Southern Artisan Cheese Festival

October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I found out there was a cheese fest going on, there was no way I could not attend. It’s clear I love me some cheese (here, here and here) so even the fall chill couldn’t bring us down at the Nashville Farmer’s Market this past weekend. For $44, we got to sample goods from over 20 cheesemakers across the Southeast as well as wine and craft beer. Though there were some organizational issues at first (this is only the festival’s second year), the cheese-hungry crowd figured it out and we soon tried so much, I think I got cheesed-out (I know, I didn’t think it was possible either but when Whole Foods was giving out apple slices, I had never been happier to see the fruit). It was a super indulgent way to spend a Saturday–someone mentioned “bucket-list worthy”–and I hope to attend for many years to come.

Bonnyclabber Cheese from Sullivan’s Pond Farm

Some of my favorite bites were not straight cheese but the spreadable goat cheeses blended with herbs, nuts, savory preserves, etc. from Stone Hollow Creamery in Birmingham. These things make entertaining a no-brainer.

Wine to wash it all down. My favorite was from Le Mistral

With so many dairy farms present, there were some delectable ice cream choices. We went with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams–the Dark Chocolate is TO DIE FAR it is so rich, it tastes like frozen brownie mix. Perfectly paired with Goat Cheese and Cherry

Our favorite takeaway was The Preservation Society’s Pepper Jelly (we came home with two jars). It was so sweet and peppery it’s good any time of day. I was thrilled to learn they also sell in Whole Foods so I can restock easily.

 

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Your Plans for the Month of October

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

This week saw a turn of the calendar which means a whole new page to fill with activities. It seems like as the weather cools, people are squeezing in everything they can before people turn in for the winter. So get out and enjoy as much as you can!

How fun would it be to stomp grapes this weekend? What a great idea. A Vintage Affair continues the celebration of its 12th year of supporting nonprofit organizations in Williamson County with The Grape Stomp at Animalia. It will be held this Sat, Oct 6 from 2-7 at Animalia, a veterinarian clinic near the Westhaven neighborhood.

If you love cheese as much as I do, then the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival is a must-do event. On Sat, Oct 6, sample 75+ handcrafted cheese from over 20 artisanal cheesemakers from six states around the Southeast. Each cheesemaker will be on hand to introduce and share their cheeses with. And with each $44 ticket comes a $5 voucher. They’ll also be craft beers, wine, tea and other beverages on hand to wash down such creamy, stinky goodness.

This week is the last chance to catch Smokey Joe’s Cafe! The Franklin Theater is putting on the broadway revue that features fun hits that range from rock to rhythm & blues from legendary songwriters Lieber & Stoller. It promises to be a really good time and with an outstanding cast, could be the perfect date night with dinner in downtown Franklin.

I am so excited to explore Germantown during it’s heyday–Oktoberfest. Any festival with steins, sausage and lederhosen has to be a good time so be sure to be there out and about on Sat, Oct 13th. And to relieve some of the guilt of overindulgence, there is a 5k around historic Germantown beginning at 8:00 AM the morning of the street festival.

I am totally ready to whip out my English-degree-pants and head to the Southern Festival of Books Oct 12-14. Each year the Festival brings to Nashville approximately 250 of the nation’s and region’s most prominent authors, spanning all genres (including chefs). There are so many things on this schedule, I can’t even handle it, and every session is free and open to the public with no advance registration or tickets required. Just make sure to get out early since seating is on a first come, first served basis.

Luke Bryan is set to headline the 5th annual Capitol Street Party on Weds Oct 17. The free concert will move from Demonbreun Street to Lower Broadway this year with Luke and newcomers Kelleigh Bannen and Jon Pardi performing on a stage set up on Broadway between 1st and 2nd Avenues.

 

I think it’s clear I love a good wine festival (here and here) so I am very glad to see another one on the calendar in Nashville. On Friday, Oct 19 from 7-10 pm at the Factory in Franklin will be 300+ wines to sample, live entertainment, seminars and so much more. Tickets run $75 or $85 at the door.

To celebrate the Latin American holiday of Los Dias de Los Muertos, head out to Cheekwood for their Fall Festival. The event has tons of kid-friendly, artsy activities as well as a marketplace, live music, and food. AND the event is free for anyone under 17.

 

 

Wine on the River

September 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

When I found out that Wine on the River would fall on the same weekend my best friend was set to visit, I felt like the stars were aligning. What could be better than sipping all different wines outside taking in gorgeous views of Nashville with someone you’ve known since (practically) birth? Not much. But you definitely did not need out-of-town guests as an excuse to take advantage of this event. Unsurprisingly, tickets sold out and the bridge was packed. The goal is simple: sample wines and spirits from different regions around the world–plus there’s fun music and tasty eats. I will definitely have to make this a new annual tradition in Nashville.

 

WINE KEG. AMAZING

Something new I hadn’t seen before, Darcie Kent Wine Kegs.

Tennessee’s Own

I was this close to trying the Pumpkin Spice Moonshine but once I took a whiff, I chickened out. I guess I’ll have to take a trip to Corsair Distillery to redeem myself.

The music started out classical and by the time this thing was ending it was a full blown dance party to Stevie Wonder

 

 

 

Grilling something. Despite just coming from lunch, I was tempted to try whatever they were grilling up.

Your Plans for the Rest of September

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

I feel like September has just started and we are already 1/4 of the way through! This month is jam-packed with amazing events in Nashville as everyone is willing to go back outdoors in the milder weather. Here is what’s going on the rest of the month so it doesn’t pass you by!

I’ve learned since moving that Fall means football in the south and this week the Titans battle the Patriots right here on home turf. If you don’t have tix, Sam’s seems like a nice alternative to watch the game. And I’m not just saying that because it’s my namesake– it was voted the best place to watch the Titans by MSNBC and One of The Top 16 Sports Bars by Maxim.

You know after my great time last week I’ll be back to Musician’s Corner but I have another concert series that I must check out–Live on The Green. With The Wallflowers and Alabma Shakes on the schedule, they have some pretty can’t-miss shows. The best part? It’s all free, held in the eco-friendly Nashville Public Square Park.

Wine on the River is my kind of event. The Nashville leg of the World Tour will be held at Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge Saturday Sept. 15 3-7pm. $50 gets you in to sample beer wine and/or spirits from 10 different regions around the world. Methinks the Nashville region will boast some Jack Daniels and Yazoo but I am very interested to see the wine showcased here.

Zac Brown is bringing his band and a whole slew of star acts to Nashville’s Riverfront Park Sept. 21-22 for the two-day Southern Ground Music & Food Festival. Greg Allman, Alan Jackson and Sheryl Crow are all on the lineup. Zac Brown’s mobile kitchen will be there and some of Nashville’s top restrauteurs will be joining the festival as well.

I just found out about the Music City Southern Hot Wing Festival on Sept. 29. I remember growing up my brother attending “wing bowl” every year but something tells me it’s even bigger and better in Nashville. The event is only in it’s second year but already they will include cooking and eating competitions, live music, kid’s activities and over 200lbs of wings. This one’s for you, bro.

The IBMA (that’s International Bluegrass Music Association) is hosting a convention this month and in addition to a conference, golf tournament and Awards Show, there will be a 3-day Fan Fest Sept. 28-31. With over 60 acts, it is sure to be a good time.

Pali Pinot Noir

August 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

In the infamous words of R Kelly, “It’s the freakin’ weekend.” And not just any weekend, but the one in which yours truly officially hits the mid-twenties. That’s right, the big 2-5. In the spirit of celebration, I thought it only right to post about booze. Now that I’m oh-so-wise and mature, my penchant for jungle juice in my college days has morphed into a deep life-long commitment to wine. So today, I’m sharing one of my new favorite Pinots.

Oh so yummy. Happy Birthday to Me indeed.

I’ve seen this Pali “Riviera” on multiple menus in restaurants around town and it’s paired well with the different meals I’ve ordered with it. It’s warm and rich but definitely with sweeter, fruitier notes for a Pinot Noir, which I happen to like.

I have a quick trip to Denver planned for this weekend so au revoir, see you on the other side (of twenties that is).

P.S Is anyone else watching this EPIC Federer-Del Potro match? Currently 14-14 in the third set.

 

Cakebread Chardonnay

July 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m not sure about you, but unfortunately I will not be in attendance of the 33rd Annual l’Eté du Vin ‘Gone Country’ that kicks off tomorrow (tix are a wee pricey for this cowgirl). However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t indulge in some excellent Cakebread vino. I first tasted this sweet nectar when an Aunt and Uncle who were fans starting bringing home crates for our Christmas Eve dinner. Last September, I got the chance to fully experience their Chardonnay in all its glory when we went out to their winery in Napa.

Perfect Day for a Vineyard Trip

Wall o’ Wine Jugs

Tasting their Chardonnay, I FINALLY understood what people meant when they were talking about “butterscotch chardonnays”–this thing is like crème brûlée on the back of the throat. I like it not too chilled and they recommend serving it with some crab cakes, yum!

The Reserve is a little more pricey but both are totally worth it. I see them at most wine shops and even on wine lists by the glass too.

Food & Wine Classic In Aspen- Part III The Vino

June 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

Ok, Ok, I promise this is the last post about the event, but there are just too many good things to share! We signed up for two wonderful wine tasting events that were so much fun, I am dying to turn both ideas into a lively house party.

The first was hosted by Danny Meyer called “Swill for the Grill.”  The set-up is simple- 6 wines and 6 proteins. We were then told to sample each wine with each meat and evaluate with an appropriate smiley face to indicate if we found the combo “yummy, eh or yuck.” It was marathon tasting at its best and it really zero-ed in on your personal preferences without intimidating wine jargon.

6 wines, 6 meats – Beef Short Rib, Lamb, Veal Sweetbreads, Bacon, Duck, Chicken. May be hard to replicate if you have a lot of vegetarian friends…

The second tasting was hosted by Richard Betts who brought along 3 world-renowned sommeliers. It was a blind tasting with 7 glasses in front of us and 7 matching brown paper-bagged wines one the table. We were then handed a handy-dandy wheel-o-wine that was really a map to follow based on aromas and tastes that you got when beginning to taste each wine. Following the fruits, oakiness, earthiness, etc. you watched the pool of possibilities narrow (PS the star sommeliers were unreal, they literally had it nailed to the vineyard and year most times).

Richard Betts is coming out with a “scratch & sniff” wine tasting book that features a 2 ft. pull out of this wheel!! Should be available this holiday season

These events were both before we even got into the Tasting tents. Truthfully, if your goal like me is to sample everything possible, it can be somewhat difficult to remember distinguish all your preferences. But here were some wines that particularly stood out for me from the weekend:

Sandhi Chardonnay This had a really nice golden color and full body to it.

Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes This was the one wine I like paired with every meat during Swill for the Grill. Of course it’s a little pricey so we’ll save this for “special occasions.”

Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir I tried to do a theme of Pinot Noirs when sampling in the Tasting Tent (with many exceptions) and this was one I particularly liked. Plus it’s at the right price point and I can pick it up locally.

2011 Secco Italian Bubbles Bianco Starting off the night with something bubbly is the perfect way to add some pizzazz and this was fresh with hints of fruit and lots of tiny bubbles!

I must have really liked this gin… the vendors gave me a free apron

Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin I realize this is not a wine but it is so, so, so good. Gin cocktails are usually my go-to on a menu (unless they are paired with orange) but this gin is so good, you can just shake it with some ice and it goes down smooth as silk. It smells lemony with hints of lavender and I wouldn’t mind my entire home smelling the same way.

This wraps up my Food & Wine Class recaps… I feel like Senior Prom is over! Can’t wait to return next year.

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