Hi all, it’s Sheena, editor with BHG.com joining today. On day three of the Sochi Winter Olympics, I attended day one of the 3rd annual Clearwater Beach Uncorked food and wine fest on the white sand beach of Clearwater, FL. Unlike Sochi there were no extreme downhill slopes or frozen ice rinks, but temperatures in the mere 50s and 60s had weather-spoiled Floridians shaking in their boots (they were literally wearing boots in the sand!). I admit it did look strangely like snow with palm trees jutting out.
The chilly temps and wind didn’t stop hundreds of people from lining up to get into this much-anticipated food and wine fest. In the spirit of the Olympics, I broke down Uncorked into three events and scored myself against the crowd.
Event 1: The line.
My score: Gold!
Just look at all these hungry mouths salivating with thoughts of cheese, seafood, and wine. I blissfully wore my VIP badge like a gold medal and walked right in. Note to future Uncorked attendees: This is a major perk of the VIP ticket.
Event 2: Getting through the crowd.
My score: Nowhere near the podium.
As you can tell, Uncorked is a hot ticket for foodies. When the crowd became too much for my figure skater-like height (I come in below the 5’3” female figure skater average) I escaped to the VIP area where I enjoyed lobster mac and cheese from The Lobster Pot and sipped on Mount Gay Rum and Four Roses Bourbon. I learned a bit about the extensive histories of these two liquor brands. Mount Gay dates back all the way to 1703 and wow, their Extra Old rum was amazing! Four Roses was able to keep operating through prohibition because bourbon was considered medicinal. Doctors would actually prescribe a pint of bourbon every 12 days for various “illnesses,” such as having the vapors, a hurt back, etc.
Event 3: Eating!
My score: Bronze. (Much like Bode Miller in the super-G, I put forth an impressive effort that only a few could beat.)
Those who know me well know my ultimate favorite food is cheese. Thanks to Tillamook, Cabot, and Kerrygold, I indulged in some of the most delicious cheeses I’ve tasted. My personal gold-medal cheese sample was Tillamook’s Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. YUM! The folks from Tillamook told me this product is trickier than some of their others to find, but I will definitely be on the hunt. Every few steps through the tents of the festival brought another scrumptious nibble. Crab dip with hot sauce, scallops on a creamy risotto, pasta tosses, gelato, bruschetta, smoothies, and on and on the list could go.
It was a truly delicious day sampling food products and chef creations in a setting that can’t be matched. As a parting gift for all of Uncorked’s attendees we were treated to a breathtaking sunset. Anyone who’s interested should start planning for next year’s 4th annual Uncorked event.