By Duane Pemberton & Sarah Bagdon
Photos by: Duane Pemberton and Renee Stark
Video by: Sarah Bagdon
Event website: http://www.tasteoftulalip.com/
The 2011 Taste of Tulalip held at the Tulalip Resort in Marysville WA. was a pure orgy of the senses – sight, sounds, smells, touch and taste! It was a nirvana of food and wine like no other event I’ve been to.
Starting off on Friday night’s formal dinner, which featured a variety of courses expertly plated and cooked by the team of Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and well-matched wines picked by Sommelier Tommy Thompson, the assault on the taste buds was a highly welcomed one and one I’d easily recommend to anyone.
We can’t remember the last time we have seen an entire staff as dedicated to bringing together the ultimate in food and wine like I have at Tulalip,. As each course was brought out to the tables during Friday’s dinner, Chef Perry and Sommelier Tommy would tell us about the dish and the wine picked to go with it – they’re wit and dedication to their respective crafts really resounded with the folks in attendance.
The surprise of Friday night, however, came in the form of the “three waiters” – a trio of guys dressed as waiters who went around, trying to “out-do” each other with good opera music and humor. (see video):
Saturday kicked off with a cool cooking demonstration by Carla Hall from the show “The Chew” (she was also a finalist in the show, Top Chef, season 5). She showed the audience how to make a duck ragu, took the time to answer questions from the audience and with the help of Chef Perry’s staff, let everyone there sample her creation.
The M.C. was Leslie Sbrocco a.k.a “Thirsty Girl” – she did a good job of engaging both the audience and the panel of Chef Perry and Tommy Thompson.
After that, Tommy Thompson broke out the “big guns” in a magnum private tasting event where we had access to some of the most respected wines in the world, including; Leonetti, Quilceda Creek, Shafer, Nickel & Nickel, Velvet Glove, Abacus, Insignia, Chateau Montelena,Winery, ZD Wines, Stags Leap, Penfolds Grange and others.
After picking up our jaws off the floor from the insane wines we just sampled, it was time to head out to the Grand Tasting – VIP style – which means early access! If you go next year, you’ve got to go VIP – just sayin’. Just about everyone who is anyone was pouring at the Grand Tasting – familiar WA brands like, Leonetti, Betz, Bookwalter, Sparkman, Corvus Cellars, Mark Ryan and others. That’s not to mention the 20+ California brands and the 15+ Italian producers represents there, pool-side.
To be honest, Duane is in-love with so many Italian wines so it was really a tremendous experience to be able to taste some wines most of us don’t have easy access to or that are cost-prohibitive to be considered “daily drinkers” – the only real issue, is that we know some folks had in the Italian section was the smell of chlorine from the pool. we were assured by the event staff that they’d address this issue next year, however.
The food being served during the Grand Tasting was equally as insanely good as the wines – Tulalip staff prepared everything right there, in front of you as you watched- from freshly made chocolates to liquid nitrogen-chilled ice cream to savory meat dishes. It was enough to bring a tear to foodies like us, literally.
The overall “feel” of the 2-day event was spot-on – a haven for food and wine lovers like no other I’ve been to – it really was in a class by itself. It offered so much for the more long-time wine lover as well as a plethora of things for those new to wine. We can simply think of no other event, ever, that either of us have been to in our combined 12+ years in the wine industry that can match the experience and overwhelming goodness that is the Taste of Tulalip.
We’d highly encourage you to attend in 2012 and to book early as the event sells out fast! In fact, we jokingly told the staff there that only one time a year simply isn’t enough. : )