Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cleveland’s Fabulous Food Show Has Star Power Plus Wine

Michael Symon

For a decade, the Fabulous Food Show has been the premier culinary celebration in the Cleveland area. It features some of the top chefs in the world, educational sessions, vendors galore and plenty to delight wine lovers and foodies alike.

Michael Symon’s Lessons From Around The Dinner Table

We returned to the Fabulous Food Show for our third time. For the first two we volunteered as pourers in the Wine Pavilion. This time, we decided to skip the booth duty so we could fully enjoy the event.

Fab Food ShowA high point of the event for us was Michael Symon. Symon is a hometown favorite, having grown up in Cleveland and is the owner of several successful local restaurants. He is know to millions through his Iron Chef status and his shows on the Food Network.

Symon mentions that although he has now found a degree of success, his upbringing was very modest. It centered around the delicious homecooked meals that his mother would make. Even when opening Lola, his first restaurant, he had to make economical meals at home.

“Opening Lola took every penny we had – and there weren’t many pennies,” he said. Even now he says his family doesn’t want to wait for four hours while he prepares a gourmet meal – so being practical as well as delicious is important. As he whipped up a carrot vegetable salad and vinaigrette salad dressing, he shared quips about the Cleveland Browns as well as cooking wisdom.

“Learn the techniques and not the recipes,” was a nugget of wisdom that struck home. He said people may be polite if you say you don’t use salt, but “if you don’t cook with salt, your food sucks.”

His appearance was delightful, engaging and informative. We also were able to see Aaron Sanchez and “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro.

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There’s Fabulous Wine As Well

Fab Food Show WineFor lunch we noshed on some barbeque brisket (me) and shrimp and grits (Green Dragon) from a couple of food trucks. Then we entered into the Wine Pavilion area armed with souvenir glasses and a handful of tasting tickets.

Once again the Finger Lakes Wine Country booth was a center of attraction. Standing Stone Vineyards, Glenora, Hazlitt 1852 and Wagner were featured wineries.

From Standing Stone we particularly enjoyed the Dry Chenin Vidal and the Riesling Ice. Glenora’s Cabernet Franc and Wagner’s Cabernet Sauvignon also hit the mark.

Laurie Poland, of Finger Lakes Wine Country, and Katie Roller from Wagner Winery presided at the Finger Lakes wine pavilion, which had some great programming focused on the cool climate wines from that region.

Ohio Wines In The Spotlight

One of our new favorite wineries in Ohio is M Cellars. Their Meritage is outstanding and we love their focus on dry wines. How many other Ohio wines produce Rkatsiteli? For the first time we sampled their 2013 Terroir Red,which is a blend 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Noiret, with some additional Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Lovely tastes of cranberry and earth!

Apollo RieslingAt the Wine Buzz pavilion we sat in on a presentation by the Grand River Valley Winegrowers. We got a sip of the St. Joseph Cask wine, which is a nice complex red. Joel Fink of Fantasy Candies provided chocolates for a pairing program. The Ferrante Grand River Valley Riesling and his truffle were a divine match!

We sipped and savored wines from around the globe and came away with two more favorites: the Von Schleinitz Apollo Dry Riesling from Germany and the Ghostrider red blend from Lodi, California.

Our tastings were interspersed with tours down the aisles to look at kitchen gadgets, taste samples and chat with foodies. We capped the evening with dinner at AMP 150, one of our favorite restaurants in the area.

Mark your calendars now for next year’s Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland. You won’t go away hungry – or thirsty either!

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