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Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival Celebrates 10th Year with Martha Stewart, Jacques Pépin, Claudine Pépin & More

The Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival, one of the East Coast’s most sophisticated and anticipated events, returns for its 10th year from September 25 – 27, 2015. Once again, the Marble House lawn will be the setting for the two-day Grand Tasting, which offers guests the chance to sample hundreds of wines from around the world and cuisine from nearly two dozen regional restaurants and caterers.

Martha Stewart will return to the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival for her second year, headlining a brand new signature event with French chef Jacques Pépin. During A Conversation with Martha Stewart and Jacques Pépin, guests can enjoy a lively and engaging conversation with the lifestyle expert and the French chef while sipping Champagne Taittinger in the Marble House Gold Ballroom before heading out to the Grand Tasting. 

Chef Pépin will also join daughter Claudine Pépin for a cooking demonstration on the KitchenAid Culinary Demonstration Stage during Sunday’s Grand Tasting. Claudine Pépin joined her father in preparing delicious meals and sharing cooking techniques on three public television shows and has served as a Brand Ambassador for Moet & Chandon and Dom Perignon Champagne. She recently wrote her first book, Kids Cook French, a collection of thirty favorite, simple, classic French recipes in both English and French, illustrated by her father Jacques and daughter Shorey.

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Weekly Nibble: Norwalk Oyster Festival, Brass City Brewfest, CT on Tap, Pig Roasts + More!

Norwalk’s 38th Annual Oyster Festival will be held this weekend, Friday September 11-Sunday September 13.  Try delicious seafood, visit booths from local vendors, enjoy live music, and more.  Here's more info on ticket prices, times, and parking information.

The much anticipated Brass City Brewfest takes over Waterbury, CT on Saturday September 12.  This is the 9th year of the festival, which is considered one of the largest in New England.  This year, there will be over 125 breweries and brewpubs with more than 275 domestic and international brews.  Guests can also enjoy mini beer seminars throughout the day. 

Barcelona Restaurant New Haven and Two Road’s Brewery unite on Thursday September 10 for “Two Roads to Barcelona.”  Chef Frank Proto will create special Barcelona style bar food to compliment the brews.  It costs $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  

Meanwhile on September 10, Barcelona South Norwalk invites you to a wine dinner centering on the wines of Telmo Rodriguez, one of Spain’s pioneer winemakers.  Gusts can meet him as well.  $50 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  

Match Restaurant is celebrating its 16th birthday with a month of festivities during September. 

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Slice of Saugatuck Festival 2015: 24 Restaurants, 8 Bands & Tons of Family Fun!

The fourth annual Slice of Saugatuck Festival is fast approaching and set to go off on Saturday September 12, from noon -3pm (rain date Sept 19).  The family friendly Wine & Food and Retail Experience has once again expanded, both in the number of participating venues and what is being offered to the festivalgoer, especially kids.

“The festival is once again bigger,” said WWCC Executive Director Matthew Mandell, “Not only will there be tastings at over two dozen eateries, and great offerings by all the other merchants; there will be a mini maker space, drones, obstacle courses, bouncy houses, balloon bender, hoola hoops and rock climbing. The kids are going to love it.”

Added this year to the seven other musical offerings during the main event will be a free concert in Luciano Park right after the tastings are over.  The festival continues with the Sweet Sounds of Summer with two more bands playing at 3pm and 5pm.  

Tickets, with a passport to take around for tastes, will cost $10 per adult and $5 for Children 6-12. There will be at least five locations throughout the area with different bands playing.

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Community Plates Shares 5 Ways You Can Support Hunger Action Month Locally

Community Plates, a national organization that has rescued 8.5 million meals to date, encourages you to support Hunger Action Month during the month of September in your neighborhood.

Leading the food rescue revolution, Community Plates is tackling American food insecurity by directly transferring fresh, usable food that would have otherwise been thrown away from restaurants, markets and other food industry sources to food-insecure families throughout the U.S.

Hunger affects every community, and during Hunger Action Month, Community Plates is sharing 5 ways you can make a difference in your own Connecticut neighborhood:

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16 Hot New Restaurant Openings for Summer / Fall 2015

This summer saw a plethora of restaurant openings across the state.  Local chefs are expanding their empires, celebrity chefs are setting their sights on CT, and other food-lovers are staking their claim in the culinary scene. The fall promises to bring even more debuts.  Here is a list of some of our favorite recent launches as well as a sneak peek of more to come.

  1. Can Tiin, Bridgeport
  2. Teff, Stamford
  3. Rothbard Ale + Larder, Westport
  4. Bruculino, Norwalk
  5. Elm City Social, New Haven
  6. Lugano, Greenwich
  7. Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield
  8. Mill Street Bar & Table, Greenwich
  9. Mecha Noodle Bar, Norwalk
  10. Plan B Burger Bar, Fairfield
  11. Babaloo Cocina Latina, Wilton
  12. South End Uncorked, New Canaan
  13. b Good, Fairfield
  14. Back 40 Kitchen, Greenwich
  15. Carlos Bakery, Mohegan Sun Casino
  16. Fortina, Stamford

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SE Uncorked Opens in New Canaan: Snacks & Taps + A Great Vibe

Chef Nick Martschenko’s (South End) newest venture, SE Uncorked, is already creating an incredible buzz throughout New Canaan for its great food and great vibe. Inspired by the speakeasies of the Prohibition era and taverns in the UK and Australia, Chef Nick told CTbites that his vision is for “guests to be comfortable and relaxed in a heavily beverage, comfortable environment with foods designed for a pub versus restaurant theme.” 

Located at 15 Elm Street, both the exterior and interior have been completely redesigned. The brick-faced exterior features a drop-down wood shelf, windows at eye-level  and a wood carved sign announcing “Uncorked” with the familiar South End circle-logo with the additional prelude... “Snacks & Taps.”

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Friday Froth: Negative And Positive

I like beers from Otter Creek and Jack's Abby, but their collaboration beer, Joint Custody, is a can full of nope. Thankfully it's also exceedingly rare, so chances are you'll be spared from drinking one. I don't usually talk about bad beer experiences in this column - and feel free to skip down to the two contrasting examples I give below - but this one's been nagging at me.  

The collective German heritage of the OC and JA brewmasters inspired them to seek out two newborn German hop strains, Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, in the creation of what they call a Nouveau Pilsner. Joint Custody pours cloudy gold, and has a slightly odd lemony scent - both fine - and then you take a drink and taste fresh Band-Aid. There is the unmistakable pils malt underneath, but what in the hell with this plasticky flavor? In beer-nerd terms, we sometimes call this ortho-chlorophenolic, because it's a medicinal smell/flavor which usually comes from residual sanitizers, or using chlorinated water to make the beer. I don't think that's what happened here, we're dealing with seriously talented brewers, so the only remaining explanation is they've done this on purpose.

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Weekly Nibble: Blues & BBQ Festival, Greek Festival, Farm Dinners, Clam Bakes & More!

Bear's Smokehouse New England BBQ Championships will take place in Hartford on Saturday September 5 starting at 6pm.  The main event consists of all you can eat BBQ samples and Connecticut beer tastings (5 coupons- additional beer for sale).  There will be live music as well… and the chance to vote on your favorite BBQ!  Tickets start at $35. 

Join Ordinary in New Haven, for their new kitchen specials.  Monday and Tuesday is a “Taco-pocalypse." Wednesday and Saturday, try “3 Ways From the Farm” where veggies come raw, cooked, and pickled.  On Fridays, they’ll serve up different styles of meatballs at “The Meatball Show.”

On September 2 and 3, the Woodstock Agricultural Fair celebrates 154 years of agriculture in CT.  There will be animals, exhibitions, live entertainment, and over 100 food vendors.  

The 8th Annual Blues, Views, and BBQ Festival comes to Westport, CT on September 5 and 6.  The festival includes chef demonstrations, BBQ competitions, games for kids, live music, beer tastings, cocktails, and more.  Tickets start at $10.  

This weekend, enjoy four days of authentic Greek cuisine at “Odyssey: A Greek Festival” hosted by Saint Barbera Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, CT. 

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Can Tiin Modern French Vietnamese Bistro Opening in Bridgeport

There's a new Vietnamese on the block, and we are pretty excited about this one. CanTiin, a modern French Vietnamese bistro is opening at 269 Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport this October. Can Tiin boasts Chef Brian Reilly, (you might remember the name from Vespa in Westport). Chef Brian has noodles in his culinary DNA as his resume includes the role of Executive Chef at Noodle Cat in Ohio, back when high quality noodles were just starting to catch on.

Can Tiin's COO Kevin D Lalumiere is joined by Rachel Haughey from NEAT of Darien and Westport, thus completing the management team. 

Now let's talk Menus....Lunch is broken down into Pho, Banh Mi, Steam Buns, Salads & Starters, and Noodle & Frys. The Dinner menu features a mouthwatering array of dishes including Spiced Duck Breast, Pork Belly with Daikon, Crispy Rice & Coconut Crepe, Spicy Baby Octopus Stor Fry, Marrow & Miso, and a nice twist on the classic burger, a Grilled Burger Steam Bun.

We will update you on additional details and the opening date as we move into October. 

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Tix On Sale Today for Harvest Fest at Wakeman Town Farm

Mark your calendar for Harvest Fest,  the grassroots event of the season, on Sat. Sept. 12 at Wakeman Town Farm in Westport featuring local chefs, musicians, libations, and more! 

At this festive cocktail party/dinner, dig into a locally grown feast--hors d'oeuvres to desserts--using delicious cheeses, produce and meats from nearby farms, all prepared by a lineup of farm-friendly local chefs. In addition to dishing up inspired seasonal eats, they'll be pouring signature cocktails, fine wines and craft brews and kicking up our heels to the sounds of a killer live band. There will also be a live auction with some out-of-this- world experiences in dining and travel. It's all to benefit our local town farm! Some of the local venues included in this year's lineup:  

The Spread, Artisan, Blue Lemon, Fairfield Cheese Co., Fleischers Craft Butchery, AMG Catering, Olivette & Saugatuck Sweets

Tickets go on sale TODAY, August 24 at

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