Good People, Good Food, Good Wine

by Ashley Cerasaro

AVE is proud to sponsor the 4th Annual Summit Wine and Food Festival in downtown Summit this weekend, September 21-23. This year, the annual culinary event will feature Food Network and Bravo celebrity chefs and top winemakers and wineries from around the country. On the menu are chef demonstrations, wine expert seminars, wine tastings, food and wine dinners, spirits and beer presentations and more.

The festival’s mission is to celebrate and advance public knowledge of and appreciation for great wine and food, while supporting charitable organizations. Event proceeds will benefit the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. “Come join us for what promises to be a spectacular culinary experience,” says Jean Criss, media and sponsorship sales for the festival, of Jean Criss Media LLC. For more information about media or sponsorship, please contact Criss at or visit

This year’s schedule of events:

Friday, September 21
7-10 pm
International Gala Wine & Food Tasting- Many of the nation’s greatest chefs prepare their signature dishes accompanied by some of the best wines on the market. Guests may mingle, sample small plates and taste terrific wines.

Saturday, September 22
11 am-noon
California’s Undiscovered Cult Wines- Join Alex Sotelo, of Alex Sotelo Cellars, and Luis Robledo, of Robledo Family Vineyards, for a unique seminar and wine tasting featuring wines from two exceptional winemakers and discover a new world of wines from these small boutique producers.

11 am-noon
Cognac, Quality and Time: The House of Hardy- This tasting and seminar explores the Cognac production process, as well as the nuances of flavor that proper aging imparts on this magnificent brandy.

11 am-noon
Portugal: The Last Frontier of European Wines- Many Portuguese regions produce some of the world’s best wines. The diversity of styles, flavors and textures rival anything in Europe, and connoisseurs have become enamored with its traditional grape varieties. Learn all about Portuguese wines and taste some of the best ones on the market today.

12:30-2:30 pm
Sommelier Showdown Luncheon- Watch some of the nation’s best sommeliers compete against one another in front of a panel of judges. The wines being judged will be paired with a three-course lunch prepared by three Master Chefs, allowing attendees to sample and taste along with the contestants.

3:30-4:30 pm
Vodka and the Spirit of Mixology- This seminar will illustrate a tremendous range of delightfully tasty cocktails beyond the tried and true and how to prepare them.

3:30-4:30 pm
Discover the World of Peppers- James Beard Award winner Maricel Presilla will talk about these magnificent vegetables and demonstrate their versatility in the kitchen.

3:30-4:30 pm
Going Green: Organic Practices in Modern Winemaking- In this seminar and tasting, Robert Eden, owner of Chateau Maris, will discuss the differences in the plethora of terms used to describe “natural wines.” He will also explain how he goes about producing some of the sought-after “green wines” on the market today.

6:30 pm
VIP Gala Dinner- This evening affair offers a six-course dinner featuring dishes from notable restaurants and stellar chefs paired with the finest wines from around the world.

7-10 pm
Latin Night Gala Wine & Food Tasting- Many of the nation’s top Latino and Latin-inspired chefs will serve up a broad array of culinary creations. You will also sample some of the best offerings from South American wineries.

Sunday, September 23
10:30-11:30 am
The Flavors of the Americas- Discover the flavorful world of Latin American cooking with culinary TV personality and Food Network star Daisy Martinez.

11 am-noon
Say Cheese!- Jonathan White will host a cheese-tasting with beverage expert Neil Rodriguez suggesting non-alcoholic pairings.

Noon-2 pm
Discover the Flavors of India Luncheon- This luncheon will feature the cuisine of India and its tantalizing palate of wonderful flavors and textures.

3-4 pm
Alcoholic-Free Mixology- Renowned mixologist Alex Valencia will demonstrate how to prepare an array of deliciously tantalizing alcohol-free cocktails for any occasion. Learn how to mix and prepare nonalcoholic drinks that will make you the hit of the party.

4-5 pm
Anglo-Latino Cooking- In this chef’s demonstration, Diane Hendricks and Richard Sandoval from Pampano Restaurant will show you creative ways to prepare meals that combine Anglo and Latino influences.

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