The Taste of Cape May was billed as a food and wine extravaganza where you will get the chance to learn about and sample wines from the Cape May area and sample menu items from a selection of Cape May’s fine restaurants. The event was held on September 22 and was the last event in a week long 17th annual Cape May Food & Wine Celebration.  Sounds like a great event to me and a great way to celebrate my birthday and find a restaurant to go to for dinner.

The event was from 1pm – 4pm and cost $30 a person.  I haven’t been in the “new” convention center since they built it.  I must say, it’s nice and updated.  However, the main event area is much smaller than the older building. Maybe that explains why there were only 4 wineries and 6 restaurants. Actually 5 because I couldn’t seem to find the Mad Batter’s table and came home with that tasting ticket.

We had some great wine tastings from Cape May Winery, Jessie Creek Winery, Hawk Haven Vineyards and Natali Vineyards. I see some huge improvement in the quality on the wines.  Our biggest takeaway was the Merlot.  At all the wineries, the Merlot was the wine that stood out.  A bit different and a little acidic, maybe that is the terrior showing itself.  All the Merlots that we tasted were very good, nicely balanced and nice expression of fruit.

The restaurants were a bit disappointing.  We arrived at 1:30, the event began at 1pm and already the Washington Inn was out of food. I have to tell you, there was only about 100 – 125 people if that in the hall. That food certainly didn’t last to long and it was well controlled.  You had to hand in your ticket for each vendor so only one helping or tasting per person

Three take aways on the food were the Ebbitt Room. They were serving a pulled pork and cilantro that was excellent.  Aleathea’s Restaurant served a great pumpkin soup. The Sea Salt Restaurant had Tuna Tartar on a homemade very large potato chip.  Paul said that was excellent.  (I happen to like my fish cooked)

We met some nice people and had some great conversation in the hour and change that we were there. I thought it was a little pricey and was disappointed in the restaurant turnout. With that being said, I have to sit back and remember, I come from the Hudson Valley and have organized many food & wine events so I can be a bit critical.

It was a fun way to start off my birthday celebration.