By Allen Pierleoni
The weather was perfect for the 3,500 foodies who attended the 25th annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival, held Sept. 10-12 at the Village at Northstar ski resort (www.northstarattahoe.com) and the neighboring Ritz-Carlton Highlands hotel (www.ritzcarlton.com).
The festive lineup featured food- and wine-tastings, cooking seminars and demonstrations, a gourmet-foods marketplace, grape stomp and a celebrity chef cook-off.
The three-day celebration culminated with Sunday's Grand Tasting, at which 23 restaurants teamed with 23 wineries to vie for the best pairings of food and wine.
A panel of judges had huddled earlier in the day for an extensive tasting. From noon to 4 p.m., crowds of attendees went from tent to tent, tasting delicacies and sipping red and white wines, taking notes for their entries in the people's choice awards category.
In the end, the judges' awarded the gold medal for "best food and wine pairing" to Longboards restaurant (Kurobuta pork bun) and Cono Sur of Chile (2009 Riesling). The silver went to Manzanita, the four-star restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton (beef shortrib with bacon-leek bread pudding) and Pisoni (2008 Lucia, Garys' Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, pinot noir). The bronze medal was given to the Village Pizzeria of Northstar (penne with Italian sausage) and Brutaco (zinfandel).
The people's choice award for "best pairing" went to Manzanita and Pisoni.
Hawks restaurant of Granite Bay was the only entry from the Sacramento area, offering shredded shortrib sliders with house-made potato chips.
For a complete list of winners, go to www.tahoefoodandwine.com.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.