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  • Writer's pictureChristina Kach

Festival of the Arts 2021: Winning Pairings

Best of the Fest - Wine Edition - Part 2! This time we've got the stand out food & wine pairings...with an exceptionally delicious honorable mention at the end.

The biggest change this year was all the available tables! (Okay, it is because of COVID and masks and not being able to eat while walking...trying to see the positive). Yes, all the tables (thank you Disney!). Not once did I have to dine on a trashcan (no shame in that game, you'll see it all the time). In a way, having to pull over and eat stationary, heightened the enjoyment of the treats. You were more focused on the food than rushing to the next showing of American Adventure. Note to self to slow down and full enjoy the treats in non-COVID festivals to come.

And now, I present to you, the winning food & wine pairings of the 2021 Festival of the Arts! (Photos down below)

  • Cuisine Classique (near Germany): Red wine braised beef short rib paired with the Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva Art Series. The beef dish is amazing, savory and rich. This spanish red wine offered at this booth is bold enough to stand up to the savory and rich flavors of the beef while complimenting the fruity notes of the red wine sauce.

  • Goshiki (Japan): Sushi Donut and Masu Sake. This delightful sake was featured as a solo standout in Part 1 ("Winning Wines"). It is even BETTER sipped in between bites of the booth's sushi donut. Around the donut is different cuts of fish; each new bite a new flavor. The sake works to cleanse the flavors between each bite while also elevating each unami-filled bite.

  • L'Art de la Cuisine Française: My oh my, the croissant. Flaky and sweet outside, warm and savory inside. It is magic really. The Croissant à la Truffle Noir d'Hiver (black winter truffle croissant) has repeatedly shown up on "best of the fest"lists since the opening of the festival. For good reason - it is delicious. Like, impressively so. While this dish certainly doesn't need wine to appreciate each bite, you'd be doing yourself a disservice not to enjoy a class of the red Bordeaux with it. The Bordeaux (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes - typical of a red bordeaux) works because pairing local delicacies with local wines always works. Cabernet Sauvignon brings a deep, rich earthy component to the wine; well matched to the truffle filling. The included Merlot gives you a lighter body and sweet edge that ensures the wine doesn't overpower the flaky croissant dough. Personally, this combo is a great right-at-11am-when-the-booths-open selection. Feels like you are kicking the day off with a really classy brunch treat *adjusts monocle*

  • The Masterpiece Kitchen (near Canada): This pairing was so delicious I forgot to take a photo until the wine was half drunk and my plate was half eaten. THAT good. Treat yourself to this same delight by purchasing the Wild Mushroom Risotto (must love mushrooms) and The Meeker Vineyard Winemaker's Handprint Merlot. Yum, yum, yum. Merlot gets a bad rap (thanks "Sideways") for being average, plain, too basic. It isn't. This one isn't. And paired with the risotto - you may even *gasp* START at Canada instead of Mexico.

  • The Masterpiece Kitchen (near Canada): TWO from this booth. This booth delivered. This second winner from Masterpiece is a dessert pairing. The vanilla, rose water and pistachio panna cotta with the Pinord La Dama Reserva Familiar Brut sparkling wine. While I highly recommend enjoying your sparkling wine with all courses of a meal, not just appetizers, desserts and celebrations, this one really makes for a tasty (and beautiful) dessert pairing. The panna cotta is so flavorful, but also light and airy. The brut (meaning dry) sparkler is light-bodied (it doesn't over power the dessert) and has creamy, delicate bubbles that are refreshing. The toasty nature of the sparkling pairs well with the vanilla notes of the panna cotta, while the citrus notes give it that crispness that goes so well with the dessert. And do let your camera eat first on this one - the panna cotta is beautifully plated and the bouncing bubbles next to it scream elegance.

Non-Wine Delicious Honorable Mention

  • Vibrante & Vívido Food Studio (between Morocco and France): This booth, not being tied to a specific country and a bit off the the side, can be missed if you aren't looking for it. Look for it. And get yourself the Passion Fruit Mousse and Passion Fruit Daiquiri. Like flavors often pair well with like flavors. The thread of passion fruit through the dessert and the drink harmoniously come together on the palate for a tasty taste bud treat.

What is your favorite festival pairing this year? Can't make it to the Festival of the Arts this year - What treats do you wish you go enjoy?

~Cheers & Ears

Red Bordeaux and Black Winter Truffle Croissant
Honorable Mention: Passion Fruit Mousse & Pass Fruit Daiquiri
Sushi Donut and Masu Sake
Figment is so excited for Panna Cotta he blocked the Pinord bubbles
Braised Beef Short Rib and Rioja
Wild Mushroom Risotto and Merlot

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