MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival is Here

It’s here: The MidAtlantic Wine + Food Festival begins March 6, with international winemakers and chefs teaming up with world-class local chefs to make spectacular food and wine events in unique venues around the Brandywine Valley and Delaware’s Culinary Coast, including Rehoboth Beach. All in all, there will be more than 40 events, from wine dinners to beer and spirits tastings to a pop-up restaurant to gourmet lunches. The highlight: a 1,000-Point Wine Tasting (that’s a tasting of 10 100-point wines), a black-tie Gala Winemakers Dinner and Live Wine Auction, and a Gospel Brunch. Among the special events will be the MasterChef Rematch, when six former contestants from all three seasons of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “MasterChef,” including past winner Jennifer Behm of Wilmington, show off their culinary skills and tell stories from the show. In “He Said Beer, She Said Wine,” local brewer Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and noted wine author Marnie Old will debate whether beer or wine pairs better with food. This multi-course dinner is served on the stage at The Grand Opera House. And there is more. Events will be held at such magnificent venues as the 100-year-old Hotel du Pont, World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, the former estate home Oberod in chateau country and the Vicmead Hunt Club, as well as a few stunning private homes. The fun continues through March 10. Hit midatlanticwineandfood.com.

Music and Brunch

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Your Insider is a huge fan of the Sunday brunch at Deerfield in Newark, so it’s doubly exciting to hear about The Delaware Chamber Music Festival’s second annual Musical Brunch. On March 17, your ticket gains you a silent auction, a performance by the festival quartet and an incomparable menu of favorite foods. Did we mention the view? It’s one of the best in the state. If you wear your St. Patty’s Day best, you may even win a prize. Don’t forget to try the bacon-infused vodka Bloody Mary with pickle juice ice cubes. If you can’t make it on March 17, don’t forget about the regular Sunday brunch buffet. It’s awesome. dcmf.org

Speaking of Deerfield…

Deerfield’s talented chef Paul O’Toole has been accepted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque. The exclusive club was established to give recognition to chefs of at least 20 years’ service who have achieved high estate and distinguished service in the culinary profession. Membership is restricted to 100 lifetime members, so this is quite a big deal. “I am incredibly humbled and remarkably grateful for this honor,” O’Toole says. “My career has afforded me so many wonderful opportunities and experiences, from the classroom, to the kitchen, to the South Lawn of the White House.  The Honorable Order of the Golden Toque in many ways represents the ultimate honor from my peers. I couldn’t be more pleased and proud.” O’Toole has served in myriad roles of leadership within the American Culinary Federation, American Academy of Chefs, and the Delaware Valley Chefs’ Association of Greater Philadelphia over the past 25 years. He is past winner of the American Culinary Federation’s Philadelphia Chapter Chef of the Year, Culinarian of the Year, and is the winner of two Presidential Medals.  He has also served as trustee and chairman of the board of the Delaware Valley Chefs’ Association of Greater Philadelphia and is past education chair for the American Academy of Chefs. O’Toole will be inducted into the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque at the Urban League in Chicago later this year.  We say, well done. 368-6640, forewindshospitality.com/cookingwithpassion

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Dinner and Beer with Twist

Two beach-area favorites team up to bring you a beer dinner with a different spin. On March 8 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton and Nage in Rehoboth Beach offer a four-course dinner with four vintage Dogfish beers and great food from chef Ted Deptula. The difference between this beer dinner and others is that there’s no set time. Call the restaurant, tell them what time you’ll arrive, sit down at the designated hour, then proceed at your own pace. The menu begins with Deptula’s crab salad with avocado, lime, cilantro and amaranth, which is paired with Dogfish’s Namaste. The Belgian-style wheat beer is made with dried organic orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander. You can see why the pairings only get more interesting from there. Make your reservation soon. Next up at Nage, a wine dinner with vintages by women winemakers Allison Crowe, Dorothy Schuler, Carol Shelton. and Marketta Fourmeaux on March 19. Check the website for deets on both events. 226-2037, nagerb.com/special-events.html

More Artsy Meals

How about a little dinner theater? On March 9, a few of the crew from Possum Point Players in Georgetown will perform “Our Miss Brooks” at The Milton Theatre, after a buffet dinner at The Bay Leaf Restaurant in Milton. A mere $25 buys the show and your meal, which includes grilled chicken, flounder, a pasta dish, scalloped potatoes, green beans, salad, breads, desserts, and coffee or tea.  There will be a no-host bar for beer, wine and soft drinks. It’s not the kind of thing that happens every day, so check it out if you can. 684-3400, miltontheatre.org

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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