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Local chefs escaping to the mountains, cheese makers and winemakers gathering offshore and the sound and taste of salsa in Newport are all on the calendar for the upcoming summer. The season is heating up with food and wine events all over the state and elsewhere in New England. In chronological order, here is a taste of some food and wine festivals and events planned for the region between now and August.
The Nantucket Wine Festival is well-known among area foodies as one of the premier festivals in New England. The 16th annual festival runs from May 16 through May 20 at various venues on the island. The headquarters location for the festival is the venerable White Elephant Hotel and the organizers are touting that most of this year’s events will be held in downtown Nantucket. One of the popular features is the Luncheon Symposia, featuring distinguished winemakers discussing their wines, sort of a C-SPAN “Book Talk” for wine enthusiasts. This year among others will be Scott Johnsen, a viticulturist behind the vineyards at MacMurray Ranch, one of my favorites.
Seminars will also be given by Boston-area food personalities, such as cheese maker Ishan Gurdal and chef-restaurateur Andy Husbands among others who return to Nantucket year after year.
The nine wineries of the Coastal Wine Trail are moving their early summer event to Massachusetts this June. The group - Sakonnet Vineyards, Greenvale, Newport Vineyards, Langworthy Farm Winery, Westport Rivers, Running Brook, Travessia Urban Winery, Coastal and Truro Vineyards – are putting on a Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival on June 24 at Westport Fairgrounds. It is instructive to note that the winery owners chose to move their event out of state from Sakonnet, where it has been held for nearly two decades. According to a spokesperson for the Coastal Wine Group, this was done to facilitate wine sales in a farmers-market setting, which is allowed in the Bay State but not in Rhode Island.