The third time was definitely the charm for the third annual Montclair Food & Wine Festival.
This year’s festival was bigger with four events including Book Party & Bites, Gala Dinner, Bourbon & Biergarten and Grand Tasting.
If we had to pick a favorite event, the alfresco Bourbon & Biergarten takes the prize.
Featuring fine bourbons, craft brews and food samplings from regional restaurants, artisans and fantastic food vendors, the outdoor setting on the lawn of the Montclair Art Museum, set up with tents and picnic tables, was a magical evening in Montclair. Eclectic food purveyors from near and far offered a combination of ethnic food truck, fine dining, and casual fare that would have made Guy Fieri jump for joy. The first time outside event for MFWF killed it, and we are hoping Melody Kettle will do this event again and again and again.
Local standout plates from the B & B event include cool gazpacho and a spicy shrimp appetizer from Fitzgerald’s 1928, two toothsome burgers from Anderson’s 1949 (a beef burger with maple bacon, blue cheese and roasted pear and a Jamaican Jerk chicken burger with pickled red onions, fried potato sticks and guacamole) and a perfectly paired Brat from Pig & Prince.
Two dishes that blew our minds (and wowed our mouths): The Korean Burger from Burg in Newark, featuring kimchee relish, spicy mayo, cucumber scallion slaw and a fried egg, and a taco from Kimchi Smoke (a traveling food truck based out of Long Island City) featuring smoked pork shoulder, sweet Gochujang sauce, smoked kimchi, cheddar cheese, ramen bits, on a tortilla sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Saturday night, MFWF moved inside to Lehr Hall at the Montclair Art Museum, which buzzed like a New Year’s Eve bash with superb wine selections freely pouring throughout the room (thank you Sharon Sevrens, Amanti Vino), in between the dozens of fine food presented by local chefs. It was truly a community party with familiar faces tasting, serving, and conversing for hours – with a live music ensemble adding to the ambiance.
Some chefs were truly passionate for the cause – and the exposure – making new dishes for each of the MFWF’s three gourmand evenings. Kudos to Busted Barrel Rum/Blue J Syrups, Mausam, Pig and Prince, Montclair Bread, Fin Raw Bar & Kitchen, Jockey Hollow, and Nicolosi Fine Foods for treating us to their cuisine at two if not three of the events this year.
Curried chicken sliders by Brick Lane were a hit at the grand tasting as well as a surprise display by WOLF SUB ZERO appliances included delicious lamb sliders, teriyaki glazed giant prawns, and chocolate dipped homemade marshmallows.
Lemon olive oil, as key ingredient popped up in Olive That’s yummy lemon bars, as well as in artisan chocolates by (new-to-the-market-and Montclair-neighbor) Dolce Federica. Caterer Tia’s Food of Love gave us a lot of love with a spectacular display of a dozen of her stellar dishes. This year we noticed many of the chefs’ creativity in the kitchen on display with more inventive and surprising dishes.
A special nod to Amanti Vino again, for not only nailing the wine selection but also the amazing craft beers offered Friday night at the Bourbon and Biergarten.