Once a year food and wine lovers gather together and meet at the nation's largest single-region wine and food event: Taste Washington. Wayne and I drove up last weekend to attend the much talked about event for the first time and made a Seattle weekend date out of the trip. I love a good adventure and this was definitely one of them!
We stayed at the Renaissance, which was one of Taste Washington's participating hotels. It was less than a mile to the event, which was held at the CenturyLink field, so we decided just to walk over. Once we checked in received our wine glasses and VIP goody bags we entered in the glorious room and were greeted with more than 225 wineries and 65 restaurants with delectable bites and tasty sips for sampling.
As this was both of our first times at Taste Washington (even though the event has been going on for 17 years now!) we weren't quite sure what to expect. This was by far the largest wine event that I had ever attended. Luckily they had very thorough schedule booklets with all of the exhibitor information along with what they were pouring or serving.
My usual strategy is to start at one end and then work my way through each isle as to not miss anything. We started out doing that but quickly got distracted with so many choices of wonderful food! There were bacon-wrapped dates from Tablas Woodstone Taverna, Mini cornbread with braised short-rib with grill sauce from Seductive Specialty Foods, Black-pepper-crusted pork tenderloin crostini's served with a cherry compote from the Purple Cafe and Wine Bar and so much more!
Piatti Ristorante was serving Crostini's with roasted pears, gorgonzola and honey which were so simple yet addicting. Margaux had red wine poached figs with Roquefort cheese crostini's - I think I was on a crostini kick! There were so many delicious ones though!
Kaisho had their Thai-style fried chicken & kimichi waffles to sample and to be honest I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised and loved it.
Then, there were the wines. I'm no wine expert, but I am a wine lover. The best advice that my husband (who's been a Vineyard Manager for many years) said was to just try new things, and if you like it you like it and if you don't you don't. Period. My usual go-to for tastings are Rieslings, but I love events like this because you have the opportunity to try so much more. Whidbey Island Winery had a 2013 Rosato Sangiovese that pleased my palate. Three Rivers Winery had a 2012 Steel Chardonnay that I just had to try - I'm generally not a huge Chardonnay fan because I don't like the oak flavors in it, so it was great to try one that was unoaked. We tasted a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Cadaretta Winery that I wouldn't mine owning a bottle of, and then of course I tasted Rieslings like the 2012 Birdie Riesling from Sparkman Cellars... there were so many I can't even name them all! I am gathering quiet a collection of business cards of things I love.
A few other things to mention would be all of the sweet treats! Tom Douglas' Peak of The Season Crisp with Brown Sugar Oats was one of my favorites. I went to one of his culinary classes last year and was late to jump on his fan band wagon, but I'm now obsessed!
Luv Macarons had some of the best macarons that I have ever eaten - seriously - try their salted caramel. The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co. had a variety of mini cupcakes to try, including a Pancakes 'n Bacon flavor!
Then there were ice creams...always a hit with me! My ultimate favorite was from Sub Zero Ice Cream, and yes, they were the ones seen on Shark Tank (I love that show!) and oh my goodness...not only is it fun to watch them make the ice cream with liquid Nitrogen, but seriously the flavor was divine. We sampled a berry cheesecake flavor and it was wonderful because it wasn't overly sugary-sweet like so many berry cheesecake ice creams are.
There seriously weren't enough hours in the afternoon to go through everything that Taste Washington had to offer. I would recommend going both days so you could enjoy every last bit of it. There are also seminars in the morning and live cooking events during the show on both days. We were able to watch Chef Peter Serrano make a Caramel Apple Purse with Cinnamon Ice Cream.
Last but not least my favorite photo from the afternoon is this one at the Assaggio Ristorante booth. I was sampling their Penne Vodka and they noticed my camera and all jumped in together for this great shot.
Thanks for allowing me to experience Taste Washington! It will definitely be on my list for next year. To find out more information visit TasteWashington.org