The 10th anniversary of the Kohler Food & Wine Experience is now just a happy memory. For three glorious days, a sell-out crowd of foodies joined some of the leading lights from the worlds of beer, wine, spirits and gourmet cuisine for a chance to taste, sip and sample themselves silly in and around Kohler’s American Club Resort. Now it’s over, and the festival tents have been lowered, the glasses and stemware washed and packed away, and the slew of culinary stars have returned to their individual home orbits.
The weekend was a delirious swirl of sensory delights, a three-ring circus for the palette, more than any one person could do, and you just had to gratefully let it all wash over you. Each day brought a unique blend of interactive (and filling) events, from Chris Silva’s crash course in wine blending to Graham Elliot’s hilarious patter and convention-defying cooking techniques to Anne Burrell’s brassy braising tutorial.
It was also great fun to see so many of these celebrities making cameos at each other’s events, like Marc Stroobandt dropping in on Anne Burrell with a humongous glass of beer, or Chris Silva showing up with his great Old Vine Zinfandel to pair with Graham Elliot’s foie gras mincemeat pie. It underscored the idea that we all gathered together because of a bond of shared passion for the good things of the earth, and an appreciation for what gifted hands can make of them.
You saw that sense of community everywhere, in the shared smiles at tastings, in the familial closeness that overtook people in the public spaces, and in the genial rubbing of elbows at the dinner tables. Good food and drink are best enjoyed when shared, and that understanding of fellowship touched every moment of this past weekend. I can’t wait for 2011!