Tantalize your palette and learn new ways to celebrate with culinary creations during the 16th annual Cape May Food & Wine Celebration, Sept. 15-23, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC). Residents and visitors can savor the local harvest, taste the area’s award-winning wines, meet master chefs, learn from beer, scotch and wine experts, and discover the flavors that make Cape May a city renowned for its cuisine. Discover what the American Bus Association calls a “Top 100 Event in North America” with nine days of events for those who are inspired by food and wine, from Saturday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 23.
A Harvest Food & Wine Tasting will celebrate the local harvest with a lavish sampling dinner menu inspired by local products. The Harvest Food & Wine Tasting, co-sponsored by Seaside Cheese Company and the Cape May Winery, will take place at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. Representatives from both sponsors will be on hand to discuss their products and appropriate pairings. The evening begins with butlered hors d’oeuvres and cheese sampling. Afterwards you will be served a salad course and sample three dinner entrees and two desserts. Each course is paired with wine from the Cape May Winery. Sorry, we can’t accommodate children at this event. This is a limited event so reserve early. $85 per person.
New this year is the Cape May Clambake, a perfect pairing for a fall afternoon at the shore, at the Hawk Haven Vineyard on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tour the vineyard, enjoy live music and enjoy your favorite wine to complement a traditional clambake of steamed clams, lobster tail, corn on the cob, shrimp, mussels and more. Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery is located at 600 South Railroad Ave. in Rio Grande. Admission is $45.
Gourmet Lunches are a wonderful way to sample some of Cape May’s finest restaurants, including such favorites as Aleathea’s Restaurant, 7 Ocean St., and the Washington Inn, 801 Washington St. Enjoy three-course gourmet lunches served at a different restaurant each day, from Sunday, Sept. 16 through Tuesday, Sept. 18 and Thursday, Sept. 20 at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $25. Gourmet Lunches are limited to 40 people per restaurant. Alcoholic beverages are not included.
Attention foodies! Not to be missed are the Chefs’ Dine-Arounds, with three opportunities to be transported to the ultimate culinary experience, on Sunday, Sept. 16, Monday, Sept. 17 and Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. Board MAC’s trolley for a five-course gourmet feast and a chance to taste the best of the best in Cape May. Five different premier restaurants will each serve a single course, which will then be paired with wine from a sponsoring winery. A winery representative is on hand to explain the pairings and a trolley shuttle transports you between restaurants and courses. Reserve early; Chefs Dine-Arounds sell out quickly and are limited to 34 people per night. Admission is $125 (gratuity included).
Who knew food could be so much fun? Get tips and techniques from one of the most entertaining celebrity chefs around, Master Chef Joseph Poon of Philadelphia, who has appeared on national television programs including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Don’t miss his fun and informative lectures including a carving and sculpture demonstration plus a lecture on healthy eating, at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., on Monday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is $25.
Have you always wanted to learn more about using fresh herbs in your cooking? Join Lorraine Keifer, gardening writer and owner of Triple Oaks Nursery, as she leads a series of programs at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., on cultivating, preserving and cooking with herbs. Learn All About Favorite Culinary Herbs on Monday, Sept. 17; Herbs in Beverages and Vinegars on Tuesday, Sept 18; All About Lemon Herbs onWednesday, Sept 19; and Harvesting, Using and Preserving your Favorite Herbs on Thursday, Sept 20. All lectures are at 9:45 a.m. and admission is $25.
Beer goes with so much more than pizza. Learn all about choosing beers to complement your meal at a Beer Tasting Dinner onTuesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. America’s beer authority, Gary Monterosso, formerly of “Beer Radio” on Sirius Radio and current host of “Still Crazy After All These Beers,” will discuss pairings at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Learn what beer styles suit certain flavors during your four-course dinner. Each course has been matched to a different style beer. Reserve early; this event is limited to 50 people. $65 per person (gratuity included).
You’ll learn how your seafood gets from the sea to your table on the Fisherman’s Wharf Tour and discover how Cape May has become the third largest commercial fishing port on the East Coast on these tours at the Lobster House Restaurant on Tuesday, Sept. 18 and Thursday, Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (ages 3-12).
Stroll through a portion of Cape May’s Historic District during the Gourmet Brunch Walk Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. and you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour that ends at the famous Mad Batter restaurant, 19 Jackson St. There you will enjoy a gourmet brunch in what New Jersey Monthly deems one of the “best brunch and lunch” spots. Reserve early; this event is limited to 40 people. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for children (ages 3-12).
Spend the day visiting Cape May County’s wineries and sampling the unique flavors of each on Friday, Sept. 21, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., during the Cape May Wine Trail. First,enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Café & Tearoom on the grounds of the Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., then board the trolley, which will take you to Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery where you’ll learn about viniculture and visit the tasting rooms. Admission is $60 and includes lunch, wine tastings at each vineyard and a wine tasting glass. This event is limited, so reserve early!
Learn about the nuances of Scotch whisky and how to pair this spirit with your meals during the Scotch Tasting Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. Meet a representative of Compass Box Scotch whisky who will discuss a scotch pairing with each course of your four-course meal; you will come away with a new appreciation for this fine spirit. Admission is $75.
Visit the new Cape May Brewing Company where brew masters will explain the brewing processes and then enjoy the delicious pairings of new brews with fine international cheeses from Seaside Cheese Company during the Beer & Cheese Tasting on Sunday, Sept. 23at 2 p.m. Admission is $25.
Spend the afternoon touring the wineries of Cape May County at your own pace during the Self-guided Wine Trails. Visit Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery and taste the unique flavors at each. Offered daily 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 and includes a map with the wineries listed and a tasting glass.
What’s brewing in Cape May? Some great spirits, as you’ll find out on the Self-guided Wine & Brewery Tours. Take this tour of two area wineries, Natali Vineyards and Hawk Haven Vineyard and Winery, plus the new Cape May Brewing Company and at each stop you’ll sample some of their products. Admission is $13 and includes map with directions. Daily, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Spend an afternoon at the award-winning Cape May Winery, 711 Town Bank Rd. during the Winery Cellar Tour & Tasting. Tour the vineyard to see how the grapes are grown and then visit the winery where you’ll be introduced to the winemaker’s art. Savor a barrel tasting accompanied by cheese and fruit. Admission is $20 and includes a complimentary souvenir tasting glass. Offered at 3 p.m. daily.
For more information call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org.