Delicious Details

Photo credit: Geoff Mottram

The NJ Food & Wine Festival was held this past weekend and it was a big success, despite the gloomy, rainy weather. This year marked the festival’s sixth and it was held again at the Crystal Springs Resort in Vernon Township, NJ. The festival has a perfect home at Crystal Springs…its Restaurant Latour is a consistent winner as a top restaurant in the state…and then there’s the wine cellar. Award-winning doesn’t even describe it.

The cellar houses an impressive collection of more than 9,100 labels and 135,000+ bottles. The collection, amassed by the resort’s owner, took over 50 years to curate, has been awarded accolades by the Wine Spectator and The New York Times and even has over 200 wines that have received 100-point perfect scores from Robert Parker of the Wine Spectator.  It’s not just what’s inside that wine cellar that impresses - the cellar itself is fascinating. Crafted of stone with the twists and turns that could have you lost (if you’re lucky), the wine cellar is also home to several private event rooms that would make any event particularly special. Think French chateau in the middle of the NJ mountains and you get an idea of what these private rooms look like.

The Festival itself was a true celebration of food and liquor. From educational sessions and upscale wine tastings, to unique cocktail mixing demonstrations, the event is an epicurean’s delight. Of course, the cherry on top of this three-day event is the Saturday evening Grand Tasting, where top restaurants from New York and New Jersey offer a chance to sample their goods. Imagine taking a list of all the restaurants you’ve been hearing about and wanting to visit and bringing them together in one night.

It was a feast for the eyes and the palate but it was one small thing that reminded me that the smallest details are what make an event memorable. When I drove up to the event entrance, it was pouring. The security guard stopped me and directed me to the parking lot, then advised me that the man sitting in the golf cart next to him would follow me to my spot and drive me (covered) back to the entrance. It was a little thing - but it meant that I wouldn’t spend the first hour with wet feet - and it was a reminder that details are what matter in the event planning business.


Photo credit: Geoff Mottram

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