Sunday, October 11, 2015

Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival 2015

All photos by Dean Igoe.

It was a spectacular weekend.  We were back at the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival 2015, this year invited for two days of sumptuous living, dining and sipping.  It is our most trés elegant event of the year and one we always look forward to as an official end to our Newport season.  

Absolute fun, great people and conversation and some unexpected finds filled the weekend.  Like, who would expect to fall in love with a fine pilsner beer made in Barcelona with ties to none other than the world's most famous chef Ferran Adria and the legendary el bulli at a wine festival?  Yet, there it was and we did.  We could explain more but here's a video we are sure you will love that kind of does that for us:  Estrella Damm.

Really, though, we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves.  We began on Friday night at the Wine At Rosecliff event, the very spot where The Great Gatsby was filmed.  We were greeted with flutes of Champagne Taittinger and joined the guests strolling down the rolling lawn overlooking Cliff Walk and the Bay and enjoying a nearly full moon rising over the shimmering water.

We strolled from room to elegant room meeting and chatting with the wineries and tasting incredible bites from restaurants nationwide.  More on the wines later.  The Maple Leaf Farms Duck by Chef Bruce Moffett was incredible.  Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Cream was followed by Jacques Pepin's Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce.  Need we say more?

We had our run of the entire first floor and lawn, including the ornate, art-filled, formal dining room and reception rooms, the portico and it's famous fountain with lawn that leads down to the ocean and even photographed a wedding proposal.  Congratulations to DJ and Stephanie!

And what's better after filling up on rich foods and fine wines than to dance the night away to the sounds of Big Band music?

The next morning brought us to Marble House for the Grand Tasting.  The experience is incomparable, especially when the weather cooperates as it did this year:  sunshine and warm temperatures with a perfect ocean breeze. This photogenic jewel is the Salmon Mousse Cake provided by Blackstone Caterers who took over the Chinese Tea House Pagoda for tastings.  Did people really live like this all the time?

There were dozens and dozens of wines we tried and loved.  Again, more on that in a separate post. Then there were the restaurants, many from Boston, serving up delectable finds savory and sweet.

The view from the Tea House overlooks, again, the Cliff Walk and water.  People gathered for impromptu mini-picnics on the lawn.

The event seemed less-crowded this year and more intimate with lots of new vendors and restaurants and wineries eager to talk details rather than just pour.  All in all, a wonderful indulgence and a rare treat.  we met people from all over the country who make the annual Autumnal trek to New England just for this event.  And a worthy trip it is.

All photos by Dean Igoe.

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