Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ritz-Carlton Weekend Has International Food Flavor

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ritz-Carlton Weekend Has International Food Flavor

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

The smell of food and wine filled the ballroom of The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island on Aug. 30 as guests from near and far sampled cuisine from some of the country's most celebrated chefs.

On Labor Day weekend, the resort hosted its ninth annual New World Cuisine Festival of Food and Wine, which drew locals and tourists. Both entire families and business groups made the trip.

But whether novices or connoisseurs, they all arrived hungry.

The weekend's main event featured 11 tasting stations that combined foods and spices discovered in the Western Hemisphere.

Guests ate as they walked between stations carrying wineglasses and dancing to samba beats. Blue, purple and green lights glistened through a liquor bar sculpted from ice.

Benjamin Silver, 9, only had eyes for the chocolates in the pastry display. He pulled his father to the dessert station several times during the night. From the Westchester area of New York, the Silver family has attended the New World festival at The Ritz-Carlton five times.

"We just think this is a great event," Marc Silver said.

With special programming for children, cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and live music, the festival appeals to many people, especially families, Marc Silver said.

Todd Henry of Philadelphia brought his entire family to Amelia Island for its second New World festival weekend. He and his college buddy, Rob Assfalg of Jacksonville, are making the event a tradition.

"This is something we're going to do forever," Henry said. "It's really a lot of fun, [with] hundreds of things for kids to do."

Amelia Island resident Kirk Gray said he was impressed with his first New World experience.

"It's putting the island on the map," he said.

Six guest chefs joined the Ritz's 50-chef team to pull off the event. Truffled foie gras flan (a duck liver delicacy), honey-brined pork tenderloin, ginger and lime marinated conch ceviche and macaroni and cheese were among items on the menu.

More than 30 wines were available for sampling, in addition to a vodka and rum bar. …

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