Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor®

On June 6th, we attended the The Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor® with a twist, accompanied by a four year old. This is one of the few such festivals that even allow children and in fact, actively court them, by providing content specific seminars for youngsters. Good for them. Oh yea, there's still plenty of food, wine, beer and spirits for the adults.

We started the day talking to the Mar-Del Watermelon Queen, Jessica Leigh Haden, while sampling the fruit, then headed directly to the end of pier. Better to start in the less crowded rear and work our way forward. At least that was the plan until we saw the Belgium beer display and couldn't pass up a glass of Leffe. Then the Paint Branch Ramblers started playing and before long it was time to rush to our first seminar, "Watermelon Strawberry Smoothies". For the next hour we sat with a couple other parents and a hoard of youngsters watching Ms. Haden and Bravo's Top Chef contestants Carla Hall and Ariana Duarte provide an entertaining session on smoothies. And yes, it was very entertaining and informative. We no longer our hostage to the expense Edible Arrangements and our boy now asks for smoothies instead of popsicles.

We trekked back to the entertainment area to listen to Sam’O and the band JFC and have another beer, this time a Hoegaarden. Not for too long. We had to head back to the seminar area for the Peanut Butter Apple Spread and Breakfast Raisin-Banana Roll-ups and picture time with Buddy McNutty. I kid you not. Actually it was a nice session, a little smaller than the first, but just as informative. Sloppy food, but good; and comic books as a bonus. They came in handy at the Robert Mondavi display.

This time on our return trip to the entertainment area, we stopped to discover the excellent food offered by the vendors. Chili, mussels, carrot soup, gazpacho, cakes; the list goes on. Now this is a food festival; unlike a similar sounding event hosted downtown. Even the simple Giant\Nature's Promise display of chips, cheese, and tea was a hit. So was the Discover Rums of Puerto Rico. While loitering around their tent, we met several others that preferred the Don Q Anejo neat. Cheers. By this time, members of our party were getting a little weary. We decided to skip the Decorate your Chef Hat seminar and instead spend a few minutes at the previously mentioned Mondavi display. Their Fume Blanc was much better than I had remembered, as was the Cab.

That was it. No wines tasted, definitely a first. Sorry Trefethen Vineyards, Michael & David Phillips Vineyards, Charles Krug Winery and locals: Fabbioli Cellars, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, Tarara Vineyard & Winery, and Boordy Vineyards. We will see what our companions have to report and make sure you visit Dezel at My Vine Spot - he will have excellent analysis of the festival and wines.

Finally, we applaud the organizers of the The Food & Wine Festival at National Harbor for not only allow children but providing entertaining events targeted towards them. And thanks to the Peanut Board, Ms. Haden, Ms. Hall, and Ms. Duarte, and the other seminar hosts for providing the entertainment.

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