Miami Culinary Tours: Wynwood Food and Art Tour

Today my wife and I did the Wynwood Food and Art Tour in Miami. This is a weekly event done by Miami Culinary Tours and is one of many versions around Miami set up to help you appreciate what the city has to offer. You can read a detailed review over at my DailyBeerReview.com website, but I decided to post an extensive gallery of photos here for you to see. Check out this and some of the other tours available! Enjoy!

Chilean Wine Seminar and Tasting Hosted by ProChile in Brickell

ProChile Wine Seminar 19

Yesterday evening, the ProChile Trade Commission in Miami hosted a Chilean Wine Seminar and tasting at the Conrad Hotel in Brickell. Chilean Winemaker Santiago Margozzini from Montgras Estates and Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer conducted an educational presentation titled Chile: Land of Diversity and a Paradise for Viticulture. My wife and I arrived (on time) to a beautifully presented room set up to accommodate 60 or more guests interested in this stop in ProChile’s Chilean Wine Tour.

Santiago went through a slide presentation that highlighted just how diverse a country Chile really is, from the temperature to the rainfall to the geographic landscape to the soil. All of those factors have an extremely important impact on the country’s 16 wine-growing regions. And though diverse, the climate and isolation of the country is ideal for growing grapes. In addition to gentle winters and moderate summers, the lack of phylloxera, hail and bird attacks also contributes to the success of Chile’s growth in wine making over the past several decades. Twenty years ago, there were seven wine regions; today there are 16. Santiago explained that though it took some convincing, the regions are now classified in three groups based on the characteristics of the wines. That was done so wine makers could easily speak about their wines in such a way that would help promote their vineyards in a meaningful way. Those classifications are Costa, Entre Cordilleras, and Andes.

That’s when we began tasting the eight different wines in front of us, each chosen to represent the different viticulture regions of Chile. Santiago and Fred both led the tasting, speaking about the wineries and characteristics of each wine and how it was made. We started with a Sauvignon Blanc from Siegel made in the coastal area of Leyda. It was explained that the cold temperatures from the Pacific Ocean were key to growing this grape to perfection. Sauvignon Blanc is the #1 exported grape variety from Chile.

 

We were then asked to compare two different coastal Pinot Noirs from Valdivieso and Tabali. While I’m not exactly a wine expert, it was not difficult to see and taste the differences. Fred explained that one of the areas had more variations in temperature and wind than the other. In addition, the soils in the two regions are very different and impart different characteristics to the wines. So same grape but different outcomes.  Pretty cool!

ProChile Wine Seminar 2

Fred continued “geeking out” on soil as we tried a Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Morande, grown in the “alluvial” soil of Maipo, representative of the foothills of the Andes. We were then given a Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec blend from Viu Manent which sparked a little comparison to the Malbecs of Argentina. We were told that some of the best Malbecs in the world come from this Chilean region called the Colchagua Valley. However, these wines are very different than what you would find in neighboring Argentina as the climate and soil and age of their vines are not the same.

Finally we arrived to a wine made by Santiago, MontGras Antu Syrah. “This is the best wine of the night, hahaha,” quipped Santiago. He explained this was grown on a famous hill in the volcanic soil of Colchagua and would be classified as an Entre Cordilleras wine. My wife and I actually agreed that the sweet fruity aroma and delicious flavors made this our favorite of the evening. Also from Colchagua, we tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from Montes. Fred said this is a very well-known wine in the United States.

Our final wine of the seminar was another from MontGras, their Reserva Carmenere. We were told that Carmenere grapes are unique to Chile, though originally a French grape variety that was killed by phylloxera. Apparently, Chilean wine makers thought they were making Merlots though it was discovered that in fact it was a Merlot/Carmenere blend. Today, the best Carmenere wines are grown in sandy soil in a warm and sunny climate that allows the grapes to grow to a very ripe stage. This ensures a wine with round tannins and uniquely spicy characteristics. We liked this wine a lot too.

The evening then shifted to a tasting with many Chilean wineries. We tasted some additional wines and learned about some of the goals that each winery was pursuing. For some, it was just to get their name out in front of importers. We ate some cheese and fruits and hors d’oeuvres and mingled. It was an educational evening and fun to learn about one of Chile’s most important products!

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Miami Rum Renaissance Grand Tasting 2014

Yesterday, April 26, 2014, I attended the first day of the Miami Rum Renaissance Grand Tasting (Check out my recap). Except for all of the vendors simultaneously running out of rum a bit  early, I had a terrific time. And I definitely had enough rum for any one individual. Here are some photos of the event.

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Wynwood Night Time Graffiti Tour

I recently went to an event in Wynwood thrown by Goose Island Beer Company. After it was over, Ed Roberts and I walked over to Wynwood Brewing for a beer (and back). I took a lot of pictures of the graffiti since I had never been in the area before. I know, I’m probably the first person to post a bunch of these pictures, right?

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Sprung! Beer Festival 2014

This past weekend was the Sprung! Beer Festival in Coconut Grove. Next year make sure you are there too! Here is a little more detailed recap on DailyBeerReview.com.

 

 

 

Cochon 555 Miami 2014

Goose Island Beer Company welcomed hundreds of guests to The Four Seasons Hotel and Cochon 555 this past Sunday afternoon. Cochon 555 is a tour that celebrates the sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. Five chefs, Five pig breeds, Five wineries.  A cooking competition between five local chefs was the centerpiece of the event, but there were plenty of other activities and stations to check out.

My wife and I started with the Goose Island “Goose Nest” where the brewery paired two of its vintage ales with Foie Gras and other Duck items. But the rest of the event was focused on the pigs. Chefs Aaron Brooks, Conor Hanlon, Bradley Herron, Dena Marino and Jose Mendin each made five or six dishes for the guests to try. They were scattered throughout the banquet hall with other areas of interest to visit in between.

One of my personal favorites was “The Perfect Manhattan” station which was serving up terrific cocktails made with Templeton Rye and a few other terrific bourbons. There was a “Pop-Up Butcher Shop” where one of the pigs was butchered in a demonstration benefiting Johnson & Wales University. The butchered pig was sold on the spot. Oh yeah, and before the pig was cut up, the dudes from Miami Ink tattooed it with a Cochon 555 themed piece of art!

A cocktail competition called Punch Kings was another very popular spot. Five drinks using Breckenridge Bourbon were created for everyone to try. There were cheese stations, oysters, killer Prosciutto by Prosciutto di Parma, and several wineries. I did not miss the opportunity to sip on some Four Roses Bourbon either.

In the end, Chef Jose Mendin from Pub Belly prevailed as the winning “Prince of Porc!”

Great event! Can’t wait for next year.

Goose Island Beer Company Presents Cochon 555 at Four Seasons Miami

photo (12)Just cracked open a beer and poured it into my Goose Island beer glass. I know you think that’s just me lying for a good segue into this article, which is precisely why I took a picture to prove it to you!

OK, so seriously, I’ll be going to the Cochon 555 event on Sunday. And it’s going to kick ass! Read about the event, the chefs, the bourbon below. After the event, I’ll be posting pictures, entertaining commentary (duh), and whatever else I can think of. Since Goose Island is going out of their way to show you how to pair their vintage line of beers (which I adore) with all the pork, I’ll be talking about that part of the evening on my DailyBeerReview.com site. Tickets are still available. Click the link above to go to the event page if you’d like to purchase them. And heck, you see what I look like, so say hello! I’ll be the guy with the hot 40 something chick!

Four Seasons Miami, Host Venue
February 9th, 2014

COCHON US TOUR & GOOSE ISLAND BEER CO. HUMBLY PRESENT COCHON555. Over 11 tons of heritage pork raised by family farms will be served across the country in a nose-to-tail touring culinary competition. Going on its sixth year, Cochon 555 is the nation’s premier culinary tour touting the flavor and health benefits of eating heritage breed pigs. The kickoff event features an all-star lineup of five chefs, five pigs and five wineries to celebrate breed diversity and family farming. A panel of 20 expert judges and guests of the event will vote for the city’s “Prince or Princess of Porc.”

This year’s competing chefs include Jose Mendin of The Pubbelly Group, Conor Hanlon of The Dutch, Bradley Herron of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Aaron Brooks of EDGE Steak & Bar and Dena Marino of MC Kitchen. The five chefs, champions to the pig, will battle it out in a friendly competition by preparing a maximum of six dishes each created from one whole heritage breed pig to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. Jason Pringle of db Bistro Moderne will also prepare a feature sixth pig.

Host Chef Aaron Brooks, Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Miami, will lead the pack of judges in selecting Miami’s “Prince of Porc.” Other notable judges include David Thomas from The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Timon Balloo of Bocce Bar and Chef Norman Van Aken following the release of his new book, No Experience Necessary. The winner will go on to compete in the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June for bragging rights as the “King or Queen of Porc” and a four-day wine experience to Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region.

“Heritage Breed Pigs celebrate the history of the animal and this humane treatment is something all chefs should be behind,” states Jose Mendin. “I grew up on an island where this practice is normal and eating pig is an essential part of the culture, so it just seems the only way to me. As for the event, I’m so excited to compete, I can barely stand it. Such a great line-up of chefs; I’m eager to see what everyone puts out. Game on.”

A 1200+ pound showcase of heritage pig carved into 30 chef-prepared dishes will also include: “The Goose Nest,” an area featuring the Vintage Ales of Goose Island Beer Co. paired with Hudson Valley Foie Gras; live butchering demonstration at the Pop-Up Butcher Shop with Thomas Griese of Michael Mina 74, benefitting Johnson & Wales University with the support of Williams-Sonoma; different ages of Prosciutto di Parma ranging between 14 and 30 months, sliced by a roaming Berkel and by hand off a bone-in leg; the “Punch Kings” cocktail competition featuring five local barkeeps presented by Breckenridge Bourbon; a welcome cocktail from Four Roses Bourbon; the Bourbon Bar presented by Breadcrumb by Groupon featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch, Templeton Rye and Luxardo; libations including Crispin Cider, Wines of Rioja, Elk Cove Vineyards, Barlow Vineyards, and a Mezcal Bar with Fidencio and Mezcales de Leyenda; a TarTare Bar featuring Creekstone Farms; an artisan cheese bar with Rogue Creamery and La Brea Bakery; Swine & Sweets signature dessert course featuring Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Defending his title from last year, Host Chef Aaron Brooks will kick off the weekend on Friday night with a guest chef dinner at EDGE Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons. Event judges include David Thomas from The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Timon Balloo of Bocce Bar and Chef Norman Van Aken following the release of his new book, No Experience Necessary.

“I’m passionate about promoting food sources that support a more natural, sustainable food system,” explains Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555. “For the first time ever, I am very pleased to welcome Goose Island Beer Co. into the family of events as a presenting sponsor of the 2014 U.S. Tour. One event cannot change the system, but together we can celebrate the chefs and farmers who continue to tilt the scales back towards responsibly grown food.”

The COCHON 555 event is 100% inclusive and always on Sunday.

Tickets for Cochon 555 events are $125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP). GENERAL ADMISSION price includes over 30 dishes prepared from the entirety of heritage breed pigs from nose to tail, paired with premium wines, brews and spirits. Both ticket prices includes endless drink and tons of food. GA starts at 5pm. VIP starts at 4pm, and includes one-hour early access to all the food (premium access to limited experiences like Punch Kings, wines and spirits), a chance to hang with the celebrity chefs, judges and media. Everyone is invited to the After Party at Edge Steakhouse, as always.

This epic porc event is over 1200 pounds of heritage pig packed with 100% flavor! Please keep in mind we sell about 60% of tickets before the complete event details are ever released, so if you like what you see, we suggest not waiting so buy a ticket. If you are interested in being a sponsor of Cochon, please contact us.

“I’m passionate about promoting food sources that support a more natural, sustainable food system,” explains Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon 555. “For the first time ever, I am very pleased to welcome Goose Island Beer Co. into the family of events as a presenting sponsor of the 2014 U.S. Tour. One event cannot change the system, but together we can celebrate the chefs and farmers who continue to tilt the scales back towards responsibly grown food.”

Where: Four Seasons Miami Hotel
1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami, Florida 33131, USA
When: Sunday 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

 

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