Rockin the Wine at Bon Appétit Chicago Gourmet!!!

Chicago was the wine and food capital of the world (not that it isn’t otherwise)  during the Chicago Gourmet Festival  (Sept. 26-30, 2018) sponsored by Bon Appétit magazine. This year the theme was “Rockin the Fork” and from attending on Sunday and past years, the event is always rockin!!!!!!

First off, one of the main issues, when attending, is how to prioritze what you want to do. There are so many engaging, interesting, one-of-a-kind tasting demos, classes, seminars and then the tasting Pavilions spread across the grounds, that it is really hard to decide where to go first. Fortunately, there are plenty of wine and spirit options like the cocktails for miles at the Venetian Las Vegas booth to take the stress off of deciding where to drink and eat next.


With all the stressful things going on in the US and the world today, the feeling of abundance of food and beverages and joy at celebrating people who are good at their craft is a rare thing and made the afternoon very joyful. The Pritzker Pavilion turned into a wine and food wonderland.

Lucky me, made it to the wine seminar, “Rockin the Bubbly” given by recently named Master Sommelier Jill Zimorski who is from Chicago and MS Matt Citriglia, Director of Education, Southern Glazer and sponsored by Moet Hennessy.


Matt Citriglia, MS Southern Glazer
Jill Zimorski, MS



For me, this seminar was incredibly timely. I am studying Unit 5 of the WSET (Wine and Spirits Trust) Diploma program which is on sparkling wine. It is amazing how after all the hours and hours and hours (did I say hours and years) of focused wine study (and working full-time jobs at the same time), people like Matt and Jill, are able to articulate details about the wines at a level that is valuable for someone like me, who is in the midst of studying them, or for someone who knows nothing about champagne or sparkling wines. I have decided that once they reach that wine summit of the Everest of wine, the MS, folks like Matt and Jill become wine yodas and are able to take the infinitely detailed and speak about it in a very simple way. Seminars like this, with top-notch professionals in their field is what makes CG such an incredible event. Thank you Matt and Jill for a really excellent talk and the Ruinart, Moet and Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Dom Perignon and Krug went down the hatch pretty easily as well. Yes, I was wine lucky!

So as I said above, the thing with Chicago Gourmet, is that there are loads of quality content. Below are just a few of the pictures of my walk around the grounds before attending the Grand Cru Tasting.

The Turano Bread Man 
Between Supreme Lobster as a supplier and sponsor, and then all these chefs, no wonder the lines were long!!
The Cadillac Doughnot Wall and booth was a huge hit!!!! 

One of my favorite local spirit companies in Chicago is North Shore Distillery on so many levels, the authenticity and quality of their products, the deliciousness, the knowledge of spirit history by the owners and they make a darn good cocktail!!! They recently added rum to their lineup.

Yes at Cayman Islands I would love to visit!
I love the French but the Italians are taking over the world and this is one of their weapons, Aperol. It follows me everywhere!
The Pritker Pavilion feels like an intergalactic launchpad. The Mariano’s tent was hopping!


This was pretty, pretty, pretty good! Beyond Meat burgers provided by Paramount Catering.
I’m walking to get to the Grand Cru tasting and I see the awesome lineup for Pavillon 11 sponsored by Porter Road Meats. 


These glasses represent all the wines and spirits that were poured….
Desmond Echavarrie, MS representing American Airlines


English Fizz, Chapel Down Sparkling Wine and Champagne Nomine-Renard

Perrier Jouet and Evan pouring Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne 2012

Yes, Chef Christine Cikowski,  Honey Butter Chicken and Champagne are a match made in heaven.

Ben Lustbader, Giant, serving swordfish and pork pancetta.

Dan Snowden, Bad Hunter, serving a very tasty corn, brambles, jalapēno butter and rose dish.

Chef Christian Ragano rocking out to his Boudin style meat pie, Cindy’s 

Then the plethora of super premium wines that I rarely get to taste. Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa Valley 2015 and Flowers Winery Sonoma Coast and Faust Winery Napa Valley.

John Anthony Vineyard & Winery, CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino Frescobaldi (the Italians are evertywhere!) and Inglenook Rubicon Napa Valley 2013. 

Started with champagne and ended with champagne. The whirlwind that is Chicago Gourmet came to a close but save the date for next year!! September 27-29, 2019!!!



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