Feasting season may officially be over as New Year’s resolutions demand their dues—but why not make your goal this year not to eat less, but better?
That’s the opportunity we Long Islanders are getting with the arrival of the Fine Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, January 20. This indoor event, held at the Exhibition Hall at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, already looks like one of the year’s most unmissable for foodies of all kinds—a big claim for the first month of the new year!
Some of Long Island’s best will be doing our region proud at this event, from locally-produced drinks to eats to gift-y treats. Attendees can look forward to tasting over 150 wines from our North Fork, beers and ciders from across the Island, and gourmet and signature dishes from some of our most innovative chefs and restaurateurs. New York City’s finest are trekking out to mid-island as well, bringing with them some of the best food truck finds that metropolis has to offer. From further afield, like New Jersey and beyond, more wines, liquors, beer, and cider will find their ways to attendee cups that day, too—especially since General Admission tickets include a five-ounce tasting glass for sips across the venue.
For the thirsty, our own Lieb Cellars, Martha Clara Vineyards, Raphael, Palmer Vineyards, Lenz, One Woman Wines & Vineyards, and Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards proudly represent. From upstate and the Garden State, the FWFF is hosting Americana Vineyards and Lake George’s Adirondack Winery and Bellview, William Heritage, and Sharrott Wineries, respectively.
For a little something different, here will be your chance to try the Long Island Cuban Cigar and Bourbon Experience, Spoonable Spirits’ “boozy jellies and puddings,” Coastal Coast Kombucha, and Freefall Sangria, a 30-proof, “not-so-sweet” drink made entirely from New York grapes.
But first, to line that stomach: carbs! After all, what better excuse to start with dessert than that? Vienna Cookie Company, The Bearded Baker (now offering vegan macarons), Serenity’s Sweet & Savory Boutique, and Batter Up’s edible cookie dough offer plenty of locally based options.
If gastro-pub is more your style of base coat, All American Wontons will have plenty of their farmer’s market favorites on hand while The Jerky Hut brings on the meats and MELTology’s gourmet grilled cheeses aim to please. These vendors are known for comfort foods with a spin, but to go full international, there will be tapas from Veo Espana, bites from Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, Salsa di Parma, and Dafni Greek Gourmet.
Of course, no food festival on an island should be without seafood features. Mr. Smith’s II, the Brentwood-based food truck, and Blue Island Oysters—part of our Edible on the Road series—from West Sayville represent.
Unfortunately, $49 General Admission tickets mean these treats will be for purchase only and won’t be included. Fortunately, the VIP ticket for $99 does include any meal at Boardwalk Specials or Mac Truck NYC, which you can enjoy in an exclusive area, plus sessions with some of our island’s best sommeliers and distillers.
With responsibility and teetotalers in mind, the event is also offering Designated Driver passes at just $15, allowing you to choose to eat rather than drink your calories, if that’s a choice your resolutions are forcing you to make. Regardless of if you’re imbibing or not, though, you do have to be 21 or older to score entrance to this party.
Tickets are still available via Ticketmaster and by phone; www.finewineandfoodfest.com has all the details. We recommend this advance purchase option as event-day tickets jump up to $65 per person for General Admission.