Friday Foodstuffs 9.18.09: Cape May Food & Wine Festival

South Jersey certainly has its share of restaurant weeks and food events to satisfy what ails ya. If you were looking for one big event that had lots going on, look no further than the Cape May Food & Wine Festival. From the 19th to the 27th of this month, Cape May will be a veritable lip-smacking cornucopia of food, wine and beer.

Let’s start on Saturday, shall we? The Cape May Harvest Food and Wine Tasting at the The Carriage House Tearoom & Café at the Emlen Physick Estate is a multi-course adventure that includes a cheese tasting and wines from Cape May Winery.

The next day brings us to the Gourmet Marketplace. From 1PM to 4PM, you can enjoy food from Cape May restaurants under the tent, tour Cape May Winery and and taste their wines, witness the Chefs Cook-Off and vote in the Chowder Contest. That in of itself would be a great food and wine festival – but that’s just Sunday!

If you prefer fermented grains instead of grapes, a four-course Beer Tasting Dinner will be happening on Tuesday at Aleathea’s. A beer will me matched with every course, and you can enjoy listening to beer expert Gary Monterosso discuss each beer that’s being served.

You want a gourmet lunch? Who doesn’t? Well, how about a gourmet lunch from Monday through Friday at a different restaurant each day for $25 a person? How about dinner instead? How about a five-course Chef’s Dine Around from Sunday to Thursday where you are taken by trolley bus to the location of each course? Can I have a whole paragraph with questions? I think I can; don’t you agree?

And finally, if you want to spend some time during the festival to brush up your culinary skills, there will be classes and seminars taking place from Monday through Thursday at various locations throughout Cape May for only $25 a class.

Look – I know in today’s world we’re not supposed to talk about indulgences, but we also need to make sure we’re having some fun while we’re living and breathing here on this planet. So, if you have the opportunity, go ahead and indulge a bit.

From this weekend to the middle of October, there will be a TON of food events taking place. If you had a chance to check out the new Fall 2009 Festivals of Food post (and if you haven’t, I’ll give you a sec……………OK, that’s long enough), then you can see all the events coming up. Let’s look at Saturday, where you have the Jersey Tour des Farms kicking things off early in the morning, then it’s up to Point Pleasant Beach’s and their big Festival of the Sea, followed quickly by the Hispanic Heritage Family Festival in Woodbine and the LAC Ruritan Crab and Craft Festival in Hancock’s Bridge.

As we get to the afternoon, the momentum just keeps on going with the Craft Beer Fest at The Deck at Trump Marina in Atlantic City, the Harvest & Crush event at Natali Vineyards in Cape May Courthouse and Crab-a-Palooza at Pinsetter Bar & Bowl in Pennsauken.

And on both Saturday and Sunday, you have the Wings ‘n Water Festival at The Wetlands Institute in Stone Harbor as well as WineFest 2009 at Valenzano Winery in Shamong.

In the restaurants this weekend, there will be an International Wine & Beer Expo tonight at Tomasello Winery in Hammonton, and another installment of Chef Wars on Sunday with Cork going to Sewell to take on Barnsboro Inn. Sunday also begins two week-long dining events: Collingswood Restaurant Week and Share Our Strength’s Great American Dineout.

The cooking class schedule is also picking up. Kithen Kapers has Cooking For Couples: Invitation to India Saturday night and Kids in the Kitchen: Adventures in Pasta (vegetarian) and Cooking Buddies: Gluten-Free Basics on Sunday. Looking ahead to Monday, The Pop Shop in Collingswood will have Picky Preschoolers: Back to School Healthy Snacks and Kids in the Kitchen: After School Snacks, while the Deptford Public Library will be all about how to Make Your Own Apple Sauce and the Northfield Public Library will be all about Crepes and Belgian Waffles.

And in the news this week…

Some not so good news on the clam front, with a decline in surf clams as well as clam bed patrols losing funding from the state.

Dodge’s Market in Elmer, a Salem County food market institution since 1886, is up for sale.

Meanwhile, Conte’s Pasta in Buena has just expanded…and with that, more jobs.

And, it looks like the planned 40,000 square-foot year-round international market in Vineland could be a reality by next year.

Enjoy your weekend!

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