Column: Food, wine and thou

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Ken Arnone is a master chef who will give a cooking demo and hold a book signing at the upcoming event. Contributed Photos

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Tanya Steel is the editor-in-chief of www.epicurious.com. She will be a judge of the food at the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival.

Lisa-JardineI’m hungry just writing
this story.

To me, there really isn’t anything better to do on a fall Sunday afternoon than eat great food, drink quality wine and listen to live music. On Sept. 22 in the Village of Scarsdale, there is a wonderful opportunity to do all three.

The first annual Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival will be held throughout the village and 75 of the most delicious restaurants in the county will be in attendance to cook their signature dishes. I’ve read up on which restaurants are attending and what they’ll be cooking and I can assure you this event is one not to be missed.

This is not your corn dog and cotton candy street fair. This is a fully tented, rain or shine affair with valet parking and free shuttles to area parking lots. There will be two live bands, a DJ, cooking demonstrations, book signings by celebrity chefs, tips on nutrition and healthy eating, great giveaways and an entire area with activities for the kids. But, of course, the raison d’etre is the food and wine.
The bounty ranges from shucked oysters to braised beef short ribs over polenta to Hudson Valley duck confit to mini Argentinian empanadas.

Getting hungry?
The dessert lineup is just as impressive and you might even be able to score one of this summer’s biggest food craze, the Cronut.

And that’s just the food.
There will be a Zachy’s beverage tent—21 and older, please—where, for one small flat fee, you will be able to sample more than 200 wines and a number of craft beers.

Rich Baumer, founder and president of the Southern West­chester Food and Wine Festival, did his research before putting his plan into action.

“Last year the Village of Scarsdale hosted The Taste of Scarsdale, which was an event on a smaller scale. The Chamber of Commerce wanted to do something bigger this year to show off the village and all it has to offer. They asked me to get involved and, after visiting the two biggest food and wine festivals—Aspen and South Beach—we came up with our own unique version for Scarsdale,” Baumer said.

The festival also has a charitable arm to it. It will highlight the work of Food Bank for Westchester, WhyHunger, the Don Bosco Community Center and Greystone Bakery with a sponsor event and fundraiser on Friday evening.

Tanya Steele, the editor-in-chief of www.epicurious.com, will be on hand to judge the best food samples at the fair.

“I’m excited to be part of the Southern Westchester Food and Wine Festival as it gives us all an opportunity to celebrate and sample the depth and breadth of great food in our area. From the tacquerias in Port Chester to the spectacular Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, Westchester is rich in amazing restaurants, bakeries and even ingredients,” Steele said.

Steele was one of the judges of Michelle Obama’s 2013 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. She’ll bring the junior chef winners from the tri-state area with her and they will be cooking their winning entries.

Chef Ken Arnone is one of the celebrity chefs who will be demonstrating at the festival. He is a certified master chef, one of only 67 in the United States, the highest certification level a chef can receive. He believes that eating beautifully every day shouldn’t be difficult. Well, at least not for the consumer. He and his partners at www.dcuisine.com have spent thousands of hours perfecting the art of preparing exquisite food and have come up with a way to deliver single-serving soups and entrées to your home flash frozen. Imagine, a master chef’s cooking in your kitchen. He will prepare one of his most sought-after cuisine dishes—lobster and corn chowder—at the festival. I immediately went online and ordered several of his meals. I’m looking forward to trying his food both at home and at the festival.

The cooking demonstrations are free of charge, but if you want to sample any of the food being served by the 75 restaurants you will need to buy tickets. They can be purchased ahead of time online at: sowefwf.com/tickets. Each ticket is $4. The wine and beer tasting village is $20. Your tickets will be waiting for you at will call. You can also purchase tickets on the day, but there may be lines. Parking is plentiful and free shuttle buses will run all day long on scheduled routes to nearby parking lots. There is no entrance fee to the Grand Tasting Village, stretching out over Chase Road, Spencer Place, Harwood Court and Boniface Circle in Scarsdale.

Full information is available for all events, music, kids’ zone, book signing, chef demonstrations, parking, shuttles, ticket prices, etc., at www.sowefwf.com.

I think I might just have to fast for a few days ahead of time so I can try it all.
“I’m always on the lookout for a great story, an amazing restaurant, an unusual day trip or a must-see cultural event in Westchester County”
Jardine-SOWE
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