This past weekend we had the opportunity to attend the 2012 Philadelphia Taste Festival of Food,Wine & Spirits. The event began on Friday the 12th and took place all weekend at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at the Oaks. There were culinary demonstrations by some local cooking pros, as well as a few Celebrity Chefs, including Mark De Carlo, Terry French and Bethenny Frankel (yes, apparently reality t.v., skinny wines and a few books on how to starve yourself makes you a chef...btw, doesn't a glass of good wine contain 100 calories?) There were also several wine seminars throughout the weekend hosted by Thirstygirl (a social media network where women who love wine, food & travel can connect) and Pinot Boutique (a wine shop located in Old City Philadelphia).
When we arrived we were a little taken aback. We had read some pretty negative reviews about the event last year, so we figured things would be a little more organized and run more smoothly this year. Unfortunately it just did not seem the case. First of all, we had to pay $1 for a tasting glass. Wasn't the point of the event to "taste"? The front ticket area was very confusing and there was no one at the entrance to scan tickets. While you had to check-in at the window to receive a wrist band to sample alcoholic beverages, anyone could have walked right in to the event. The expo center itself appears to be pretty large, but this space just did not seem to accommodate the event well. The rows of vendor booths were packed with people who seemed not quite sure where to go to get out of the way. The Wine & Spirits Tasting area was, not surprisingly, the most crowded of all. The abundance of alcohol and lack of food made for some pretty rowdy and drunk peeps. We ended up avoiding it completely and made our way to the stage to catch a few minutes of the shows. We were able to witness some cooking demonstrations from some popular chefs, like award-winning chef Tony Clark (appeared on The Chef's Kitchen) and Nicole Gaffney (owner of The Dinner Belle), to name a few.
Cupcakes Gourmet, but sadly and surprisingly, no samples were provided and we had to pay $3.50 to indulge.
The Philadelphia Taste Festival is sponsored by some pretty big names, including: The Inquirer, Fine Wine & Good Spirits, Travelocity, etc. Clearly people are being drawn to the event, but many seem to be leaving a little disappointed. Tickets aren't ridiculously priced, $45 for general admission and an additional $5-$15 for special seminars and demonstrations. However, once there, it didn't really seem people were getting much for their money. Depending on the line-up for next year, not sure if we would be up for attending this event again. Hopefully some changes will be made, starting with a new venue.
Not all was lost for us though. The highlight of our ventures came from the Pinot Boutique booth. A very nice man representing Paradocx Vineyards located in Chester County, PA introduced us to their wines which are available at the wine boutique. What makes their wine so special? They come in paint cans! Who knew? What a very cool concept...and the white wine blend we sampled was delicious. Pinot Boutique also had an array of very cute and unique wine products, accessories and gift ideas on display. Their shop also offers several wine classes and events every month. We will definitely be making it a point to head over to Old City soon to check out Pinot Boutique and pick up a couple of "paint cans".
More Cooking Demos and Personalities