Savor – CT Food & Wine show

Savor – CT Food & Wine show

The “Savor” celebration of wine, food and spirits took place on April 10-11, 2015 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. It was an amazing celebration spotlighting top talent across the culinary industry.

Savor - CT Food & Wine event

Savor – CT Food & Wine event

The two-day celebration featured two sessions of the Grand Tasting, both Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Also, the event included a “Savor in Style” Charity gala on Saturday evening.

As you entered the conference center for the Grand Tasting, there were hundreds of wine glasses ready for you to use in sampling the wines and spirits from CT distributors.

Hundreds of wine glasses were ready for you to use in sampling the wines and spirits from CT distributors.

Hundreds of wine glasses were ready for you to use in sampling the wines and spirits from CT distributors.

Many of the exhibitors focused on quality, bringing some of their “top-shelf” bottles for guests to try.

Top-shelf spirits for sampling!

Top-shelf spirits for sampling!

Did anyone say cocktails!?!

Did anyone say cocktails!?!

There was an array of wine, spirits, beers, craft beers and hard cider distributors. It was a great opportunity to expand your palate and try something you wouldn’t normally try (e.g., oxtail croquettes, cauliflower taco, foie gras bratwurst, calamari ceviche).

90 Cellars Wines

90 Cellars Wines

You were sure not to leave thirsty…or hungry!

The event also featured a tremendous assortment of culinary eats from top chefs and restaurants around the state! It was the best I’ve seen so far this year!

Chefs Tyler Anderson from Millwrights and Jaime McDonald from Bear’s Smokehouse

Chefs Tyler Anderson from Millwrights and Jaime McDonald from Bear’s Smokehouse

I was able to catch up with two of my favorite chefs – Tyler Anderson from Millwrights and Jaime McDonald from Bear’s Smokehouse, along with The Bear’s Smokehouse bear.

Millwrights featured their faro risotto - delicious!

Millwrights featured their faro risotto – delicious!

Bears featured their smoked brisket sliders and Millwrights featured their faro risotto.

A few of the other restaurants featured included: Barcelona

Barcelona's with several locations in CT.

Barcelona’s with several locations in CT.

Octagon Restaurant at the Mystic Marriott

Octagon restaurant at the Mystic Marriott

Octagon restaurant at the Mystic Marriott

Max Restaurants had a main booth with Chef Scott Miller. And many of the Max Restaurants also were present.

Max Restaurant's chef Scott Miller

Max Restaurant’s chef Scott Miller

NIXS restaurant was serving up their lobster and crab stuffed tater tots

NIXS restaurant chefs were serving lobster and crab stuffed tater tots - YUM!

NIXS restaurant chefs were serving lobster and crab stuffed tater tots – YUM!

And ON20’s chef Lizotte was offering samples of turducken pate – hence my opportunity to try something I wouldn’t normally try. It was interesting.

ON20’s chef Lizotte was offering samples of turducken pate

ON20’s chef Lizotte was offering samples of turducken pate

Plan B restaurants was showcasing their award-winning burger sliders and bourbons. I love their burger tower!

The Plan B burger tower!

The Plan B burger tower!

There were many other CT-based restaurants represented at the event – all showcasing their chefs and specialty dishes.

In addition, you could also find other food & beverage-related exhibitors like our friends from Shearwater Coffee

Ed from Shearwater Coffee

Ed from Shearwater Coffee

Whole Foods markets had a dessert sampling

Whole Foods markets had a dessert sampling

Whole Foods markets had a dessert sampling

And Carol’s Eggs were having folks guess how many eggs were in the glass cylinder. Carol’s offers pasture-raised organic eggs from small flocks on small family farms.

Carol’s Eggs were having folks guess how many eggs were in the glass cylinder.

Carol’s Eggs were having folks guess how many eggs were in the glass cylinder.

Another highlight to the grand tasting was the celebrity chef demonstrations. First on stage was Mary Ann Esposito. She’s the creator and host of the PBS series Ciao Italia.

Me posing with Mary Ann Esposito and talking about Italian food!

Me posing with Mary Ann Esposito and talking about Italian food!

Marking its 25th anniversary, it’s the longest cooking series in television history.

 

Next up was the headlining celebrity chef for the event, Robert Irvine. He is the host of Food Network’s Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible.

Chef Robert Irvine is the host of Food Network’s Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible...and one big guy!

Chef Robert Irvine is the host of Food Network’s Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible…and one big guy!

Marc Summers, who’s a television producer, personality and host, joined him. Currently Summers is the executive producer of Restaurant Impossible.

Chef Irvine and Marc Summers

Chef Irvine and Marc Summers

Chef Irvine cooked with some audience members to create a simple and flavorful chicken thighs dish in minutes.

A simple and flavorful chicken thighs dish that Chef Irvine prepared with audience participants.

A simple and flavorful chicken thighs dish that Chef Irvine prepared with audience participants.

Chef Irvine did an exemplary job at recognizing the men and women in the armed forces. In addition, a portion of Savor’s proceeds was donated to the Robert Irvine Foundation, a not-for-profit that honors men and women defending our country.

 

Finally, Chef Ming Tsai took the stage. Ming hosts the public television show called Simply Ming, which is in its 12th season. He’s also chef and owner of Blue Ginger and Blue Dragon restaurants in the Boston area.

Chef Ming Tsai hosts the public television show called Simply Ming.

Chef Ming Tsai hosts the public television show called Simply Ming.

The chefs were wonderful at interacting with each other.

Chefs Mary Ann Esposito and Ming Tsai

Chefs Mary Ann Esposito and Ming Tsai

I loved the banter between Ming, Esposito and Irvine!

 

The entire Savor event was fabulous and extremely well planned. Already, Savor announced the dates for next year’s event. It will take place at the same location on April 8-9, 2016. Mark your calendars, as it’s an event you will not want to miss!

Savor announced the dates for next year’s event -- April 8-9, 2016.

Savor announced the dates for next year’s event — April 8-9, 2016.

 

Have you ever been to a food and wine festival?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was provided with complimentary tickets the SavorCT event, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event.

SavorCT Preview Party

SavorCT Preview Party

In April 2015, a new event will be debuting in Hartford, CT called Savor. Presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino, Savor will be an extraordinary weekend of food, wine, beer and spirits tastings, live cooking demonstrations, a lavish charity gala and more.

Savor will be an extraordinary weekend of food, wine, beer and spirits tastings, live cooking demonstrations, a lavish charity gala and more.

Savor will be an extraordinary weekend of food, wine, beer and spirits tastings, live cooking demonstrations, a lavish charity gala and more.

To be held April 10-11, 2015 at the Connecticut Convention Center, Robert Irvine, star of Restaurant Impossible on Food Network, will host Savor. Savor will spotlight some of the world’s top culinary talent including Ming Tsai, Mary Ann Esposito, and Marc Summers to name a few. A portion of Savor’s proceeds will be donated to a deserving charity.

Robert Irvine, star of Restaurant Impossible on Food Network, will host the Savor event.

Robert Irvine, star of Restaurant Impossible on Food Network, will host the Savor event.

In preparation for the “big event,” an exclusive chef reception was held recently to sample some of what’s to come at the Savor event. I was invited to the preview event and experienced an intimate tasting of sumptuous fare, delightfully paired with a selection of fine wines. The Connecticut Convention center’s chefs prepared tastings of some decadent dishes.

The Connecticut Convention center’s chefs prepared tastings of some decadent dishes.

The Connecticut Convention center’s chefs prepared tastings of some decadent dishes.

PSavor 7

Prosciutto wrapped figs

 

One of my favorites that I sampled was the roasted butternut squash and ricotta ravioli tossed with veal and sage ragu.

Roasted butternut squash and ricotta ravioli tossed with veal and sage ragu was one of my favorites!

Roasted butternut squash and ricotta ravioli tossed with veal and sage ragu was one of my favorites!

Chef Franck Iglesias from Foxwoods Resort Casino prepared an amazing array of sweet temptations as well.

Chef Franck Iglesias from Foxwoods Resort Casino

Chef Franck Iglesias from Foxwoods Resort Casino

Push-up pops layered mousse dessert

Push-up pops layered mousse dessert

Savor will be held on April 10-11, 2015 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Over the two days, the event will feature two sessions of a “Sip, Savor and Stroll” Grand Tasting, a Charity Gala and the Chandon Bubble Lounge. Tickets for Savor are currently on sale, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the newly created Robert Irvine Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that honors the men and women serving in the US Armed Forces. To purchase tickets visit SavorCT.com.

Tickets for Savor are currently on sale -- don't miss out!

Tickets for Savor are currently on sale — don’t miss out!

 

Have you ever been to the food and wine festival?

Who’s your favorite local chef?

 

Disclaimer:  While I was invited to the SavorCT Preview Party by their marketing/PR team, the opinions and views expressed above are my own and describe my personal experience at the event.