The Event of the Year
The marketing message pretty much says it all, without undue hype: There really is nothing like The MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival, which happens March 6-10. International winemakers and chefs team with world-class local chefs to make spectacular food and wine events in unique venues around the Brandywine Valley and Delaware’s Culinary Coast, including Rehoboth Beach. All in all, there will be more than 40 events, from wine dinners to beer and spirits tastings to a pop-up restaurant to gourmet lunches. The highlight: a 1,000-Point Wine Tasting (that’s a tasting of 10 100-point wines), a black-tie Gala Winemakers Dinner and Live Wine Auction, and a Gospel Brunch. Among the special events will be the MasterChef Rematch, when six former contestants from all three seasons of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “MasterChef,” including past winner Jennifer Behm of Wilmington, show off their culinary skills and tell stories from the show. In “He Said Beer, She Said Wine,” local brewer Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and noted wine author Marnie Old will debate whether beer or wine pairs better with food. This multi-course dinner is served on the stage at The Grand Opera House. And there is more. Events will be held at such magnificent venues as the 100-year-old Hotel du Pont, World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, the former estate home Oberod in chateau country and the Vicmead Hunt Club, as well as a few stunning private homes. You need to buy tickets now, because they don’t last. Hit midatlanticwineandfood.com.
Cooking Up Fun
It’s mid-winter at the beach and some of your favorite places are closed for a few more weeks. So what do you do? Head to Big Fish Grill in Rehoboth for cooking class. Bring ready hands and an ample appetite. You’ll learn how to prepare some of the most popular items on the menu, including how to cut a whole fish. The next sessions, 10 a.m. till 1 p.m., are Feb. 6 and Feb. 23. Themes change, and you can always suggest one. Classes are $75—a small price to pay for fun. Not at the beach? You can always dine at the Big Fish restaurants on the Wilmington Riverfront and in the Brinton Lakes Shopping Center in Glen Mills, Pa. 227-9007, bigfishgrill.com
Crabby is Good
We love the sound of this: special stone crab claw meals at Harry’s Seafood Grill on the Wilmington Riverfront every Wednesday in February. Drop in to see what the menu brings. The crab dish is always paired with special wine. Make your rezzies now. 777-1500, harrys-savoy.com/seafood/
Last year, the excellent Soffritto Italian Grill in Newark was named Premio Ospitalita Italiana, meaning it’s one of the most authentically Italian restaurants in the United States. That’s a pretty big endorsement, and they’re going for it again now. You can help by voting at www.10q.it (though you’ll have to puzzle through some of the Italian to figure it out), which gives you a pretty good opportunity to win a trip to Italy. Use code 1303. Then call the restaurant to make reservations for Valentine’s Day, which will feature a special menu from chefs Stafania Panza and Antonio Ramos—and a strolling violinist from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m. Anytime, try delicious meal such as veal with with roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, shiitakes and white mushrooms in a Chablis-brandy demiglaze cream and, for dessert, delicious caramel panna cotta with chocolate ganache. We like. 455-1101, soffritto.com
Vegetarians and vegetable lovers, keep your eyes peeled for this one: Rehoboth Beach VegFest, a free outdoor celebration of vegetarian eating. Intended to be an annual event, this one goes down June 1. Emcee Deb Griffin—a very cool lady—can tell all. Details to follow as exhibitors and speakers sign on. For more, email info@RehobothVegFest.com.