|Craving Cocktails Rating||
On February 26th, a Stupendous Sunday, The Beverly Hills Wine Festival took me on an extravagant culinary adventure featuring some of the finest Wines, Beers, Spirits, Cheeses and Desserts around. Arriving early, the first stop after getting my wine glass for the afternoon was the personalized engraving station. There I met Laureen Crisafulli of Engrave Letter. As she was finishing my glass I took some time to survey the set up of the Beverly Hilton Ballroom. A full orchestra was playing and giant screen TV’s with live coverage of the Grammy’s were visible throughout the room. Now on to the tasting!
With over 100 vendors to choose from, the yellow Ventura Limoncello label drew me in. Only using locally grown ingredients, the traditional Italian lemon liqueur is a three generation old family recipe and comes in Originale, Crema, Vinaigrette, and Blood Orange. The bright, cool freshness of the iced California Sunset took my taste buds on a ride up PCH. I knew this recipe would be in my purse for the next Sunday Funday at the Malibu beach house with the girls.
3 oz. Ventura Limoncello
1 ½ oz. Cranberry juice
1 ½ oz. Club soda
Splash of Sweet & Sour
Serve over Ice, with lemon wheel.
The Toucan Winery located in Arroyo Grande Valley is a micro-winery focused on quality. They only produce 300 cases per year. You would be missing out if you didn’t try the Gold Medal ’08 Estate Zinfandel or the Gold & Best of Class ’08 Toucan Carignane.
These full-bodied and richly flavored wines were a stark contrast from the clean, crisp aromas of pear, lemon and honey that I found at Naked Grape. The Pinot Grigio is on my grocery shopping list and pairs perfectly with grilled chicken or fresh spinach salad with citrus dressing.
Hungry yet? Yeah, me too. And what goes better with wine than sweets? Deuvo Gourmet Sweets had Belgium lollipops and French pralines. Sheila Cavalier updated the original 80-year-old family recipe to replicate the New Orleans traditional candy, but with less sugar. The result – a melt in your mouth decadent mix of flavors: Original, Espresso, Candied Apple Spice, and my favorite, Sea Salt.
The Pacific Cheesecake Company gave us more treats to try and although I like traditional cheesecake, I loved the cheddar sundried tomato basil and gorgonzola apricot cheese cakes.
Craving Cocktails often reviews tequila drinks and when I walked up to Casta Negra Tequila, Steve Stanson became my teacher, bartender and fast friend. Founded in 1572 in Mentidero “Liar’s Village”, Mexico not only is the tequila handcrafted, every bottle is hand blown. You can find the 100% Agave Tequila in three styles; Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo at Vendome Liquors in Beverly Hills.
Another non-wine option was the unique Veev, the world’s first Acai spirit. This green company strives to change your mind about the uses of this superfruit and donates $1 per bottle sold to support the Brazilian Rainforest and the safe harvest of Acai. The Spa Cooler can make any day a sunny one. Save a couple cucumber slices for your eyes!
2 oz. Veev Acai Spirit
1-2 sprigs of mint
6 cucumber slices (thin)
1 oz. fresh lime juice
¾ oz. simple syrup
Shake all ingredients well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with cucumber slice.
The Beverly Hills Wine Festival is the second event this year I have attended brought to us by Alan Semsar and Barcelona LA. Not only did they deliver by giving me new wines and spirits to try but this event also benefited Best Friends Animal Society, an organization dedicated to making LA a no-kill city. It was a wonderful event with amazing people. As the event wound up I found myself hanging around some of my favorite vendors, having a great time mixing and mingling which made it hard to leave at day’s end. We can’t wait for the next tasting event!
On February 26th, a Stupendous Sunday, The Beverly…
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