Harvest East End Cheers to 40 Years of Winemaking on Long Island

Long Island Wine Country had a lot to celebrate about. In fact, 1,300 enthusiasts of wine and food, including Governor Andrew Cuomo joyously gathered under a festive billowing tent to raise a glass and cheer for 40 years of winemaking at the 4th Annual Harvest East End at McCall Vineyard & Ranch in Cutchogue New York. The regions farms, fishermen, 34 local top chefs and 43 vintners showcased the bounty of the land, sea and vines. It was the first year that this vinous and edible gala was held on the North Fork of Long Island and how fitting considering two pioneers were honored for giving rise to one of the world’s most exciting viticultural and culinary destinations: Louisa Hargrave co-founder of Hargrave Vineyards (now known as Castello di Borghese Vineyard) for planting the first vitis vinifera grapes with her former husband Alex Hargrave, and John Ross, who established Ross’ North Fork restaurant that featured local wines and grown food that helped ignite the farm-to-table movement on the North Fork; all of which was 40 years ago.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo. Photography credit: Jessica Guadagno

“Put tourism together with the wine industry, and they can grow an entire region,” says Governor Cuomo. “And that’s what you’re seeing here on the North Fork of Long Island.”

The Master of Ceremonies was Joshua Wesson, a leading authority on wine and food pairing, the founder of Best Cellars and author of Williams-Sonoma Food & Wine—A New Look at Flavor that he signed for fans. Harvest was presented by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, that benefited four important regional charities: East End Hospice, Group for the East End, the Peconic Land Trust and the Long Island Farm Bureau.

And to top it off Out East Foodie has come full circle—It was my first anniversary. Last year’s Harvest East End was my debut where I was introduced to the edible artisans of the East End: chefs, fishermen, farmers, cheesemakers, and vintners to name a few. I am humbled to be surrounded by the people of this region who are passionate and dedicated to their craft or cause. I have told the stories of a few over the course of the year, shared recipes that have been inspired by the bounty of the two forks and am honored to continue to do so. This fall our sustainable home Sheridan Green will be complete. It will be a place where like-minded stewards of the land and sea can come together to talk story, enjoy amazing food and drink and share inspiration in a great space.

A wine and food celebration

Guests were given their own personal wine glass that was attached to a lanyard like strap to put around your neck to ease the juggling dilemma between holding a wine glass and a plate of food; thank you Harvest East End for this welcomed convenience as balancing the glass, camera, plate of food, iPhone and purse is a social media hodgepodge. 

Beautifully designed wine labels by Bouquet Wines from Mattituck, New York

My husband Christopher enjoyed the wine tasting and particularly liked Mattebella Vineyards Old World Blend.

Coolfish Grill and Wine Bar served bay scallops mango ceviche; the mango was an unexpected twist.

Mirabelle at Three Village Inn served a unique Crème brûlée that was made with duck eggs, infused with vanilla bean and topped with a sprinkle of maple bacon crumble, simply fantastic.

A refreshing and delicious watermelon gazpacho that was garnished with a Koppert Cress micro shiso amongst a beautiful flower arrangement.

First and South restaurant may have topped their chocolate covered pork rinds from Dan's Taste of Two Forks. In an oyster shell they baked an edible cracker mocking the shell and placed the oyster, and a dollop of homemade horseradish and ketchup on top, brilliant.

The North Fork Table and Inn made a spicy marinated McCall Ranch Beef summer roll with wasabi aioli.  This tasted as beautiful as it looked.

Gourmet Sorbet by the Sorbabes: Top-strawberry rhubarb crumble (my favorite), Right-pistachio with sea salted caramel, Bottom-coconut chai with macaroons and Left-passionfruit lychee. All gluten-free and non-dairy made with seasonal ingredients.

Jewel restaurant by Tom Schaudel served a corn chowder with crab. The balance of this dish was singing the bounty of the two forks, was truly lovely.

A Taste of the North Fork made meatballs with cHarissa, hummus and cilantro. The meatballs had a Moroccan flare of interesting spices from the cHarissa, really tasty.

To continue with the meatball theme a Mano Osteria and Wine Bar made a veal meatball with a lobster bisque sauce. I was unsure about the veal and lobster combo, but it was a match made in heaven.

The heart of the billowing tent was lit up with colorful lanterns, as the VIP attendees sipped older vintages and special selections of East End wines presented by Empire Merchants. Although there was a white picket fence that separated the VIP's from the rest, we all had a few things in common, the love for wine and food in Long Island Wine Country.

Dan's Taste of Two Forks was Hot!

On Saturday, July 13th, the 3rd Annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks was hot! It is the largest food soirée in the Hamptons that attracted foodies near and far to taste and sip the bounty of the North and South Forks of Long Island, known as the East End. For those of you who are not familiar with the East End, the forks extend into the Atlantic Ocean like a two-tined fork. Farms, fishers, artisanal food purveyors and winemakers share the riches of this region’s land, sea and vines.

This sold out event was held under a tent at Sayre Park in Bridgehampton, on one of the most hot and humid evenings of the year; I should have brought my Wüsthofs as I could have cut the air it was so thick. An amalgamation of 36 restaurants, 8 specialty food purveyors and 17 vintners served and poured while we mingled and munched. And to add a little more sparkle to your champagne, the event was hosted by Bobby Flay and the Emcee was Alex Guarnashelli; an Iron Chef star-studded moment.

A portion of the ticket proceeds went to All For The East End (AFTEE), an organization whose goal is to generate significant new and creative sources of funding and organizational support for the not-for-profit organizations of Long Island's East End townships.


Memorable Tastes

North Fork

Noah’s, Greenport, NY—Chef Noah Schwartz
Crab stuffed deviled eggs

If you are not a lover of deviled eggs you can be swayed. Chef Schwartz is serving these beauties up at his restaurant and once you sink your teeth into these creamy, sweet and slightly spicy bite you will be a fan forever. The lemon aioli combined with the sweet crab and a touch of cayenne pepper was a fantastic combination.

First and South, Greenport, NY—Chef Taylor W. Knapp
Chocolate covered pork rinds, with anise, fennel, and smoked bay salt

Are you thinking what I am about to say? “Chocolate covered pork rinds, that seems so wrong?” And quite the contrary! We all know that sometimes opposites attract; salty and sweet go hand in hand and believe it of not —so does pork rinds and chocolate—a surprising culinary marriage of sorts. The pork rind was covered in chocolate and just on top was anise, fennel and smoked bay salt; it was sweet and savory and a delicious pairing. Their presentation was clever as these little gems sat on a piece of driftwood. If you go to First and South be sure to ask them about the chocolate covered pork rinds.

The Square, Greenport, NY—Chef Keith Luce
NoFo duckling summer rolls

Have you ever wondered what that packet of mystery duck sauce is suppose accompany when ordering Chinese take-out? I would guess that the majority of people use it on spareribs and an egg roll; at least I do. But how many of you order duck when taking-out Chinese food? I never do; considering I have about 100 packets in my cupboard, maybe I should. Chef Luce made his own special duck sauce that I would welcome over those mystery packs any day. This was sweet, slightly spicy and not overpowering to allow the duck to shine within this delicate bundle, bravo.

Grana Trattoria Antica, Jamesport, NY—Chef David Plath
Meatball shooters

The best meatballs I have ever eaten were my great Aunt Mary’s. To this day no one can replicate her recipe. There is even a video of her preparing it and a written recipe to follow along and still not even close. Grana’s meatballs reminded me of my great aunt's; a moist and toothsome meatball with italian seasoning and a simple marinara. I only wished these were larger; but I made up for it by eating five.

The Riverhead Project, Riverhead, NY—Chef Lia Fallon
Summer sea scallop ceviche

The ceviche was my first taste of the evening, a delicious starter to get my palate going. It was a summer party in my mouth; the sweet local scallops were marinated in the citrus juices and then combined with: corn, red and green peppers and romaine lettuce. This dish was bright, punchy, smooth and with a touch of heat. 


South Fork

Navy Beach, Montauk, NY—Chef Randy Santos
Local watermelon gazpacho with jonah crab, petite basil and sea salt

This savory bite kept my taste buds cool. I typically think tomatoes when I see gazpacho and this twist was a nice surprise; the yellow watermelon was silky, sweet and balanced beautifully with the crab. The basil and salt brightened the overall taste. I was inspired by this bite and will be working on my own gazpacho recipe soon, stay tuned.

Sea Grille Restaurant at Gurney’s Inn, Montauk, NY—Chef Angelo Montemarano
Organic quinoa salad mixed with lentils and chickpeas, served with mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots and dressed with lemon vinaigrette

Quinoa has been the grain-rage for the past few years and it has taken me some time to enjoy this ancient, nutrient rich grain. Gurney’s Inn Resort and Spa is a historic oceanfront resort that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. I was surprised to see them serving this dish; Montauk is the fishing capital of the world and I assumed we would be tasting fresh fish from the local waters. There is however a spa component to Gurney's and the Sea Grille Restaurant prides themselves on being SPE Certified, a holistic approach that focuses not just on health, but on the sourcing, preparing and enhancing of food. The combined selection of ingredients was a powerful and healthful bite and the lemon vinaigrette heightened the taste of the quinoa, rich lentils and chickpeas.

Joe and Liza’s Ice Cream, Sag Harbor, NY—Joe and Liza Tremblay
Mexican chocolate spice ice cream

Hands down my favorite taste; the Bikram Yoga heat levels under that tent may have contributed to this being my all-star and I bet the majority of the "eattendees" would agree. The cooling chocolate went perfect with the heat of the pepper; this was subtly sweet and spicy—how can you go wrong? It was so good that my husband Chris had to share it with the folks at Fresh Hamptons and for a good reason, he was sweating profusely and was thrilled to get a taste of this cold treat.

Fresh Hamptons, Bridgehampton, NY—Chef Todd Jacobs
Crisp Long Island duck confit with a warm salad of spinach, oven Yukon potatoes and sautéed forest mushrooms with a raspberry walnut vinaigrette; all local and organic.

Duck Confit is one of my specialties and I appreciated the execution and thoughtful flavor profiles and balance within this dish. The duck and mushrooms were meaty and earthy, a nice complement to the sweet spinach and tangy vinaigrette. The potatoes added that additional layer of creamy yumminess. I would crown this dish Long Island’s finest. Chef Jacobs will be catering Food Riot on Saturday, July 27th, to help Slow Food East End Support Local Farmers Market; a dinner you do not want to miss.

The Bell & Anchor, Sag Harbor, NY—Chef Sam McLeland
Duck rillette on crostini with pickled red onions

A rillette is a preparation of meat similar to a pate and so glad they did. On top of a crisp crostini was the duck rillette that was confit and the tang from the red pickled onions topped it off nicely, cutting through the richness of the duck rillette.

Gourmet Sorbet, by the Sorbabes, Sag Harbor, NY—Nicole Cardone & Deborah Gorman. Summer cucumber white wine mint and juicy passion fruit lychee

This is an all-natural, non-dairy sorbet. The fruit is sourced from local farms and is a refreshing treat with some interesting flavor combinations. The cucumber white wine mint was so refreshing; I can see this as a Le trou Normand, a palate cleanser in between courses or in a glass of sweet'tauk lemonade.

Sarabeth’s Bakery, New York City—Sarabeth Levine
Chocolate marmalade cookies

Sarabeth Levine is a true Hamptonite; an award-winning pastry chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur and a legendary jam maker. Her buttery cookies were sandwiched with orange marmalade and then dipped in Belgian chocolate; melt-in-your-mouth delicious.


Vineyards that were pouring


Castello di Borghese, Jamesport Vineyards, Lenz Winery, LIEB Cellars, Macari Vineyards, Martha Clara Vineyards, Mattebella Vineyards, One Woman Wines and Vineyard, Palmer Vineyards, Pindar Vineyards, Raphael, Scarola Vineyards, Sherwood House Vineyards, Sparkling Pointe Vineyards & Winery, Suhru Wines, Wöllfer Estate Vineyards, Waters Crest Winery.


If you missed Dan’s Taste of Two Forks and want to experience and taste your way through the North and South Forks of Long Island, you can attend the Harvest East End; this celebrates the wine-and-food bounty of Long Island Wine Country and will surely satiate the appetite and thirst of food enthusiasts. I attended last year, debuting as the out east foodie and I met some incredible food and beverage artisans. The celebration will be on Saturday, August 24th at McCall Vineyard & Ranch on the North Fork in Cutchogue, NY. 

The train tracks we crossed over after Dan's Taste of Two Forks. Tent glowing in the background.