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Food and Wine Festival this weekend

Sun News Service

Gourmet cuisine, exceptional wines and a cast of culinary celebrities take center stage at this year’s Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival, Oct. 27 to 29.Once again, the four-diamond Resort at Squaw Creek is the host resort for the festival.To kick-off the festival guests can participate in the KitchenAid Golf Tournament ($140), held on the Robert Trent Jones Jr. Squaw Creek course. Duffers will receive a welcome gift, tournament shirt, tee prizes, lunch and hospitality in the KitchenAid tent. For the rod and reel type, a Mackinaw fishing derby will set out at 6 a.m. on Oct. 27.The Wine EventsVertical and horizontal tastings, a unique wine-blending seminar, and open tastings highlight events at the festival. Ferrari Carano Winery and Vineyards winemaker, George Bursick, who happens to be a drummer in a rock’n’roll band aptly named Private Reserve, will lead a hands-on wine-blending seminar. Jed Steele, former Kendall-Jackson winemaker and now owner/winemaker of Steele Vineyards, will pour his single vineyard Sangiacomo Carneros Pinot Noir in a vertical tasting of 1995, 1996,1997, 1998 and a barrel sample of 1999.The Chateau St. Jean horizontal tasting of vineyard designated wines will be presented by Kim Caffrey of Beringer Wine Estates.The SeminarsEducational presentations, grilling seminars, gourmet cooking classes – including hands-on cooking classes, are part of the culinary show.In the KitchenAid tent, 14 individual cooking stations will give participants an opportunity to cook along with the exceptionally talented Douglas Dale of Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique, and Keith Luce, former White House chef and executive chef for PlumpJack Restaurant Group.Joseph Keller, chef/restaurateur of Bouchon in the Napa Valley and the recently opened Josef’s, a French brasserie in Las Vegas, will present a seminar on how to buy, cure, smoke and prepare fish.A perennial Autumn Food & Wine Festival favorite, Lars Kronmark, chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, Napa, will present the fourth in his series of Autumn Food & Wine seminars.Staff food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle Janet Fletcher – also author of The Cheese Course – features a seminar with the same title as her book. Creative presentations and pairings of artisan cheeses will be her focus.Jerry Anne Di Vecchio, Food and Wine Editor at Sunset Magazine, brings her broad-spectrum culinary expertise together for her timely seminar on holiday desserts. Ken Lee of Lotus Foods presents antique and heirloom rice from around the world.The Welcome Reception takes place on Saturday night in the Weber Pavilion Tent and will feature live entertainment, fabulous wines from around the world, fine cheeses, gourmet products, a book store, the Weber complete line of Grills, the new BMW sport utility vehicle and the Sunset Magazine center.Grand TastingOn Sunday, the Culinary Competition and Grand Tasting provide the pinnacle to the festival. Over 30 of Lake Tahoe’s premiere restaurants will be paired with exquisite wines.The key: each sumptuous dish is masterfully prepared to match the texture and character of the wine chosen for the pairing.Bill Ryan, retired vice president of Beringer Wine Estates, heads a panel of expert judges given the duty of determining the winning restaurant/wine of the Culinary Competition.Each attendee to the festival will have an opportunity to cast a ballot in the Peoples Choice Award.Wine AuctionA wine auction, led by Jim Porter and Jim Simon of Truckee, features hard-to-find lots of private reserve wines including Montelena, Ravenswood, Joseph Phelps, Far Niente, Burgess and Volker Eisle. The auction culminates with the “crying” of the prized Wheelbarrow of Wine, which features a bottle of wine from each winery represented at the festival.The atmosphere is electric when the gavel goes down for the final time.For more information on the Festival, http://www.tahoefun.org or call (800) 824-6348 or 581-6900.Tickets for the event, which start at $45 for a Friday Passport and $70 for a one-day pass on Saturday and Sunday, as well as special room rates at the Resort at Squaw Creek, are available through Lake Tahoe Central Reservations or online at http://www.tahoefun.org.


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