This past Saturday evening, the 22nd of August, 2015, North-Forks ventured to McCall’s Ranch to attend the tremendously anticipated Harvest East End, hosted by Dan’s Papers. In the past, we’ve mentioned that we love this sort of event because experiencing flavors from all over the North Fork in one location in one evening is a tremendous opportunity. Harvest East End is the biggest of these events. The North Fork is a tight knit community of people passionate about what they produce, be it food, wine or beer, so Harvest East End is an opportunity for them to celebrate the season together and share that enthusiasm with a multitude of guests. This is what we love most about Harvest East End.
As you enter, wine glasses are handed out with lariats so that you never have to place your glass down and risk misplacing it. The event began with the VIP hour, when Geoffrey Zakarian of Food Network and restaurant fame gave his speech and Chef Guy Reuge of Stony Brook’s Mirabel Tavern at the Three Village Inn was honored with his award. After the first hour, general admission begins.
With nearly every winery on the North Fork represented, we were able to make our way around the enormous tent and speak directly with owners and wine makers as we tasted their exceptional wines. Suhru and T’Jara, for example, are wines we have only ever purchased in stores so having the opportunity to speak with winemaker Russell Hearn about these wines was a rare treat. Of course, we must visit with old friends, Mattebella, McCall, Sparkling Pointe, Waters Crest, Palmer, and others. It’s also fun to run into other North Fork fans you’ve met previously at other wine events and trade notes about new wines you’ve tasted this evening. At North-Forks, we often communicate with people and never actually meet them. Finally meeting the “behind the scenes” team at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyards allowed us to put faces with names we only see in email. One of our goals was to finally meet the team behind The Old Fields and taste some of their wine.
Several restaurants were also present to provide bites of food. Edible spoons holding duck confit at Bistro 72 did away with the need for plates or utensils, as did freshly shucked oysters by Noah’s and The Frisky Oyster. Other restaurants served bites of spicy meatballs, duck confit, cheese and meat samples, pastry and gazpacho, among other delicious samples.
Saying hello to the chefs was a delight, these unsung heroes of the kitchens are not usually in the front of house, so it’s always a pleasure chatting with the likes of James Junk of Bistro 72 and Noah Schwartz of Noah’s and Tom Schaudel, who made it a point to highlight the individual chefs at his four restaurants. We meandered our way around, tasting wine, sampling food and speaking with everyone.
With so much to taste, we have a single guideline: The priority is to taste anything we haven’t tried recently.
Towards the end of the evening, swag bags are given to VIP ticketholders. Inside were various coupons and gift certificates to several restaurants, a wine-bottle shaped commemorative cutting board, as well as a handful of smaller useful items from a citronella candle from East End Tick Control to a “Find Your Way” carabineer and compass key chain from First and South (a personal favorite).
In short, 2015’s Harvest East End, hosted by Dan’s Papers was a fantastic experience, a wonderful success and not to be missed in 2016. Start making plans for the end of August now!