The Accidental Locavore was a recent guest at the Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest. It’s an annual opportunity to taste and discover New York State wines (and there are a lot of them!) along with offerings from local restaurants and food trucks. Along with all that, there are vendors of wine and food-related objects, such as hammocks (for when a nap is required), jerky and goat soap. I was very interested in a lanyard that clipped to your wine glass (but not $5 interested), especially since one of the early etiquette lessons either I ignored or my mother never taught me, was how to balance a wine glass, plate, cutlery, napery, etc. in a buffet setting. It could be a great promo piece or hostess gift, if you hang out at a lot of buffets.
Of the dining options, the food trucks had more diversified and interesting selections. Granted, they had a distinct advantage as they had their signage (the truck) and complete kitchens with them. The local restaurants weren’t so lucky, having to make do with some warming trays and a set-up inside a big tent that left little room for personalization. This also made it difficult to scan the room and decide what looked interesting to chow down on.
Even though the chicken tikka and samosas from Cinnamon looked good, since we’d had a large and tasty dinner there the night before, I decided to try to be more adventurous. The Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Grower’s Association had the most eclectic selection of food, ranging from a pulled Mongolian lamb breast to dessert crèpes with sheep’s milk ricotta.
Cruising the trucks outside, I loved the look of Aurora’s Gypsy Truck, which even had divans on which to enjoy your meal under a beaded and tasseled canopy. After careful consideration, I decided on a flatbread pizza from Black Forest Flammkuchen and starving, went up to place my order only to be told there would be a 40-minute wait (yes, you read that right)! They must have been very special, but I couldn’t wait that long.
In the main buildings, there were well over a hundred booths with countless bottles of wine. Interspersed were vendors with spices, maple syrup, beef jerky, cute tee shirts and the usual merchandise seen at fairs. I tasted some of the wonderful maple syrup from Crown Maple and learned that New York State has some very weird laws about the size of containers for selling maple syrup. Since I like the richness of dark syrup for making my bacon, I’ll be off to their farm to pick up some soon.
One of my favorite vendors was Chef Ryan at Seasoned Culinary Classes, who brings an interesting spin to cooking classes. When you hire him, he lets you decide what you want to learn. I was only half-joking with him when I said I wanted to learn to cook on an electric range. He laughed and agreed that it was a challenge. Think about it, if you could choose what you’d like to learn from a chef, what would it be?