September Food Events to Look Forward to

Jersey chefs cook for a cause, tapas time at Zeppelin Hall in Jersey City, a wine pairing dinner in Cape May, whiskey education in Fairfield and more.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

The Tasting: An Evening with Master Chefs on the Hudson
Monday, September 16, 6–10pm

If you like your nights star-studded and your money going to a good cause, next Monday night’s event at Battello in Jersey City is right up your alley. That’s when more than a dozen top tier Jersey chefs will be putting their skills together for the tasting gala of your dreams, with proceeds going to benefit Eva’s Village in Paterson. Tickets are pricey (General Admission is $350) but the lineup is no joke: A.J. Capella of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown; Leia Gaccione of South + Pine in Morristown and Central + Main in Madison; Anthony Bucco of Felina in Ridgewood; Jamie Knott of the Saddle River Inn, the Saddle River Cafe and, in Jersey City, Cellar 335; David Viana of Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge, among others, plus event co-chairs, chef Ryan DePersio of Battello (and Fascino in Montclair and the Kitchen Step in Jersey City) and Robbie Felice of Osteria Crescendo in Westwood and Viaggio in Wayne. Beer, wine, cocktails and mocktails will flow, as will music and the Hudson River. If you’re having qualms about the expense, remember it’s for a very good cause: Eva’s Village not only helps those facing food scarcity, homelessness, addiction and poverty but it launched an on-site culinary school where present and former clients can take advantage of training in the culinary arts to find new direction and job opportunities. Now that you’ve decided, tickets can be purchased online. Battello, 502 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City; 201-798-1798

Spanish Tapas at Zeppelin Hall Biergarten
September 6-22

Jersey City biergarten Zeppelin Hall is better known for things like Bavarian pretzels and massive steins of Hefeweizen, but from September 6-22, they’re serving up a taste of Spain with a menu dedicated to “Tapas: The Art of the Small Plate.” Special guest chef Juan Antonio Sanchez has joined ranks with Zeppelin Hall’s executive chef Franco Robazetti to create this temporary tapas menu—showcasing the delectable small plates tradition of Spain and Spanish drinking culture (so a biergarten isn’t a bad fit). If you’re unfamiliar with tapas, imagine smaller portions of deeply flavorful dishes designed to accompany rounds of wine, beer, and/or good company. There will be 13 dishes in total—things like garlicky Gamas Al Ajillo (head-on Tiger shrimp), Croquetas con Jamon Serrano, and even a “house farm plate,” or Tablas a la Finca, a mix of Spanish delicacies like olives, Manchego, and Pata Negra Ham. Dishes range from $6 to $17. Zeppelin Hall, 88 Liberty View Drive, Jersey City; 201-721-8888

Tapas and Cape May Wine Pairing Dinner at Natali Vineyards
Saturday, September 7 and Saturday, September 21, 6:30–8:30pm

If you haven’t ever tried wine from the Cape May Peninsula and/or want to steal a bit more summer from the season before that fall jacket really becomes a daily necessity, either of these wine dinners is a good option. In fact, Natali Vineyard’s own founder is the one who successfully lobbied for the region to a wget its AVA designation, so you can bet there will be no small amount of regional viticultural pride on hand. The menus from chef Mark Kalla are distinct, each with five Tapas-style courses paired with TBD wines. Considering dish options, wine pairings will vary from red to white and back again—whatever pairs with Cornish Game Hen with Montmorency Cherries (September 7), Osso Bucco Braised Veal Shank (September 21), Lobster Bisque (September 21), Hot Crab Dip (September 7), etc. Tickets are $55 plus tax and tip. Tickets for both September 7 and September 21 can be reserved by calling the vineyard. Natali Vineyards, 221 North Delsea Drive, Cape May; 609-465-0075.

“Whiskey Tour Around the World” at Claremont Distillery
Saturday, September 7, 6:30–7:30pm

There’s whiskey and there’s whiskey (and, technically, there’s “whisky”). Delicious? Yes. Tricky to keep track of? Also that. If you’re thirsty and confused, stop by Jersey’s own Claremont Distillery in Fairfield on Saturday for an hour-long whiskey 101 on the major types, regions, and flavor characteristics. Led by the small band of experts at Whiskey Gourmet, the class covers the four major whiskey-producing regions: Scotland, Ireland, Japan and America. (Here’s a hint to get you ahead: Japan basically imitates Scotch production methods with obsessively detailed methodology.) Whatever your ultimate preference (and why not love them all), the major takeaway is you learn how to trust your own nose and palate—just in time for dram-sipping season. Tickets are $35 and can be booked online. Claremont Distillery, 25 Commerce Road, Fairfield; 973-227-7027

The 19th Annual Epicurean Palette Benefit for Grounds for Sculpture
Sunday, September 22

At $125 to $185 per person, the 19th Annual Epicurean Palette at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton is up there, yes, but it’s also an incredible food event that gathers some top area chefs and producers on 42 acres of sculpture-studded arboretum (plus great wine, plus craft beer). Not only that, but proceeds go to keeping the Grounds for Sculpture running all year long, so your foodie dollar does double duty by also supporting one of New Jersey’s most unique outlets for contemporary arts. Not that it’ll be a selfless kind of afternoon. Among the vendors attending this year are Due Mari, Rat’s (of course, resident restaurant at the Ground for Sculpture), The Ryland Inn, the Barnegat Oyster Collective, Café du Pain bakery, and Chez Alice, plus plenty of craft beer and wine producers, in case the art is insufficiently intoxicating. Tickets include complimentary parking, access to 50-plus vendors of food and drink. Grounds for Sculpture, 80 Sculptor’s Way, Hamilton; 609-586-0616

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