I spent the morning at the Nantucket Wine Festival’s inaugural Culinary Marketplace event, which took place under the Culinary Tent on Children’s Beach and was filled with samples of some fantastic edibles from on- and off-island sources. Here’s what stood out to me:
- Hand-pulled mozzarella and burrata from Petticoat Row Bakery.
- The best coffee I’ve ever tasted: Jim’s Organic Coffee. It tasted so clean, just pure unadulterated coffee. Nothing more and nothing less. I bet it’s the whole no pesticides or GMOs deal.
- Incredible quality beef from Creekstone Farms. “Now THAT is a steak!” I exclaimed to the guy serving the meat. I could eat that stuff for breakfast. (Since this was at 10 am, I guess I just did.) I can only imagine how delicious their beef would be with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.
New York Times Chief Wine Critic Eric Asimov gave a brief talk, and touched on prying the idea of wine-loving from the sole grip of the upper crust and pouring it onto the level of the everyday person. He emphasizes that wines needn’t have astronomical price tags to taste wonderful and interesting. Still, you can’t get away with just grabbing the first bottle you see that costs more than five bucks; quality wine is a far cry from the bladders of wine that many of us thought were just exquisite while we were in college. The most important part of learning about wine is learning what YOU like. Even the world’s top vintner cannot argue with that. “Wine is very much a personal journey,” Asimov said.
The juniors and seniors of Nantucket High School’s Culinary Arts program were bustling all around the tent as they assisted the visiting chefs who were doing demos throughout the day. They also served samples of their homemade jam that they crafted from Nantucket cranberries, which were donated by a local bog. NHS Culinary Arts instructor and program founder Chef Bob Buccino was looking quite proud of his students.
It was only $30 to get in, in part because—as opposed to the much pricier events—this event only offers food and (non-alcoholic) beverage samples. (Sorry, oenophiles.) At the same time, that means you can bring the kiddos and give them a taste of fine foods for much less than you’d pay for such a mishmash at a fancy restaurant.
The Culinary Marketplace opened at 10 am and didn’t close its doors ’til 4 pm this afternoon, giving guests a solid chunk of time to fill up on deliciousness and knowledge. Attendees were able to come and go as they pleased throughout that six-hour duration. If you missed it this year, fear not: I’m sure they’ll bring it back again. If only they’d hold it during non-working hours, it could be accessible to many of the working people of Nantucket, for whom they say this event was inserted into the program. It’s a great idea in theory, but the festival directors need to get acquainted with the people who live and work on Nantucket. I was not surprised to see that this event was not well-attended.
Editorial Assistant, Yesterday’s Island / Today’s Nantucket