The South Jersey Wine & Food Festival Returns

Plus: Other food and drink events in Montclair, Kingston and Asbury.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

9th Annual South Jersey Wine & Food Festival
Saturday, September 21 and Sunday September 22, noon – 5pm

There’s a reason this weekend’s festival is “Wine & Food” rather than “Food & Wine.” It’s not that there won’t be any food, but the (local) wine is the star. Hosted at the Lake Lenape Park East, the two-day South Jersey Wine & Food Festival will feature area wineries like Summit City Winery, Cedar Rose Vineyards, Monroeville Vineyard & Winery, Terra Nonno Winery, and Villari Vineyards, among others. There will be food, and some as-yet-unspecified culinary demonstrations, but attendees are also encouraged to BYO-picnic (just no outside beverages, non-alcoholic included). As wine festivals go, this is a decent value: tickets are $20 per day ($25 at the door), or $30 for the weekend. Even VIP tickets for the weekend are just $60 (not available at the door), and that buys you an hour early entrance to the tasting and reserved parking. Get your tickets online or at the festival; but especially if the weather’s still mild enough, expect a good crowd. Lake Lenape Park East, 753 Park Road, Hamilton Township

Harvest Drop Dinner at Samba Montclair
Wednesday, September 25, 7pm

Samba Montclair is partnering with Harvest Drop, purveyors of local ingredients for chefs, for a 6-course Brazilian dinner featuring locally raised poultry and cheeses from Long Valley’s Valley Shepherd Creamery. Expect dishes like Camarao na Moranga, stuffed acorn squash with shrimp; and grilled duck breast with caramelized apples and red cabbage. It’s an especially meaningful event for a reason: Samba chef/owner Ilson Goncalves was the first restaurant client for Harvest Drop founder Oliver Gubenko five years ago. Reserve your tickets, $85 plus tax and gratuity, by calling 973-744-4461. Samba Montclair, 7 Park Street, Montclair; 973-744-6764

“Made in Italy” Panel Discussion at Montclair State University
Thursday, September 26, 6:30–8:30pm

Granted, we mostly like RSVP-ing to events where food is served rather than discussed. But this panel on the environmental impact of (Italian) food production at Montclair State University features a couple legitimate experts and will help ensure a long, delicious future of sustainably produced Italian products in the New Jersey food system. This is the fifth and final in a years-long series of discussions sponsored by the Inserra Chair at Montclair State University; the discussions began in 2016 and have revolved around Italy’s global impact in everything from culture and politics to food, climate change, and design. This final discussion features Dr. Maurizio Cellura of the University of Palermo as well as Wayne DeFeo of DeFeo Associates Environmental Consulting in Warren, with remarks by Montclair State’s own Jorge Lorenzo Trueba to round it out. The discussion is free; you can RSVP online. Lecture Hall 101, Feliciano School of Business at Montclair State University, 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair; 973-655-4000

Natural Wines Walk-Around Tasting at EnoTerra
Sunday, September 29, 3–5:30pm

If you haven’t had a chance to explore natural wines or are just confused as to what they are, the walk-around tasting at Eno Terra is a good opportunity to catch up and/or clarify. There will be over two dozen wines available for the two-and-a-half hours of the tasting, all of them showcasing the varieties of expression available under the moniker “natural wine.” FYI, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all organic; there’s no legal definition of “natural wine” yet, but the general concept is wine produced with little to no artificial intervention (e.g. chemical fertilizers, additives like sulfites, filtering, using cultured yeasts, etc.). Because it’s a soft definition, you can get a better sense at the tasting itself (ideally wine by wine). Reserve your tickets, $25 each. EnoTerra, 4484 Route 27, Kingston; 609-497-1777

Chef’s Table at Ironbound Farm with Leia Gaccione
October 6, 4–9pm

Tickets for this early October dinner are $125, but they’re also in the “get ‘em while you can” category—it’s a limited seating event in Ironbound Cider’s beauty-meets-badassery open-fire outdoor kitchen with some seriously good product and one of Jersey’s top chef talents at the helm. AJ Capella helmed the fires just a couple months ago in June, and now it’s Leia Gaccione fanning the flames at the open kitchen with a menu filled with local product (via Local 130 and Harvest Drop) that’s as much an adieu to summer as a welcome to fall—i.e. start with Corn and Sungold Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Thyme, end with Butternut Squash Pie with Toasted Bourbon Marshmallow, Toasted Oat Crust, and Apple Caramel. (In the middle of it all you get to try chef Gaccione’s autumnal take on an old school classic, Hard Cider (as opposed to beer) Can Chicken.) Again, tickets are $125, which includes pairings and cider for the night. Reserve a spot ASAP, then check the weather forecast and pick out a nice warm flannel for the night. Ironbound Farm, 360 County Road 579, Asbury; 908-940-4115.

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