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Kosher Food & Wine Experience 2014 sets the tone for Passover's wine trend

Kosher Food & Wine Experience 2014 -slide0
Tzvi Cohen

Over the past year, there has been significant growth and interest in kosher wines. The recent surge can be attributed to the improving quality and versatility of the wines, as well as a strong marketing push to attract kosher and non-kosher wine lovers alike. The interest and appreciation for kosher wines was further reinforced at this year’s sold out Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE) held at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers.

A selection of wines available for Passover
Tzvi Cohen

Marking its eighth year, KFWE 2014 catered to 2,300 kosher and non-kosher attendees with over 40 local and international wineries present, including Covenant, Domiane Netofa, FLAM, and Casa de Corca. According to Jay Buchsbaum, vice president of marketing for Royal Wine Corp, founding company of KFWE, it’s likely that the recent jump in sales is a result of the high quality of kosher wines now available from around the world. “The kosher consumer today has discovered great wines and wants what the non-Kosher consumer wants in the quality of wine they drink,” he said. “That’s why great non-kosher wineries such as Léoville the Rothschild’s and others are making kosher cuvées.”

With a versatile list of wines on display, attendees were able to sample and get more insight directly from the winemakers. “The [KFWE] presents a unique opportunity for winemakers like me to personally meet a broad cross-section of our consumer base that spans several continents and oceans: there’s nothing like it,” said Jeff Morgan, winemaker and co-owner of Covenant Wines in Napa Valley.

The wine was complemented by delicious food from over 25 different food vendors, including Manhattan’s Le Marais, Brooklyn’s Tokyo Sushi, and New Jersey’s Carlos & Gabby’s. A number of vendors offered kosher charcuterie—cured meats—which has become a recent trend in kosher cuisine. Vendors offered a number of classic dishes, including a waffle-encrusted chicken (Prime Grill), apricot wrapped pastrami (Wolf & Lamb), and a barbecue potato salad (Glatt-à-la-Carte).

This year’s expo extended outside to the docked Hornblower Hybrid—one of New York's most luxurious yachts—which hosted a dessert pavilion featuring a variety of mouthwatering sweets complemented by a complete selection of dessert wines and an expanded cocktail bar with renowned mixologist Esteban Ordoñez creating artful concoctions featuring Morad and Schmerlings.

With Passover right around the corner, the expo gave attendees an opportunity to learn about a vast selection of options available for the holiday. Then again, with a versatile crop of grapes from around the world, these wines should be considered anytime of the year. Here are some to consider along with suggested food pairings:

Flor del Flor de Primavera
A bright and vibrant Spanish Grenache with hints of ripe cherry and floral scents
Food Pairing: crispy duck, goat, lamb chops, venison, cheeses, vegetables, and mushroom risotto

An earthy Shiraz from Northern Jerusalem with hints of oak
Food Pairing: game meats, stews, Italian dishes such as lasagna and pizza

A rich cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley that possesses hints of ripe currant, blackberry, and plum
Food Pairing: beef, veal, or robust pasta dishes

Baron Edmund de Rothschild’s Flechas de los Andes Gran Malbec
A sultry, dark malbec the blends together raspberry, chocolate, and dark licorice flavor with oak and soft tannins
Food Pairing: chicken, veal, rack of lamb

With events in Los Angeles, London, Israel, and most recently in Miami, the KFWE has become a destination for wine lovers and foodies alike. If you missed it this year, be sure to keep next year’s KFWE on your radar.

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