A Food and Wine Festival Recap

Golfing was very much a normal weekend activity for many of the approximately 5,000 people who lived in the town I grew up in. And as you might expect to hear from a small-town girl, my uncle was the manager of the city golf course which meant I spent a lot of time there. So naturally, I joined the high school golf team. Now it would make for some boring writing if I told you I went on to be one of the golf greats of my town, right? As it is, I am best known on the course for driving my grandma’s golf cart straight into the porta-potty my mom was using at the time. No embellishment of the facts there.

I’m a terrible golfer. I could probably be good at it, at least in some capacity (I’m a really fast walker), but that would require me to get excited about some part of the game and…I got nothin’. As you may have caught on by now, I’m more likely to be the girl drinking in the clubhouse or running laps around the course. Actually, the best thing I can think of to do at a golf club is have a food and wine festival!

Enter: The Eagle Food & Wine Festival at the Banbury Golf Club in Eagle, Idaho. Von and I signed up last spring to pour our wines at this event knowing it was to take place on our anniversary. I suppose when you really like what you do and when you get invited to participate along with nearly 30 other wineries and restaurants at a sell-out event that benefits a great organization and takes place at a well-respected golf club, you don’t hesitate to say yes. Or maybe you realize you’ve been married long enough that working together at a cool event like this one IS kind of a great way to celebrate your marriage and the fact that yes, although you may know exactly how to push the other person’s buttons, you still genuinely like one another. I guess in our case it was a nice pairing of both situations.

We arrived early to set up our table and admire the grounds, which I’d been to numerous times (for brunch, in case you were thinking I’d actually pay the money to embarrass myself golfing at a place like that). We took a few moments to grab some photos and play ‘Where’s the Wine?’

I kept waiting to get kicked off. I harbor that much guilt when it comes to my past behavior on golf courses.
I kept waiting to get kicked off. I harbor that much guilt when it comes to my past behavior on golf courses.
It's safe to say that if you didn't see our table at this event, you clearly had enough to drink.
It’s safe to say that if you didn’t see our table at this event, you clearly had enough to drink.

As you may notice we had somewhat of a flashy table. I think we were the only winery to bring our own custom tablecloth and signage. We don’t believe in being subtle about what we do – there’s nothing subtle about jalapeno wine.

So we set up shop and argued about my control-freak behavior (I don’t even know I’m doing it, I swear). We had over 2 hours to kill before the event began and the place was pretty quiet. (We learned that although the contract states to be set up within a certain time-frame, most people just do what they want and set up an hour before start time. As a former event planner that would give me an ulcer.) So we traveled up the road a mile for appetizers and a drink at Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery. Waitaminute! Was this an impromptu anniversary celebration?! No kids, no chores, no entertainment, just us? Well I’ll be! It was indeed. Anniversary acknowledged, cheers to us! A cheese plate for everyone!

Back at the event we were able to sneak in a tasting of some of our local winery friends’ wines. We’d never met the people behind Cellar 616 nor had we tasted their wine so that was a treat (Ken is super nice and down to Earth). Also on our must-have list was Periple. I adore Angie, the winemaker and one-woman team behind the biz, and her wines also happen to be very, very good. Particularly her Syrah although I have yet to try her Tuesday Night White which sold out at the event. Another favorite is Mouvance – Judy (one of the owners) seems like an absolute real person (to stay true to the use and definition of the word ‘real’ on this blog – she seems unfiltered and not full of artificial ingredients). Mouvance makes some of my favorite whites and their Viognier did not disappoint.

On the restaurant side of things, we were paired up with Wild West Bakery (located in Eagle) and they brought their gluten-free lemon bars and red velvet bites to showcase. Dangerous! Suuuuure, put the personal trainer by the baked goods. Well played. Naomi (the owner) is fantastic and I liked her from the moment we spoke on the phone two months ago. Meeting her in person to talk food and wine and have her serving next to us was a great time. There’s talk of her carrying our mild jalapeno wine mixed with lemonade in her bakery next summer!

Although we didn’t have much time to sample food once the festivities began, we did get to sneak in the balls-on-a-stick from 3 Girls Catering which chef Lisa was so kind to bring us in exchange for “some of that hot wine!” That woman is a riot, we just enjoy her spirit and she drinks chipotle wine by the glass, folks. Do not mess with her and DO eat their food (it’s balls-on-a-stick good).

Another scrumptious showing was by Chef Dean Fuller from the Boise Hotel & Conference Center/Castle Ranch. I’d heard about his wonderful gourmet food and use of local ingredients. Turns out his reputation is just as it should be. First let me say I think I’m the only person in the world besides my mother who doesn’t like bacon. Nothing ethical involved, I just don’t care for it and in case you’re wondering I do eat pork otherwise. Now back to Chef Fuller – the guy had baked his own potato chips (Idaho potatoes, be certain) and topped them with a piece of bacon, chocolate something-or-other (sweet bliss) and some chili pepper flakes and maybe some sea salt…I’m probably completely missing it but he accomplished something incredible – he made me like that bacon a LOT. I went back for seconds. Okay…thirds. At any rate, nicely done, Chef.

As for our take on the event from our side of the table – it was a hit. We were pouring our mild and chipotle wines as well as our Riesling and the feedback, excitement, conversations and reactions going on around our table were so encouraging. I only wish we had a camera to tape the reactions we get upon first sip of the jalapeno wines, followed up with their commentary once people realize they love it. We met people all the way from Cape Cod, Massachusetts who were excited to see and try something new. I can’t believe I get paid to do this stuff! Oh…that’s right, I don’t. I do get paid in wine and good-time vibes from doing events like this one.

At the end of the night we packed up our wares, said our thanks, nice-to-meet-yous, see-you-next-years and goodbyes and we picked up the kiddos from grandma and papa’s. Another year together and another fun event under our belts. Looking forward to seeing what next year brings! I can pretty much guarantee you won’t see me on a golf course before then…

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