By David Kerem
It’s no longer a well-kept secret that the kosher wine industry has experienced a renaissance in recent years. The nearly 1,500 people that participated in this year’s sold-out Kosher Food and Wine Experience at Chelsea Piers this past Monday night are evidence of the growing popularity and quality of kosher wine. Missed it? Well, here is the recap.
As usual, winery representatives and winemakers from around the world gathered to share their wines and enthusiasm about the state of kosher winemaking, and the finest restaurants, caterers, and food markets in the New York Metro area provided samplings of their most creative and tasty dishes. Crowd favorites included Gemstone Catering’s Herzog Oak barrel smoked veal belly, Le Marais grilled hanger steak, Wolf & Lamb’s pastrami-wrapped marinated apricots, Prime Hospitality Group’s cauliflower bread and house-made salami Sloppy Joe, and Hakadosh BBQ / Wandering Q who kicked it up a notch from last year’s 15-hour apple and hickory wood smoked beef brisket to an 18-hour oak and apple smoked beef brisket. Breakout star for this year was JEWmaican Cuizine, whose jerk chicken and rice were outstanding!
New for this year was the addition of a two-story luxury yacht which housed the largest variety of delectable sweets KFWE has ever offered, a complete selection of dessert wines, and an expanded mixology bar.
This year’s experience boasted over 200 wines from regions around the world including dozens from Israel. While France, Spain, and California are staple wine regions, with a long history of producing excellent wines, Israel continues to emerge as one of the leading contenders in the fine-wine industry.
The diverse range of participants at KFWE speaks to the wide appeal of kosher food and wine. And while the food is incredible, it serves merely as an entrée to the true stars of the evening, which are the vast selections of kosher wines from around the world. With more than 200 wines, there really is something for everyone. From sweet late harvest dessert wines to bold full-bodied cabernets and everything in between, there is so much that the kosher wine industry has to offer.
While large wineries like Baron Herzog and Carmel with huge and consistent great offerings were on display, I have always been a fan of the family-operated smaller boutique wineries. Last year, boutique stars were Psagot and Domaine Netofa. This year, my favorite selections included the velvety-smooth cabernet reserve from the Bazelet Hagolan winery and the rich chocolate and tobacco flavors of Alexander Amarolo.
Whether for the experienced wine connoisseur or those just beginning to enter the wonderful world of wine-tasting, Royal Wine Corporation knows how to bring the best wines to the masses, and the Kosher Food and Wine Experience may just be the best place to take it all in. Next year, buy your tickets early and don’t miss out on what has clearly become the food-and-wine event of the year. v