A couple of weeks ago I attended one of the premier food and wine events in the country and as someone who doesn’t know much about wine and wants to know more, I was so excited to see what I could learn.
Delicious Penne Vodka from Assiaggo.
Here are ten observations I made during my first visit to Taste Washington:
- 1. Water is VERY important -
Drinking lots of water is key to attending an event like this. It is just so warm with all the people and really easy to become dehydrated when tasting all this terrific food and wine.
Water is also very useful at a wine event for rinsing out your glass in between tastes.
And frozen into cubes, it helps to keep all those pours of white icy cold.
- 2. Red Mountain isn’t really a mountain -
It’s a steep slope on the eastern edge of the Yakima Valley where some of the finest wineries in Washington source their grapes, like this lovely Syrah I tasted from Obelisco Estate.
And these selections from Auclair Winery.
- 3. Dessert should be fun -
Who doesn’t love dessert that comes in little jars!
And, what about ice cream that can be made using liquid nitrogen?
Dessert and science make for a tasty combination!
Science also plays a part in producing these fresh handcrafted truffles made at Intrigue Chocolate Co. with all natural flavor ingredients. In fact, some flavors are only available seasonally as they are sourced directly from farmer’s market produce.
- 4. Wine doesn’t have to be stuffy -
For your next girls night in, try this Girly Girl wine – a line of wine with distinct personalities. Each varietal portrays a different female character complete with her own personality.
Wine can also have fun names like this Ded.Recogning label from Compass Wines.
Or this bottle of Jet Black. Alexandria Nicole Cellars has lovely wines, but they don’t take themselves too seriously – in fact, the lady pouring my taste told me that many of the employees can be heard singing AC/DC’s “Back in Black” when this varietal is released.
- 5. Wine can pair well with cased meat -
Of course I have enjoyed my wine and cheese with salami many times.
But wine infused charcuterie takes it to a whole new level!
Even a simple beef frank (though the incomparable Dante’s Inferno Dogs are anything but simple tasting!) can pair well with a bold red.
Something a but more spicy is also great with reds.
This Gard Vintners Vaucluse red was amazing paired with the Cajan Andouille from Uli’s.
But I also learned one has to be careful when snapping photos…
If you nab the attention of the vendor, you’ll get the “good shot”, but you just might be challenged to eat the entire link!
Quite a feat three quarters of the way into tasting an event with over 200 wineries and 75 food purveyors.
- 6. Go for the VIP treatment -
The VIP tent is a great upgrade – a fantastic place to recharge and not have to wait too long in a line.
It also has the fanciest food.
And the most refreshing Rose.
- 7. Some of my favorite food tastes of the day came from food trucks -
I just love the Barking Frog and the sweet potato and lamb chorizo croquettes did not disappoint!
Did you know that Seattle has a Paleo food truck?
This grilled lamb with Harissa sauce and cauliflower pilaf was out of this world – you would never know you were missing a thing!
And, of course, you’ve got to have dessert.
Street Treats is one of my favorite food trucks in Seattle and she was doing it up right with delicious baked goods and handmade ice cream concoctions.
While I was standing at the truck a customer was gushing on and on about Street Treats own special crispy treats! I know – they are delish!
- 8. Chicken and waffles = good
I’m not a huge fan of sweet with my savory, so chicken and waffles has never really appealed to me – but this! Oh my!
Mini Thai style fried chicken & kimchi waffles with a little pipette of spicy sauce from Kaisho in Bellevue. Wow! What a surprise!
- 9. There are a thousand and one things you can do with wine corks -
Oh, what a Pinterest-worthy day it was for wine corks!
Sometimes the simpler the better – paired with a pretty spring bouquet these corks in a wooden wine box look so elegant.
What a fun way this would be to light up your wine station at a home gathering.
Wine corks were even used to display the food. This black pepper crusted pork tenderloin crostini with cherry compote looked just as good as it tasted.
- 10. I need a wine get-a-way –
Even if it’s only to Woodinville to visit the many tasting rooms of these wineries (such as EFESTE, where I can’t wait to have a little more of this outstanding Upright!)
and the new Hollywood tavern,
where I can get some more of these luscious smoked Aji Amarillo honey chicken wings with blue cheese!
But I also wouldn’t mind venturing a bit further from the city. Like to Swiftwater Estates.
This family friendly, destination winery – in a great setting near Roslyn in the heart of the Cascades – is only a one-hour drive from Seattle. Located in the Suncadia Resort with access to four-season activities – golf, river rafting, fishing, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc.
With an outstanding line-up of wines, it is also host to a great restaurant, Hoist House, serving terrific food. The restaurant features a patio that overlooks the golf course and mountains.
I think it would be fun to make a trek over there for a concert or event. Swiftwater hosts a series of concerts annually on the grounds and Wine in the Pines, a tasting event on Labor Day weekend, is one of several wine-focused activities held each year.