Kosher Champagne from Champagne, France? Cabernet sauvignon sorbet? Perhaps a little pastrami babka?
A sold-out crowd of approximately 1,600 packed into New York’s Chelsea Piers on February 29 for Royal Wine’s tenth annual Kosher Food and Wine Experience to try these and other delicacies.
Bayonne-based Royal Wine returned the show to Chelsea Piers, overlooking the Hudson River. To take advantage of the setting, the show offered a docked yacht with a new VIP section featuring sushi, special selections from Teaneck’s Etc Steakhouse (such as carved roast turkey and pastrami), and older vintage wines. Three hundred VIP tickets sold out within 48 hours, according to Mordy Herzog, executive vice president of Royal Wine. Mr. Herzog credits the show’s popularity to kosher wine consumers expanding their tastes and trying new flavors.
“Five years ago everybody just wanted cabs on the red and chards on the white,” Mr. Herzog said. Now, “the consumer is opening up and people are more interested to try new varietals.”
There was no shortage of variety. With more than 200 wines and 30 restaurants and caterers at the show, it is impossible to do justice to every delectable dish and wine. So below we present you with just a few of our choice selections from this year’s show.
Fireside has been open for just nine months and made its first appearance this year at KFWE. Executive chef Alex Remer, who lives in Teaneck, brought a Chicago-style deep-dish fleishig pizza topped with house-made beef bacon, ground beef, shredded salami, a wild mushroom medley, and a maple aoli. Tumbleweed onions, crisp red onions served with a special house sauce, were on the side. Both dishes are on Fireside’s regular menu. The tumbleweed onions have been on the menu since the beginning, while Mr. Remer introduced the pizza about six months ago. Both have been big hits, he said.
This is not Mr. Reme’s first visit to KFWE; he had been there when he worked at Teaneck’s Etc. Steakhouse. People tend to think of Monsey as “upstate,” he said. “I knew KFWE was a great place to introduce ourselves to the greater kosher-eating community.”
Every year this kosher market brings new flavors and experimental dishes to KFWE. This year was no different. Pomegranate offered one of the largest booths at the show, and standing out among its offerings were its pastrami-filled babka and corned beef-filled babka. And they tasted exactly as you would expect — like a deli sandwich on babka. How could you go wrong?
Co-owner Jonathan Gellis likes to try new wines and foods to keep the restaurant uptempo, its manager, Josh Pinsker, said. Mr. Pinsker managed the Doghouse’s table while Mr. Gellis explored the show.
The Doghouse offered a few staples from its menu: pulled brisket sliders, barbecued salami tossed in a barbecue sauce, and sausage eggrolls in a sweet chili sauce. “Now we’re just trying to show everybody what’s so great about Teaneck,” Mr. Pinsker said.
The KFWE App
Every year KFWE attendees have received a spiral-bound notebook listing all the wines and foods available for tasting. A week later, many struggle to read their handwriting or find the pages on which they scribbled their new favorite bottles. This year, KFWE did away with the book and created a unique phone app for the event. The app offers users the ability to take notes and pictures of each wine and dish they try, without the hassle of deciphering hurried handwriting.
“We just decided it was time to move into a higher tech version of the book,” Mr. Herzog said.
Herzog Wine Cellars
Herzog brought an interesting combination, which head winemaker Joe Hurliman referred to as the “Battle of the Barrels.” Two cabernet sauvignon wines using the same grape but one aged for nine months in American oak and the other aged for nine months in French oak. Wines aged in American oaks tend toward stronger flavors, while wines aged in French oaks tend to have more subtle flavors. “That’s an exciting concept,” Mr. Hurliman said. (This reporter preferred the French oak.)
Appleation showcased three hard ciders: dry, sweet, and cinnamon flavored. It’s like apple pie in liquid form.