A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

ideastream Grand Tasting Recap...and the time I met Jacques Pépin

As a huge fan of public radio and TV, I was really excited when ideastream contacted me to help them promote their Grand Tastings and Seminars. 

This two day event is packed full of wine samples, food, and education for NE Ohio's wine lovers. We were provided complimentary admission on Friday and were excited to meet up with some friends that were also attending, as well as my giveaway winners, for a really fun night.
From the moment we walked in, I could tell that this event was catering to wine lovers when they provided a lovely Reidel wine glass. It was nice to be served wine in a proper glass at an event for a change, plus it came with the cutest ideastream charm - such a great souvenir! 
I loved that the event took place in the ideastream headquarters! It was nice to get a glimpse of where the magic happens. The venue felt cozy but not cramped thanks to being spread out over several rooms and floors.
The event booklet made the event very easy to navigate. With multiple rooms, it helped you find specific wines and also made it pretty simple to come up with a system for tasting. Champagne first of course! You could keep track of your favorites and they also included pricing for all the wine so you knew if the wine was a splurge or something you could enjoy more often.

The food paired well with the wines and consisted of the obligatory cheese, fruit and crackers...
...and also included deviled eggs, chicken salad lettuce wraps, mini meatballs, devils on horseback, salmon...
...and the best little goat cheese tarts with caramelized onions!
Dessert was an assortment of cheesecake bites and lemon squares and there were also savory and sweet offerings from Miceli's including the hazelnut marscapone filled dark chocolate spheres.

We took home some fabulous silent auction items - my hubby got a great basket overflowing with stuff for cycling and I scored two bottles of fancy French wine for a steal.
We thought that the fun was over but then my friend told me she wasn't able to attend the following night and offered us her tickets. We eagerly said YES and did it all over again the next night.

The wine and food offerings were the same but I decided to be more strategic in my wine samples and sought out specific wines. This ended up being a great plan because I found some amazing wines I totally missed the night before.

My favorites were:

- Darioush Caravan Cabernet Sauvignon - an amazing special occasion wine $52.99

- Kim Crawford Signature Sauvignon Blanc - a perfect summer wine that won over this red wine drinker (It also won a Gold medal in the Luxury Win Competition.)

- Alexander Valley Vineyards Dry Rosé of Sangiovese 2017 - a beautiful rosé that I want to be sipping all summer long.

- Tattinger Brut Française - this champagne was amazing and a great value at $59.99. Splurgy but won't totally break the bank.

- Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 - this had amazing flavor thanks to the bourbon but it wasn't overwhelming. $25.99.

As a special treat on day two, legendary culinary expert (and one of the first "celebrity chefs") Jacques Pépin appeared with his daughter Claudine for a personalized cooking demonstration and a VIP dinner. I didn't sign up for either of these because I was supposed to be out of town. But much to my surprise, I ending up getting to meet Jacques Pépin and Claudine!
After he was done with the VIP dinner, he wanted to come to the event and walked around with his daughter mingling and dazzling everyone. I was beyond excited to get to meet this legendary chef in person. And you better believe I smooched him French style on each cheek! 

Thanks to ideastream for partnering with me! While they provided complimentary tickets for Friday's event, all thoughts and opinions are as usual, my own.

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