Globe Sipping: Around the World in 80 Wines presents food and wine from all over the map.
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Ray Napolitano, the Weekly’s food columnist and veteran of many kitchens, knows food and wine. Jeff Moses, who has worked in television in LA and New York for ten years, including stints as a producer for Good Morning America and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, knows how to put on a good show. So when these two team up to present a wine-and-food festival, you know they’re going to pull out all the stops.
Around the World in 80 Days, which will take over the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, March 23, offers the chance to taste fermented fabulousness from each of the world’s greatest wine-growing regions. France, Italy, Germany and Austria, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, and of course the West Coast, from California to Washington, will all be represented, at tables decorated in the style of that region, and complemented by the appropriate gourmet food.
Here’s what it’ll look like: Right inside the front door will be a seafood and sparkling wine bar, featuring smoked salmon tidbits prepared by Bistro 211. A clockwise or counter-clockwise turn around the room will lead to a continent to continent tour.
Here’s France—a glass of Bordeaux with a rack of lamb from L’Escargot. On to Italy for some Sangiovese and a spoonful of Alberto Bonatelli’s polenta lasagna. There will be sake from Japan, along with sushi prepared by Tracy Griffith, author of Sushi American Style; Julio Ramirez is grilling up some Camerones Santiago for the Chilean and Argentinean wines, while Club XIX is bringing in tapas for the Spanish reds. Australian cheeses from Carmel Valley Market and regional American food from the Hyatt will keep pace with the wines at the two biggest tables, North America and Australia/New Zealand/South Africa.
“We want people to leave completely satisfied, unable to eat or drink anything more,” Moses says.
This isn’t the first blow-out the two have put on. Last year, they held “Brew With A View,” a beer fest at the Monterey Boatyard. They’ll be bringing that show back this May as “Back to the Boatyard,” with a second installment of “Brew With A View” scheduled for October. They’re also talking to the Pebble Beach Company about a culinary tie-in to the December Feast for AIDS, and The Food Network has nibbled at their TV show, Cooking With Grandma.
“They want Tracy Griffith as the host,” Napolitano notes. “We shot the pilot with me, and they were terrified.”
Moses and Napolitano point to the many food and wine festivals already taking place locally, from the Monterey Wine Festival to the Masters of Food and Wine. Rather than seeing the field as too crowded, however, they feel this has only whetted appetites for more—so long as they’re better, and less expensive.
“Festival tickets here have become so expensive, the average person can’t go,” Moses says. “We just want to put on a fun event so people can have a great time.”
Around the World in 80 Wines happens March 23, 6-9pm at the Hyatt Regency Monterey. $45; a portion of proceeds will be donated to Hospice Foundation and Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula. Call 649-6544 for tickets.