Taste of St. Croix: Overview, Part one- Winemaker Paul Hoffman – Examiner.com

The Taste of St. Croix is and always has been unique, mega-well attended, and now, to boot, one of the top-10 best wine and food ‘events’ on the planet.  And this year did not disappoint.  Loaded with fabulous foods, over-the-top wines, and an endless parade of well dressed locals, celebrity and local chefs, and producers of top-notch wines, it is truly an event with the stamp “What’s not to like?”

I caught up with winemaker Paul Hoffman, this being his sixth visit for the ‘Taste.’  He was beyond friendly and willing to chat me up on all things wine.  Paul represents Hoffman Family Cellars with four different brands (another–not here at this event–comes out next month, called 401k, a Chardonnay), all of which speak of an individual concept.  Poured this evening:

  • Curveball Spinning Red- ,a just-right blend of mostly Old Vine Zinfandel, some Petite Sirah, and a tad of Cabernet Sauvignon.  The wine shows firm tannins, black and red fruit, and juicy acidity.  A brilliant blend, with bursting dark fruit, especially bing cherry.  Luxurious, well-structured, with a long and lingering finish showing tobacco and coffee. A happy surprise, finding a Napa red wine for under $20.! (The name ‘Curveball’ was generated from the concept ‘When life throws you a curveball, just hit it!’)
  •  Curveball Spinning White- another dynamite blend, this one of mostly Sauvignon Blanc, aloing with some Gewurtztraminer, a blend that surpisingly enough works beautifully together.  The Sauvignon Blanc brings the wine crisp, bright citrus, the Gewurtztramier, the prominent spice.  Aged in stainless steel, this one is great with spicy foods.
  • Atmoshere- 100% Syrah?  Again, what’s not to like?  Aged entirely in French oak, this wine has bright acidity, is well structured, with smooth tannins.  Cherry cola and rose petals are noted, the finish is long and smooth.
  • Headbanger- showing Paul’s love–the ‘blend’–of rock ‘n’ roll and wine making, this one’s a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, and a touch of Zinfandel.  The wine is big, bold, and in-your-face.  Deep, purplish-red in the glass, it is intense, though well-balanced and clean.  Expect blueberry, cedar, and allspice on the nose, with layers of cranberry, dark cherry, wild raspberry, and black pepper.  The  finish is long, clean, and lingering, a wine with plenty of character; the fruit shows through, giving it a not-overbearing yet big, bold character.
Source: Examiner.com

Author: Leslie Cramer, Wine Examiner

The Taste of St. Croix – EatLiveRun.com

So, as I mentioned before, the whole reason I went to St. Croix in the first place was to attend the 11th annual Taste of St. Croix Food & Wine Festival.

Over 1,400 people showed up at the Divi Carina Bay Resort (the all inclusive resort has hosted the event every year!) last Thursday evening to taste yummy creations from the Island’s best restaurants and drink delicious wine from all over the world. Now, I’ve been to a few food and wine festivals in my day, but this was one of the very best. Picture white tents set up all over the sand with a live band and dancing under the stars.

Celebrity chefs from some of the country’s best restaurants were also in attendance such as Top Chef’s Anita Lo, Iron Chef Robert Trevino, Iron Chef Kevin Rathbun and Top Chef Tiffany Derry to name a few. I also hung out with Chef Michael Ferraro and made it my personal mission in life to visit his gourmet macaroni and cheese restaurant in New York City. Chef Ferraro made the most delicious mac & cheese with duck last weekend and I simply can’t get it out of my mind…

As for the tastes themselves, I had a hard time picking a favorite because everything was just so good! Here are some of my more memorable bites of the evening.

delicious lobster ravioli in a tomato bisque:

an absolutely amazing fish taco with spicy slaw on top:

paella! Served in the largest paella pan I’ve ever seen!

and we definitely can’t forget about dessert….I especially loved these mini cakes (mini cakes mean you can eat at least four).

I’ll admit, I didn’t really delve into the wine and cocktail aspect of the event. I was way too excited about the food! I’d rather eat an extra dessert than have a drink any day, you feel me?

Chocolate > booze.

Well, sometimes.

Other times you just need a drink.

All proceeds of the event went to sponsor the St. Croix Foundation, a foundation dedicated to fostering the economic and social development of the island of St. Croix with an emphasis on educational resources. I really loved to see such a strong community (and talented chefs!) come together for such a great cause. You can really tell that everyone looks forward to the event all year and the Divi Carina Bay did a wonderful job hosting it.

After tasting everything in sight, I waddled back to my room and had macaroni and cheese filled dreams. When I return, I’ll give you a little glimpse of what I did during my trip besideseat.

Stay tuned!

Source: EatLiveRun.com