In case you missed the exciting news, I recently joined the blogger panel for grocery chain ShopRite’s food blog Potluck and, as part of that talented bunch, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival this past weekend. Out of all the invitations that come my way as a food writer, this one was one of most special invites I’ve received. As someone who makes a living writing and talking about food and all things culinary, Food Network has been integral in furthering my interest in cooking and food in general, so imagine how excited I was to attend the ShopRite-sponsored Grand Tasting–a gargantuan event that includes culinary demonstrations from well-known chefs and Food Network personalities and food and drink from leading restaurants, wineries, and beverage companies.
As part of the Potluck blogging panel, I greeted festival attendees from ShopRite’s designated booth and shared information about the store, its product lines and the food blog. It was amazing to see how many people were excited to learn more about the grocery store and Potluck, but even more interesting was piquing people’s curiosity by mentioning ShopRite’s private label brands. Did you know the family-owned grocery store employs a special buyer who carefully curates products from all over the world and acquires them for ShopRite? Globally-sourced premium produce like famed San Marzano tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil from the Mediterranean find themselves on store shelves and into consumers’ kitchens.
Simultaneously overwhelming and exciting, the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival was everything I had hoped it would be…and more. Imagine running into chef Marco Canora (of New York’s Hearth), saying hello to Joe Bastianich (restaurateur, co-owner of Eataly and, yes, Lidia’s son), or having Iron Chef Morimoto autograph a copy of his book. Yes, those things happened–all under the same roof no less! Pier 94 wasn’t the only venue hosting festival-related activities, though. All over town there were chef-hosted classes and demonstrations in which attendees could not only meet and greet their favorite chefs and Food Network personalities but learn and acquire new culinary skills as well; I was fortunate enough to participate in an artisanal ice cream-making class presented by quirky Brooklynites Phin and Phebes of their eponymous ice cream venture. For those who know how much I adore ice cream know how perfect this class was for me.
This past weekend went by in such a blur and felt like it was over so quickly and I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve already checked the festival’s website to start planning next year’s itinerary. I’m excited to see what next year brings!
Note: Though complimentary tickets to the Grand Tasting (and other events) and hotel accommodations were generously provided by ShopRite, my opinions are my own.