New Jersey WFF 2016 – A Guide to NJ’s 8th Annual Hottest Culinary Event of the Year
By Julianne Clancy
New York City is known worldwide as the place to be for fantastic restaurants, but our friends across the river in New Jersey have just as impressive a culinary cred to claim as their more famous neighbor. Luckily, the New Jersey WFF is an annual event celebrating the best of the best from the Garden State. Jersey is a state that boasts fresh homegrown produce and fabulous local farms; a rich, multicultural food scene; fantastic high end restaurants; and several burgeoning cities, like Hoboken and Jersey City, that are drawing big name chefs to cross the Hudson into greener pastures. Which is why, for the past seven years, Crystal Springs Resort, a luxurious hotel and event center in Hamburg, New Jersey, has hosted the New Jersey Wine and Food Festival. This year, this ode to New Jersey’s vibrant culinary and viticultural scene, returns to Crystal Springs from April 1 to April 3, with a more exciting line up of events than ever before.
2016’s New Jersey WFF line up will feature nationally renowned chefs, winemakers, and craft spirit producers, including winemaker Sebastiano Rosa, two winners and one alum from Bravo’s hugely popular show, Top Chef (Kevin Sbraga, Nicholas Elmi, and Dale Talde), Michelin star pastry chef Marc Aumont, and many more, along with food from more than twenty-five of New Jersey’s and New York’s best chefs and drinks from over thirty wineries.
Festival Highlights for 2016:
Top Chefs & Top Wines: Top Chef winners Kevin Sbraga (Season 7) and Nicholas Elmi (Season 11), both currently working in Philadelphia, will join Top Chef favorite Dale Talde (who recently expanded into Jersey City) and Michelin starred pastry chef Marc Aumont for a fabulous five course dinner paired with highly rated boutique wine (April 1st, 8pm, $225 plus tax & gratuity).
Sassicaia & Biserno Wine Cellar Dinner: Sebastiano Rosa will host a six-course meal, paired with his highly renowned Tuscan wines. Chefs Anthony Bucco and Mark Ladner of New York’s Del Posto will craft the unique menu (April 1st, 8pm, $375 plus tax & gratuity).
Prosecco & Pancakes: How better to start off the morning than with breakfast food and bubbly? New Jersey WFF’s fun and tasty brunch will feature a variety of pancakes alongside a prosecco and bellini bar, this is the perfect way to begin a day full of food and drink indulgence (April 2, 10am, $35).
Chef & Farmer Culinary Showcase: This brand new event will feature the best that the “garden” portion of the “Garden State” has to offer, pairing top New Jersey Chefs Francesco Palmieri and Bryan Gregg with fabulous local produce, meat, and cheese from Bobolink Dairy, Happy Harvest Hydroponics, and more (April 2, 1pm, $50).
Iron Shaker: Another brand new event for the New Jersey WFF sees four local bartenders dueling it out in a challenging, two round competition where a select panel of judges, along with the audience, will pick who’s cocktails reign supreme (April 2, 3pm, $35).
Secrets of the Crystal Springs Cellar: In addition to their stunning atmosphere and decadent span, Crystal Springs Resort is known for their Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Wine Cellar. VP of Hospitality and Wine Director Robby Younes gives attendees a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the cellar and tastes of some of the rarest wines on the shelves (April 2, 3pm, $150).
The Grand Tasting: This absolutely, not-to-be-missed main event is a walkaround tasting featuring food from 25 top New Jersey and New York chefs and wine from over thirty renowned vineyards. VIP Ticket holders will have access to an exclusive lounge featuring exclusive Champagnes, wines, and restaurants, including bites from Michelin starred Piora (April 2, 7-10pm, $135; VIP admission at 6:30pm, $250)
Meet the Chefs & Winemakers After Party: After a sumptuous evening of sipping and tasting, join the featured chefs and winemakers for a party featuring live performaces, a DJ, dancing, an open bar, and even more fantastic food. This year’s theme is inspired by Rio de Janeiro, in honor of the Summer Olympics, so get your best Brazilian moves ready (April 2, 10pm, $150).
Champagne Brunch: If you’re needing some hair of the dog in the morning, hit up the annual Champagne brunch and feast on farm-fresh eggs, hand-carved meats, house baked pastries, local cheeses, and, of course, plenty of bubbles (April 3, 10am-1pm, $50 plus tax & gratuity).
Tickets for all events can be purchased on the New Jersey WFF website or by calling 844-207-3203.
Hedonists and Shedonists will be attending several of the New Jersey WFF events, including the Grand tasting, so make sure you grab up those tickets to join us for a fantastic weekend of Jersey-filled eating, drinking, partying, and decadence. Don’t forget to tweet and instagram your favorite New Jersey WFF moments by using the hashtag #NJWFF and mentioning @CrystalSprings and @hedonistshedonist!