Written by Eddie Ferranti
May 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM
ImageThey say in life that you can never get too much of a good thing.  Well for Rose and myself that is so true concerning the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience,  known in Nawlins as the NOWFE.   The 23rd installment went down so smoothly, even when it  rained on Thursday’s Royal Street Stroll.

If you’ve never been you’d find out that it is one of the best kept secret good times in the Big Easy. The Bob Shaffer official poster for 2015 summed it up well with the “Drink Wine or Leave” mantra along with “Sip, Savour and Stroll” which both work excellently to describe this fun filled weekend !    Since its inception as a singular wine tasting in a hotel ballroom, NOWFE has grown into a multi-day, multi-venue event that has donated $1.2 million to local charities. This year the main beneficiary is the Southern Food and Beverage Museum which will receive 40% of the proceeds.

Image Thursday’s Royal Street Stroll was soggy, but did not keep the crowd from partyin’ big time.  Umbrellas, rain ponchos (our choice!) and boots were very popular and once ya got a bit wet you just frollicked with some fun folks from all over the country.

The evening kicked off for us with a Press pre-Royal Street party @ Brennan’s featuring multiple outstanding tidbits , especially the tuna tartare and of course wine.  .Local grocery guru, Rouses, were big sponsors for the 8th year running and the line for their fantastic wares, featuring lunch meats, cheeses and olives, was enormous snaking down Royal to St.Peter Street !

ImageOther heavy contributor’s for the evening came from Hard Rock Cafe, Foundation Room, NOLA Restaurant and Roux On New Orleans.  Only bummer was because of the rain live music was cut big time. .M.S. Rau Antiques became an arts and antique hot spot, with grub and vino flowing throughout its large size building.   Day two was extra special for us because we were treated to a major delicious lunch gala hosted by the super folks at Barefoot Wine. The killer FIVE course meal was rolled out at Broussard’s marking the 10th anniversary of BW participating in NOWFE, plus celebrating Jennifer “Pinky Toe” Wall’s 20th anny as The Barefoot Winemaker.

2015’s Best of Show winner, Chef Neal Swidler, dazzled the luncheon with an array of food that knocked our socks off. Oysters Rockefeller, artichoke and oyster bisque, pink peppercorn ravigote, sensational filet mignon Broussard and topped off with peanut butter mousse rounded out an unreal dining experience.

Wall and fellow Winery Ambassador, Randy “Barefoot Guy” Arnold, need to be commended for the wonderful presentation that not only gave you insight into their wine products, but what they are doing world-wide to help clean up lakes, oceans and rivers called Beach Rescue Project in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation with volunteers who are treated to a party after helping save the planet.
Both of these cool individuals exude such a positve vibe about their profession that is really refreshing in today’s corporate grind world we live in.   Friday and Saturday were dubbed the Grand Tasting at the NOLA Convention Center and grand it was indeed!   Louisiana’s finest cuisine in extensive offerings from 75 of the finest chefs and endless selections of wine from around the world were there for partaking.  Also spirits have become a major attraction with Stella Artois, Hendrick’s gin, Sailor Jerry rum and Tito’s vodka on hand to further your partyin’ enjoyment.

ImageAt an event like this you really have to “pace” yourself because the varieties of scumptous foods can be overwheming to say the least.  No way you could pay homage to all the fantastic restaurants, but some of thee highlights that caught our eye-and stomachs- were the following:   -Muriel’s blackened shrimp crawfish spring roll -Shaya’s hummus with curry roasted vegetables -Cafe b’s seared duck breast -Galatoire’s crabmeat and truffle au vin -Mr.B’s Bistro pan seared jumbo scallops -Broussard’s fricasse of Joyce Farms chicken -InterContinental New Orleans’ mirliton tarte tatin and blackened ice cream -M Bistro pork belly confit -Reginelli’s gumbo pizza -Charcoal,s venison sliders   Man this list has my mouth watering big time!  Also on tap Saturday was the 8th annual King of Louisiana seafood competition which was nailed down by Mike Brewer of The Sammich with a dish of Sheepshead Nachos with Bacon Fat Tartar Sauce and Charred Corn salsa.  Yummy!    Believe it or not I’m am just giving the highlights of what we enjoyed and not all that can be done through out the weekend.  Seminars of all shapes and sizes are put on from 11am-3:30pm covering both wine and food topics and demonstrations ta boot!

ImageMost events are within walking distance and there are ample modes of transportation to be had, too.  We highly recommend this fine event that is run from top to bottom in nothing short of frist class treatment spearheaded by the tireless efforts of Public Relations Director Liz Goliwas Bodet.  LGB and her sweet sidekick Jennifer (see her on page 6 of official program!) made our stay so wonderful and we tip our hat to them big time. Ms.Bodet herself gave me my summarizing statement as she gave us a parting hugaroo as we left Saturday afternoon from the Convention Center saying: “Now that’s the look of sheer pleasurable exhaustion that I was looking for!

See ya next year………..”  Eye noe dats rite if these wonderful folks will have us back……….God Bless NOWFE and the great city of Nawlins!!!