At many wine tastings, food Is usually nothing more than an afterthought and is often just a simple bread and cheese table. There’s nothing wrong with bread and cheese, I Iove bread and cheese. It’s just that bread and cheese merely whets my appetite for something more. So even though wine was the main focus at NY Drinks NY, the annual showcase for New York State wines organized by the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, I was glad to see that the food options were an equal partner with the wine. As in 2013, the event was catered by the New York Wine & Culinary Center (or NYWCC for short). And because they are located almost 300 miles away, it was a rare chance for New Yorkers to experience the NYWCC up close and personal, because they don’t normally make the 5+ hour trek from upstate New York.
The NYWCC opened in 2006 through the efforts of four major founders: Constellation Brands, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York Wine & Grape Foundation, and Wegmans. As Jordynn Gould, the PR and Marketing Manager for NYWCC, explained: “Our mission is to educate, engage and excite our visitors by celebrating the finest of New York State wine, beer, spirits, food, and agriculture.” The NYWCC is located in Canadaigua, about 35 minutes southeast of Rochester, and has partnerships with area farmers, winemakers, artisans and entrepreneurs. Great wine and great food, all in one beautiful setting on the northern shore of Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes region of NY.
The food was prepared onsite at The Astor Center by Executive Chef Andrew Chambers and Sous Chef Matt Hughes using recipes developed by their culinary team using local ingredients whenever possible. They pride themselves on the fact that 85% of their menu uses NYS products. Being a cool-climate region, many of the wines served at NY Drinks NY were high in acid and screamed out for food. That was not a problem as there was an attractive assortment of goodies available:
Their website states: “Whether you have 30 minutes or an entire day the NYWCC is worth a visit”. And after sampling their delightful menu and chatting with Jordynn about all the wonderful events at the Culinary Center (tastings, classes, workshops and other happenings), visiting the NYWCC is now on my list of must-see attractions on my next visit to the Finger Lakes. Which is what events like NY Drinks NY are all about: Sampling the fantastic wine and food selections of New York State and whetting your appetite for more.