The Inaugural Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 2014

Sneak Peek: Black River Caviar Joins List of Leading Brands during the The Inaugural Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest 2014

Our team recently traveled across the country to the Pacific Coast with our client, Black River Caviar to participate in the inaugural GourmetFest by Relais & Châteaux in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was an honor to partake in the festivities along the likes of master chefs and prestigious brands including Mercedes-Benz, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Silversea Cruises, Ruinart, Nespresso, and Dom Perignon. We had a grand time touring the magnificent landscape of Carmel and surrounding areas. Black River Caviar was undeniably one of the greatest highlights of the event!

We stayed at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club, owned by Ancien Roséen Michael Kadoori, a charming ranch- style property in the beautiful Carmel Valley just ten minutes from our event site. We took advantage of this pristine location to go on a few hikes while admiring the surrounding Santa Lucia mountain range. Yes, we were lucky to be in Carmel, but we also had to take care of business!

Our first day we had a reservation at the Post Ranch Inn’s Sierra Mar in Big Sur. The drive along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific was only a preface to what was to come. We climbed the steps to the secluded restaurant and found ourselves sitting amongst the clouds overlooking the serene ocean. To add to this heavenly scene, we enjoyed exquisite plates prepared by Executive Chef Jon Cox. After lunch, we scoped out the GourmetFest site before set up the next day. We barely had a chance to nap after all the day’s excitement when Graham Gaspard, President of Black River Caviar called to tell us we had a reservation at Restaurant 1833, a beautiful establishment with seven rooms paying homage to the rich history of each of its founders. After a sumptuous meal with an entertaining server, we decided this is definitely a favorite spot!

Thursday, otherwise known as D-Day, commenced the beginning to what would be the first annual Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest. The afternoon was filled with preparation for the event including setting up our station at the Sunset Center and meeting the fabulous team at Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group. We cannot thank these professionals enough for their exceptional service and assistance during the entire event!

By 5 p.m. we were dressed and ready for the Welcome Party! We saw hundreds of the areas devout foodies, world-class chefs, and vintners pass through the tent to enjoy the Grand Chefs in action. Of course, the Lufthansa First-Class Lounge greeted them appropriately with a glass of Veuve Clicquot to start. The Black River Caviar station paired with oysters from Taylor Shellfish Farms was nonstop the entire evening. “Mmm!” “Wow!” “Absolutely incredible!” seemed to be the phrases of choice. Each night, participants headed over to Cantinetta Luca for the after party where the wine continued to flow and the enthusiastic conversation about the upcoming events streamed through the venue.

The weekend was truly memorable. Incomparable talent shined through all the events. Highlights included: Caviar 101 with Black River Caviar, Renowned Grand Chef Johann Lafer and Champagne Ruinart; the Rarities Dinner with Aubert de Villaine, Véronique Drouhin and Olivier Krug, the Grand Cru Bordeaux Dinner, the Wild Mushroom Hunt & Lunch; the Grand Chef Dinner, and ending the event with a bang- the Seafood Grill.

Our team concluded our trip by cruising along the breathtaking 17-mile Drive to Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach where we enjoyed well-deserved cocktails. After, Graham was invited by David Fink to join him along with 16 other chefs, wine makers, and a representative of Dom Perignon to Bernardus where Chef Cal Stamenov laid out an incredible spread “family style”. The other half of our team met the gracious Jon & Robin Lail at Mission Ranch overlooking the spectacular River Beach of Carmel. The sunset could not have been any more perfect than it was that evening as we had another toast to a successful trip.

-Eileen Louissaint, Altima International, Creative Director

We would like to express sincere gratitude to all those who made our success at the event possible:

-David Fink– Congratulations for masterminding such a fantastic event!

-To the team at Relais & Châteaux and Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group- Your professional team produced a top-notch event! We wish you a very special 60th anniversary!

-To the Quail Lodge & Golf Club for making us feel like home on your spectacular property.

-And of course, Michael Mastrocola- without you, our stay would not have been nearly as special. Thank you for our VIP tour!

Stay tuned! Our next issue will have more photos from GourmetFest!

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Author: Caviar Enthusiast