Tips for Making the Most of Your Food Festival Visit


By Nisha Vedi Pawar @lovelaughmirch & online at:

NYC Reporter, masalamommas

A few weeks ago I attended New York City’s Food & Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting. The Grand Tasting is the grand finale of the 3-day food and wine festival with vendors, cooking demonstrations, food tastings, wine samplings and more. If I were to choose one event to attend among the numerous events, this would be it. This year the Grand Tasting was held at the beautiful Hudson River Park Pier 57.

Upon entering the festival guests were handed gift bags to fill up and an Ikea wine glass to start sipping! During the tastings guests could also sit in on cooking demonstrations hosted by celebrity chefs like Rachel Ray, Ina Garten, and Bobby Flay. I was lucky enough to catch the tail end of Bobby Flay’s demonstration on roasting herb vegetables.


As I entered the venue I was giddy at how many vendors where there and how much ground there was to cover. Sampling fabulous foods, sipping flavorful wines all while supporting at great cause -to end hunger… It was literally a food & wine lovers heaven! Attending these large food festivals can get a bit overwhelming at times and so I present to you my tips & ticks to attending a food festival!

I’m no expert but I do find that these tips have helped me enjoy the festival and experience.


masalamommas, nyc food festival, nisha vedi pawar, food festival tips1. Pack light – This was my biggest mistake. I waltzed in there with my big purse and heavy coat. What was I thinking? The venue was packed with vendors who all had their mini kitchens going, serving hot food. That mixed with walking around, large crowds, and vendors giving you take home samples = me wishing I came empty handed! I will certainly not make that mistake again.


2. Pace yourself – There will be tons, read TONS of restaurants, vendors, brands passing out samples. Take your time, take a break – the point is to enjoy yourself. One of my favorite spots in the festival was the Delta lounge that was set up with comfy couches and “air hostesses” walking around serving refreshments. I took a break here a few times to put my feet up and recharge.


masalamommas, nyc food festival, nisha vedi pawar, food festival tips3. Try everything – Ever wanted to try Tuna tartar, or how about eel, or maybe a Thai tomato bisque soup? This is your perfect opportunity to try bite sized samples of the foods you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t want to take a chance with your diner portions. Don’t like what you just tried? No biggie, it’s not as if you have to ask your waiter/waitress for a new dish. This is one of my favorite things about a food festival, that you get to expose your palette to various tastes and textures.


4. Ask questions – How come your pasta doesn’t taste like the vendors? Why is the consistency of your soup different then the recipe on the back of the box? This is the perfect opportunity to ask all those questions you had for brands and vendors. Most of the brands and vendors have a chef at the festival that can help you with all of your culinary questions. And remember not all brands are the alike, these are the chefs that will know their product the best so make sure you apply their advice to their brands.

masalamommas, nyc food festival, food festival tips, love laugh mirch, nisha vedi pawar5. Pick & choose – Towards the middle of the festival my bag was almost overflowing with goodies and samples that brands were giving out. This was my mistake for taking it all so I decided to be be choosier. Take what you will use. Since I was commuting via train I passed up the boxes of Soup and opted for the box grater instead. And as much as I love Nutella, I passed up giant jar and chose the box of Ferro Roches instead. Remember, you are there to enjoy yourself and if you find yourself hauling excess weight, that will just put a damper on the event.


These are some of the things that helped me make the most of an amazing food festival. This was my first year attending but I can certainly say that it will not be my last! The Grand Tasting was the perfect Grand Finale of a food & wine heavenly weekend.


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