Forks and Corks

By staff June 9, 2008

Sarasota’s newest wine festival is hot, hot, hot.


By Judi Gallagher



Who said it slows down in the summer?


Not yet, anyway, as Savor Sarasota Week was in full blast throughout the city with more than 30 participating restaurants. From the Ritz-Carlton to Harry’s Continental, from Michael’s on East to Fleming’s—the three-course dinners were a HUGE hit with Sarasota diners, especially at that price of $25.


New this year, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ Forks and Corks, a three-day event that featured an opening night party at Ca’ D’Zan, a “university” with seminars at USF and a Sunday tasting in the Ringling Museum courtyard with so many restaurants and  wineries it was impossible to enjoy more than a sampling of their offerings. Among the standout treats, especially on such a hot day: tuna tacos from the Colony, a shrimp and coconut and pineapple soup from The Crow’s Nest and sabayon and fresh berries from Cosimo’s. At $35, this was an amazing deal in every way.

Forks and Corks was a big success.


I took the blending class at USF and noticed some stiff competition between Billy Gamble and Sarasota Magazine’s own Kim Davis. Apparently both are not only quite knowledgeable in wines, they also have a good competitive spirit, so as they sniffed and swirled bottles of cab and merlot clones to make their own blend, (later judged by the owner and wine maker of Bell Winery), I challenged both oenophiles to come up with a name for their particular blends. It took Billy but a few minutes to declare “Ding Dong” his name for the Bell clones, while Kim Davis and her marketing pals needed a few more hours to claim “Stick a Cork in Me, I’m Done” as her  bottled meritage. Sadly both were told to keep their day jobs for now.


Billy Gamble exudes confidence at the wine blending table

Attendees flocked to watch Chef Ray Arpke prepare a scrumptious blueberry pie with whole-wheat crust which was beyond delicious when served it with a glass of port.

 Euphemia Haye's Ray Arpke served up a delicious blueberry pie.

I did manage to sneak over to Siesta Key on Friday night and enjoy a flavorful dinner at Bella Roma, (across from Siesta Key Oyster Bar), thanks to Blab TV buddy Don G.’s suggestion. The Pesce di Mare was magnificent and the orechiette pasta with rapini, garlic and Italian sausage was the best in town. Just goes to show, sometimes the best little spots that we need to be reminded of are the old classics.

Pasta perfect: orechiette with rapini, garlic and Italian sausage from Bella Roma.


Did you go to Forks and Corks? What was your experience like? Please post below.



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