With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the Northeast, the FIRST Downtown Westport Foodie Fest truly offered the “FUN before the Storm,” during the weekend of October 26th. Over 1000 attendees came out to enjoy the picture perfect Fall weekend and sample craft beers, attend wine and foodie events and stroll Westport’s scenic downtown along the shores of the Saugatuck River.
Foodie Fest featured unique food, wine and beer events throughout downtown Westport and was presented by Westport Downtown Merchants Association, CTbites and The Sunrise Rotary, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting local non-profits, Connecticut Food Bank, and Homes With Hope thru a Food Drive sponsored by Westport Farmers Market.
The featured event on Saturday was “Biergarten On The Green,” on Veterans Green, a tasting tent of over 30 local craft beers accompanied with Oktoberfest snacks of sausages, potato salad, pickles and pretzels provided by Oscar’s. A signature Biergarten tasting mug emblazoned with Bobby Q’s BBQ and Grill pig logo was given to each attendee to taste such local brews as Compo Hill, Beaver Beer and Blue Point beer.
Celebrity Chef, Ian Knauer, author of “The Farm,” cooked up samples of beer infused chicken skewers and delicious chocolate and Guinness beer stout cake cupcakes with marshmallow topping .
The Zany OOMPAH Band, decked out in traditional lederhosen played authentic Oktoberfest music and led the crowd in rambunctious cheers of “ Tickey Tockey, HOY, HOY, HOY!” Many in the crowd arrived in traditional dress as well, sporting braids, lederhosen and “dirndls” to join in the spirit!.
CTbites Invites offered a unique twist to the typical “tented” festival, by presenting a series of curated foodie events at local restaurants, making the Foodie Fest a venue–driven event modeled after the very popular New York City Wine and Food Festival.
Chef Pietro Scotti of Da Pietro’s Restaurant presented a cooking demo in his intimate restaurant on Riverside Ave followed by a delicious 3 course lunch. The sold out event, featured Sweet potato gnocchi with brown sage butter, pignoli nuts and fresh parmesan, Salmon filet stuffed with scallop mousse over kale, and a light pumpkin panna cotta for dessert. Chef Pietro’s winning smile and personality only added to the delicious menu prepared.
Other CTbites events included a Kids Sushi Making Class at Matsu Sushi with owner, Paul Teoh, a 2 hour Open Bar Happy Hour at Spotted Horse Tavern, and Champagne and Charcuterie at LUXE Modern Wine Bar and Cocktails.
LUXE Owner, Robert Reilly, poured Louis Roederer Champagnes, served up his signature Charcuterie, while thrilling attendees with a demonstration of Champagne Sabering…literally the “beheading” of the Champagne bottle using a special saber.
The evening included a very tasty event at Bobby Q’s Bodacious BBQ and Grill, where attendees took over the Rooftop Beer Garden, sampled the numerous beers on tap, chowed down Bobby Q’s award winning BBQ chicken, ribs, and burnt ends and learned about and sampled Bourbon’s provided by Master Mixologist, Jeff Marron, of Saugatuck Grain and Grape. Over 20 different small batch Bourbons were available for sampling along with a special Bourbon cocktail created from an 1862 recipe.
Area restaurants, Tavern On Main, Villa del Sol, Da Pietro’s and Bobby Q’s also participated in “food rescue” donating unused food to Community Plates.
And that left Sunday for two creative and fun Foodie Fest closing events!
The Westport Arts Center hosted a special “East Meets West” Brunch prepared by Moshe Aelyon in their “FOODIES” art gallery exhibit.
The Westport Cinema Initiative was scheduled to screen acclaimed documentary, ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi” followed by Sushi and Sake After Party hosted by Matsu Sushi, but by then…Hurricane Sandy was making landfall in New Jersey, and it was wisely decided to postpone so residents could prepare for the storm.
Watch for next years “Westport Downtown Foodie Fest” as looks like this will become an annual event! And hopefully with no storms in the forecast!