My motto has always been … I’d rather fly than drive! But it was worth navigating the 405 to the OC to attend Laguna Beach’s Uncorked International Food and Wine Fest, hosted by the Laguna Beach and Visitors Bureau.
Held at the same locale as the famed Pageant of the Masters, the festival showcased 30 wineries and 20 restaurants. It was a pastoral setting parallel to any Bacchanalian feast in the day. A portion of the proceeds benefited CHOC Children’s Hospital.
Just as actors are a piece of the human art experience at Masters, the featured cuisine and spirits exhibited part of the cultural scene of this area known for blue skies, an ocean that does not quit, and a bunch of elite shopping malls. Local gourmands and beyond had quite a treat in store!
Michael A Jordan, MS CWE, Sommelier of the People, gave a two-hour seminar to open the show. This man knows his craft. He is one of only 15 people in the world to hold both the Master Sommelier and the Certified Wine Educator Diplomas.
The day was a full-on cultural experience. Only in Laguna would one find art in the shuttle parking lot in the form of a couch sculpture for passengers to sit and wait. Once on the shuttle (which was more like a limo than a bus), we watched Andrea Bocelli’s concert filmed in Portofino. Upon return, we listened to an Asian pianist who played a Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody. But, our destination was just up the road!
Although there weren’t any celebs that we noticed, the stars were the chefs and sommeliers, as well as the cuisine and the wine/champagne. My group tried samples of Grilled Mahi Tacos (The Deck on Laguna Beach), Steak Tartre on Lavosh with Asiago Cheese and Pickled Quail Egg (Watermarc), Pate in Pastry (Dizz’s As Is), Crab Cakes and Filet Mignon Sopes (Las Brices), Chicken Curry (Remarks), Pork Sliders (Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach), Prime Boneless Short Rib (Tabu Grill), Pasta-less Vegetarian Lasagna (Sundried Tomato), Lobster Macaroni and Cheese (House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer), Pink Grapefruit Risotto, Nyango Chocolate Crème, Tangerine and Grapefruit Macaroons (Montage Laguna Beach), and more.
Guests tasted wines from Azienda Giol, Domaine Carneros, Ridge Vineyards, Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery, Domaine des Baumard, Clos Pagade Winery, Etude, and more.
Not only do we say bravo to Bocelli, we say bellisimo to Laguna Beach!
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Women’s Day Australia, on broadcasts and the web. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.