demonstrate the techniques you’ll need to know to recreate this Tuscan feast: Cutting board of Tuscan cheeses paired with Antonio Sanguineti Vermentino IGT; Insalata Caprese with fresh Burrata paired with Antonio Sanguineti Chianti DOCG; Tagliatelle with Wild Boar in a tomato basil cream sauce paired with Perazetta Rita Sangiovese DOC; Roasted Duck with a mushroom demi-glace paired with Podere Ciona Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG; Fried Rice Fritters with a dark chocolate dipping sauce,; and strawberries paired with Brunelli Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. $65. Reserve your seat at centralmarket.com

Addison’s Fork & Cork Festival to debut in May

 

Move over, Taste of Addison, and make way for the Fork & Cork Festival to debut this May. Not only will this event be more intimate and support local organization Café Momentum, but it’s more centered on wine and other boozy items. (Now that’s my kind of shindig!)

This past week, I had the opportunity to preview the all-new culinary event, and it well exceeded my expectations. Stepping through the archways of foodie heaven, guests were greeted with a Ginger Basil Gimlet, music by local artist Kelsey Lewis, scents of food to come, and a picturesque dining scene. The gimlet had me hooked right away with its strong notes of ginger and artistic blend of gin. Those that aren’t very fond of ginger may have struggled with the drink, but it was right up my alley. I couldn’t imagine things getting much better, but then there was the open wine bar, signature Old Fashioned cocktails, and mixology lessons from Eddie “Lucky” Campbell. So yeah, it got better.

At dinnertime, the party settled down at a long, rustic farm table, which bolstered a communal, chatty atmosphere. Guests can look forward to this same ambience at the upcoming festival. It was a great feeling to have Addison Mayor, Todd Meier, thank us for our attendance when really it is all my pleasure. (I did have a date with Netflix that night, but if the city of Addison needs me to stuff my face with risotto balls, wood roasted mussels, grilled Texas Kobe skirt steak, sweet potato grits, wood fired pizza, and countless other delights, then I will gladly reschedule to lend a hand.)

Like I mentioned before, Fork & Cork is designed more to feature craft breweries, wineries, and spirit makers, so let’s get to the dranks. The highlight of the night was by far the presentation of a perfect Old Fashion by “Lucky,” who helped curate the drink menu at the new Vagabond restaurant on Greenville. Between his fiery personality and natural ease with the crowd, I felt like I was kickin’ it with one of the bros. His tips to a well-balanced drink make even someone like me feel like I could whip up a fine dining cocktail. (I am a connoisseur of cocktails and liquor, but ask me to make a drink and you may lose all faith in me.) Apparently, dilution can make the biggest difference in the flavor and strength of a cocktail. Don’t skimp on the ice or stirring because you are only selling your drink short. Another lesson is to use the freshest ingredients because it’s hard to go wrong when you have fresh flavors to work with.

Fork & Cork will take Addison back to its culinary roots May 16 and 17 with interactive cooking classes, bites from some of the best restaurants in the DFW area, cocktail tastings, wine and craft beer seminars, a cooking demo by Marcus Samuelsson (James Beard Award winning chef and current judge on ABC’s The Taste), and music from Texas legend Pat Green.

A portion of the proceeds from Friday night will benefit Café Momentum, a non-profit organization that teaches critical skills that allow youth to apply what they have been taught in re-release programs in a safe, real-world environment of nurturing accountability. Or, in Chad Houser’s own words, “Café Momentum helps teach kids to play with knives and fire…and the town of Addison approves.”

Buy your Fork & Cork Festival tickets here.

image

Below you can find “Lucky’s” Old Fashioned recipe:

2 oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

1 Sugar Cube

3 Dashes Angostura Bitters

1 Orange Peel (Squeezed)

Vanilla Mist

In a mixing glass:

Add sugar cube, Angostura, squeezed orange peel, and water. Smash ingredients with a muddle to break sugar cube. Add Buffalo Trace Bourbon and ice. Stir 56 times (or until sugar is dissolved). Strain over large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Squeeze a new orange peel over the surface, wipe around rim of glass, and place in cocktail. Spray vanilla mist over the surface of the Old Fashioned.

Event Recap: Mount Gay Rum Dinner at Sissy’s Souther Kitchen & Bar


Not a big rum fan? I can understand where you come from… From my earlier drinking days in high school…er… college, rum has always seemed like this girly liquor that was infused with fruity flavors like pineapple then mixed with even sweeter mixers and topped off with a paper umbrella. (Really?!) I am here to help change this bad rep rum has received from said rum experiences we’ve all had.

Mount Gay Rum recently invited me in for an evening of gorgeous cocktails and delicious food at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. Having gone to the event with an open mind about rum, I was more than enthused to be persuaded to join rum’s team. After receiving the first delicious cocktail from Sissy’s amazing bar staff using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, fresh herb-infused ice, veggies and juices (shown being made in the video above), I was sold! It was extremely refreshing to enjoy rum without the excess amount of sweet or sour flavors.

Throughout the evening, I was honored to try more cocktails of various styles paired with some amazing dishes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, so much so, Sissy’s offered to make an old fashioned-inspired cocktail using it! And yes, it was pretty amazing.

Next time you’re in the market for a new beverage, have your bartender whip something up using Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum. You have this bourbon-lover’s word that you won’t be sorry!

A Day with the Coppolas

I don’t like to play the “I got to do this and you didn’t” card, but I was recently invited to a couple events that were pretty incredible that I HAD to share with my readers.

I  was invited to spend an evening (along with about 100 of my closest friends) at Lakewood Theater with the one and only Francis Ford Coppola.  Even more amazingly, FFC Winery invited me to join Francis’ wife, Eleanor, for their “Women in Wine” lunch.

image

I’ll just say this … the whole day was incredible.  At lunch, I was among some of the most illustrious women in the Dallas wine scene in the Red Slippers Suite at the Hotel Zaza.  The fashionable gaggle of ladies was greeted with a glass of the Coppola Winery’s sparkling wine, Sofia Blanc de Blanc, and headed up to the suite for our three-course lunch by Dragonfly.  We were asked to go around the table and toast the woman to our left and right, but were told that Francis’ superstition was that, if you didn’t maintain eye contact during a toast, you were guaranteed eight years of bad sex.  Just to be safe … we all followed the instructions!

Each course welcomed incredible conversation to go with the great food and the perfectly-paired wines.  The first course was a Bluepoint Oyster Spring Roll with Tobiko Caviar Creme Fraiche paired with another glass of their Sofia Blanc de Blanc.  While we enjoyed this, Eleanor asked each of us to share why we love wine.  Each woman’s answer was incredibly different, but intriguing.

Eleanor then told us a bit about her life with Francis.  Did you know that she’s an accomplished film and sculpture artist who has shown throughout the world, an author, a documentary filmmaker?  She is, no doubt, the strong woman that made the man.

Our second delicacy was a Baby Kale Salad with house-cured duck ham paired with the 2012 Gia Pinot Noir, named for and created by Francis’ grand-daughter and director/screenwriter of the soon-to-be-released “Palo Alto”.  This wine is not yet available to the public, but when it is, get your hands on it as it’ll be perfect for a summer dinner on the patio.

The third course was Roasted Prime NY Strip Steak with Shitake Mushrooms paired with Eleanor’s own wine, Eleanor.  Eleanor had a large part in creating the wine whose label bears her name and her very own art, and the wine was as complex as the woman herself.

Dessert … oh dessert … was a buffet of some of Dragonfly’s favorites with more Sophia.  Dessert was actually sad as it meant that the experience was coming to an end.

Before adjourning, we were all given permission to call our gracious and dynamic hostess “Ellie”.  I’ll probably stick with Eleanor, but knowing there’s the option is kind of … awesome.

image

The evening held as many delights, including light bites and various Coppola wines poured generously throughout the event venue, the historic Lakewood Theater.  Francis spoke about his lifelong passion of filmmaking, his accidental yet fortuitous foray into the wine business, and most importantly, his family.  Hearing such an inimitable man speak about the small things in life that he enjoys, like writing songs for his grandchildren, was a real treat.

Overall, it was a really memorable day.  As much as I loved the Coppola wines, knowing the story behind some makes me love them even more!

Photo Credit: Lisa Stewart

Event Recap: La Marca Happy Hour at Times Ten Cellar

I am lucky to have some friends who can pinch hit when my day job heats up.  Thanks to Rachael Kohler for stepping in! (She’s also a legit sommelier, so her notes are going to be better than mine ever could be anyway!)  


written by Rachael Evans Kohler

Times Ten Cellar hosted the event, and was as rustic yet elegant as ever.

I was lucky enough to grab a minute with Carmen J. Castorina, Director of Communications for E&J Gallo Winery, and wine maker of La Marca, Fabrizio Gatto.  Both gentlemen were extremely charming and very enthusiastic on America’s perception of prosecco, and particularly the big interest from Texans!
I had the good luck to sit next to Meredith Steele, a food blogger/freelance food writer.  Her perception of the wine was interesting because she instantly commented on how friendly the wine was to the charcuterie we were enjoying. Not all wines are pleasant around cured meats, aged cheeses, and spiced sauces!
  • La Marca is now a DOC* and produces 35% of all prosecco in it’s designated region- biggest producer
  • They only produce this sparkling wine using the Charmat method, basically fermenting the juice in large tanks rather than inside the bottles as they do in Champagne.  This keeps it very light, fruity, and fresh.
  • They are not  trying to make a serious, intense, yeasty champagne-style wine, but rather a fan-pleasing style that goes with anyone, any food, and any time.
  • They’ve come a long way in the last 8 years, from two guys driving across the US trying to sell this unknown wine, to flying around the country to meet the demands of interested buyers.
  • The blue label and packaging are extremely close to “Tiffany Blue”- a point they swear is just coincidence … but one that works in their favor!
For the hour that I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  La Marca accomplished its intensions by opening up conversations, turning strangers into friends, and the demise of a delicious appetizer by everyone at the table.
*DOC means ”controlled designation of origin”.  Basically it is a classification of where a product came from. Read more.