The much-anticipated New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) of 2023 proved to be a spectacular celebration of culinary delights, with an array of engaging events that left food enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike spellbound. Among the various gatherings that adorned this year’s festival, the two-day Grand Tasting event stood out as a true testament to the spirit of gastronomic excellence.
Hosted at the conveniently located Pier 76 in Midtown West, the Grand Tasting event welcomed an eclectic mix of renowned chefs, sommeliers, and food aficionados from all corners of the world. Showcasing a diverse assortment of exquisite wines, spirits, and gourmet offerings, the event created an immersive experience that tantalized the senses and elevated the art of tasting to new heights. I happily discovered the wonders of Solo Scoop Creamery whose pretty pink flower covered cart you see in the above photo.
My favorite booths included Rosa Mexicano who served four kinds of empanadas and the French pavilion area that served escargot, macarons and more. Interactive culinary demonstrations and engaging discussions captivated the audience, offering a deeper understanding of the intricate nuances that define the art of gastronomy.
The center booth/major sponsor was Fairway, whose involvement in both the Trade Tasting and the Grand Tastings underscores their prominent role in the culinary world. The Fairway table had an infinite amount of cheese and gourmet snack tastings and not only that, they provided cans and bottles of cutting edge healthy beverage items. Just for the record, the Trade Tasting has many of the same vendors as the two day Grand Tasting but caters to business insiders and press.
The highlights of the Trade Tasting in my opinion were the booths by Cook Unity, Philippe Chow and Waverly Inn. Philippe Chow’s Chicken Satay—which was served in generous portions to event guests—is simply a knockout whether you devour it at an event or their posh midtown eatery!
I also attended the Best Of Brooklyn which made me fall in love with the cheeseburgers from vendor Red Hook Tavern. This was a crowded event with a dozen food booths as well as several sponsored bar areas held at the trendy 74Forsyth event space in Williamsburg. The Best Of Brooklyn event’s celebration of the local food scene not only highlighted the borough’s gastronomic diversity but also offered a platform for emerging and established vendors to showcase their unique culinary expertise. With its vibrant atmosphere and tantalizing offerings, the event exemplified the essence of Brooklyn’s rich culinary heritage, leaving attendees with a lasting appreciation of everything from local mom and pop shop vegan cuisine to Italian classics. I fell in love with the cavatelli with vodka sauce from the Spaghetti Cafe (pictured above).
I also went to the Blue Moon Burger Bash where all the prime ground beef was grass fed and grain finished—and supplied by the legendary Pat LaFrieda, king of the NY area prime meat business. This is always one of the top three most popular events during NYCWFF. Rachel Ray was the “mistress of ceremonies” and there was live music by various bands all night long as well as a few game booths where event attendees won food and travel related prizes.
The four-day fest ended with a special outdoor cookout event called Bacardi presents The Cookout: Hip Hop’s 50th Anniversary Celebration which featured dozens of black owned food businesses in the NYC area including the legendary Sylvia’s in Harlem. I did not score a ticket to that but it was wildly popular and my ticket food influencer friends said it was one for the record books and that they got to meet plenty of celebs including Reverend Run and DJ Cassidy, who were a couple of of the hosts.
Overall, the NYCWFF for 2023 proved to be a captivating celebration, uniting food enthusiasts and industry professionals in an unparalleled feast for the senses. As the festival concluded, the lingering flavors and the memories of this grand culinary affair continued to resonate, leaving a lasting impression on all those fortunate enough to be part of this extraordinary experience. There were discoveries of new dishes from around the world and as an example, I fell in love with the colorful pan fried buns called Jianbao from Mao Bao as pictured above.
Keep an eye on NYCWFF.org for the announcement of next year’s events. They usually publish a full schedule in late June. I know that I had a blast and you will, too. Most events are priced between $110 and $225 and include samples to take home, making it well worth your money—in other words. NYCWFF events are a valuable investment for food enthusiasts seeking a memorable and immersive culinary adventure.