It is no secret that every year I look forward to the Key West Food and Wine Festival. It is organized, well thought out and offers wonderful events. So, when I saw the menu posted for the Banfi wine dinner on Thursday night, I bought tickets right away, knowing that with only 40 seats it would sell out quickly.
We started the evening at the Festival’s kickoff party at the Casa Marina. This is a party with all the makings of a
great time: food, wine, music and a great atmosphere. Plus, the weather was perfect for a beachside party. Although we were heading to dinner from this event, I had to sample a couple of the goodies. Among the universal favorites: short rib from the carving station with super crispy onion rings, tuna tartare, coconut shrimp and flatbreads. There were about 15 wines to choose from (or not – there was time to sample many of them!) Overall, it was an outstanding party, and I am already looking forward to next year.
The Banfi dinner was next door at The Strip House, located in the Reach Resort. With our insider knowledge, we took a bunch of people over with us, using a shortcut through the properties. A couple of other folks decided we didn’t know where we were going, so they went on their own, and showed up about fifteen minutes later, lamenting not having followed along. It turned out fine for everyone.
The five course dinner was set up in a private room, and it was a great venue. Although it was a little on the crowded side, it made for a convivial and festive environment. As we were guided through each course, and each wine, by Luciano Castiello, the official Banfi ambassador who has not only immense wine knowledge, but great stories.
It was all fantastic. The menu started with a yellowtail crudo, paired with Prosecco, and moved on to grouper cheeks paired with 2012 Castello Banfi “Fontanelle” Chardonnay. From there we moved on to lamb medallion, paired with 2010 Banfi Cum Laude and veal leg paired with the 2011 Banfi “Poggio Alle Mure” Rosso di Montalcino. Always one of the best dishes at The Strip House is the New York Strip, served with to-die-for truffled creamed spinach. This one was served with the 2008 Banfi “Poggio Alle Mure” Brunello di Montalcino. Dessert was a lavender panna cotta, and was, in my opinion, the weak link. Although it was fine, everything else was just wonderful.
Between the kickoff party, the excellent dinner and Luciano hosting the event, I knew we were in for a treat the rest of the weekend. Coming up next on the blog: The Grand Tasting and Duval Uncorked.