STATEN ISLAND, NY — Brightly colored macaroons, a sumptuous coffee drink and cinnamon tea made from local wildlife fueled conversations about food at this year’s “Uncorked.” On Saturday, the campus in historic Richmond hosted the annual Wine and Food Festival that celebrates local producers and artisans.
There were 20 vendors on display, sampling and selling their wares, including Richmond Town’s resident eateries – Main Street Coffee and Egger’s Ice Cream Parlor. The crowd was delighted to see the return of some popular presenters – Cucina Teresa with her salad dressings, Butter Me Up, the Latin Bites food truck, Mark’s Bake Shoppe, Beezy Beez Honey and restaurateur Julian Gaxholli of Beso, Bayou and Blue.
Newcomers to the event included Bario’s Pizzeria which served hot pies by the hour and Bruno’s NYC Bakery, offering free bites of peach cobbler. Subba Bakery tasted its tasty macaroons. Kills Boro rep Haley Karl served the last beers from the Tompkinsville brewery. And cooks at the Kettle Corn tent amped up food production with ooey-gooey cheese-stuffed arepas fresh off the griddle.
Word of the delicacies spread through the crowd as attendees moved through the festival.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this beautiful day than to sip wine, eat small bites and enjoy my Staten Island community,” said Janessa Rubino, a food and drink enthusiast from the borough that runs the “Eat Your Heart Out Staten Island” Facebook page. She also helped judge Uncorked’s contest for top dishes at the event along with Dr. Adrienne Ferretti, “Farmer Dave” Cavagnaro, and yours truly.
The contest winners are: Kahli’s Corner (custom cookware and more) for “Best Table Display”; Butter Me Up and Subba Bakery tied for “Best Meal”; Butter Me Up and Cucina Teresa for the “Founders Award; Mark’s Bake Shoppe in Richmond for ‘Best Dessert’.
The “Pam Silvestri Award” for Best Use of Local Ingredients went to Ally Soto of “Glam Gardener NYC”. She showcased, sold, and sampled herb bouquets and edibles made from hand-harvested herbs and plants from Staten Island, New Jersey, and upstate. The borough resident also gave a cooking demonstration to the crowd. Last year, Mark’s Bake Shoppe won the honor by using beer from Flagship Brewing Co. (Tompkinsville) in a recipe.
Tom Crimmins offered homemade wine which he gives to customers buying a new house. Tasters declared it “delicious”.
About 700 guests strolled the historic campus from noon until about 3 p.m. despite a spritz of Mother Nature and a concurrent food truck festival at Mount Loretto in Pleasant Plains.
Jessica B. Phillips, CEO of Historic Richmond Town, said, “This is our second biggest fundraiser of the year. Admission to the event traditionally gives a taste of Staten Island. Food is the gateway to our past. Like the nearby Richmond Creek, historic Richmond is located where Lenape people have been for thousands of years. It’s exciting to tell the story of the Staten Islanders through an authentic borough epicenter.
She added: “We are very honored to be hosting this event again – the 13th year. It’s great that the community comes out and supports this story-based educational nonprofit.
Victor Fernandez appreciated the whole effort. He said: “I met so many people here for the first time and now they are like best friends. Everyone was beautiful.
Fernandez is originally from Brooklyn but has family in the borough. He met friends from all over New York State with Richmond Town as his destination.
Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].