SAVE THE DATE for the 2012 show: November 10th, at News-Journal Center. More details to come.
Wine & Dine: N-J festival offers chance to sample cuisine
By Denise O'Toole Kelly, Daytona Beach News-Journal Food Editor, Nov. 9, 2011
Proprietors and chefs from more than 15 area restaurants, along with purveyors of fine wines and premium beers, have jumped at the chance to give the community a taste of the best and latest they have to offer.
Chef Chris Pruneau displays a seared tuna salad along with shrimp and cheese grits, left, and a beef skirt steak dish, at Caffine, in Ormond Beach. (N-J | Peter Bauer)
Samples of a crab cake dish from Billy's Tap Room & Grill will be offered at the Halifax Food & Wine Festival. (N-J | Peter Bauer)
Chef Mark Woodford displays a crab cake dish along with Maine lobster, foreground, grilled salmon and pork chop at Billy's Tap Room & Grill in Ormond Beach. (N-J | Peter Bauer) "To have something that focuses just on the cuisine and the local wine and restaurant scene is refreshing," Chris Pruneau, executive chef at Ormond Beach's Caffeine Bistro & Wine Bar, said about the inaugural Halifax Food & Wine Festival, to be presented Saturday by The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Those who attend the festival at News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach will have the opportunity to sample specialties from an array of restaurants representative of the area's diverse styles of dining. The local beverage industry will be out in force, with distributors, shops and a winery bringing at least 40 imported and craft beers and 30 fine wines for tasting.
Continuous live entertainment both inside and outside the waterfront venue is planned, with a sports bar on site for those who don't want to miss college-football action. A portion of the proceeds will go to the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties.
"We just want to make this a really fun, great event for our community," said Jessica Fox, The News-Journal's events marketing manager.
Make no mistake, though, the food and drink will be the evening's star attractions, vendors said.
Caffeine's Pruneau said he'll bring Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits, Seared Ahi Tuna Salad and Achiote-marinated Skirt Steak. "I wanted to do things off our regular dinner menu to try to showcase what we do well," Pruneau said.
Doug Rand, who with wife Lillian reopened the iconic Billy's Tap Room & Grill in Ormond Beach as its new owners in April, said the decision on what to primarily feature at the festival was easy.
"We will have the crab cakes, definitely," he said. "Billy's has been known for crab cakes here for decades."
Mr. Dunderbak's Bavarian Restaurant/Delicatessen will bring a beer to sample along with its food offerings. Most of the beer, though, will come from the Halifax area's two major beverage distributors, which have tailored extensive sampling lists specifically for the event.
"We normally try to go with the season. So in the winters we'll use the winter ales. We're going to do a cider, a little more of the heavier beers," said Eva Connors, marketing director for S.R. Perrott Inc. She said her company will offer samples of three wines and 10 beers, including Orange Blossom Pilsner, which is brewed in Central Florida.
Daytona Beverages will bring to the festival 25 beers from nine breweries, said Rene Kennedy, marketing vice president for the company. "We're going to do everything from Belgian beers all the way to craft brands. We're going to be all over the globe," he said.
The Florida marketing representative for a California winery whose products are new to the state came across the Halifax Food & Wine Festival online and decided to travel from her base in Sarasota. "We'll be introducing The Naked Grape to Daytona Beach. We'll have all five of our varietals (chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, pinot grigio, moscato) for tasting," she said of the wines that are widely available in local grocery stores.
First Crush, a wine bar and shop in Ormond Beach, will bring six South African wines. ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, which has several Halifax area locations, will bring seven wines from Italy, France and California.
The News-Journal's Fox hopes it all adds up to a strong feeling of community among those in the local food and drink industry and their patrons.
"I think it's going to be a really fun night, and it's for a good cause," she said.