As part of their annual fundraising event, the Tampa Theatre kicked off its 14th annual WineFest with a quirky theme, amazing food and tons of wine. At the entrance of the theater on the Friday night wine tasting event, the door was guarded by a large llama named Handsome. Sharply dressed Napoleon Wineamite Patrons giggled wildly as the subject of the unique photo-op nibbled on their hair.
Attendees of the event were handed pamphlets describing the food to be served inside as well as a specially made Tampa Theatre DEX Imaging wine glass, a practical souvenir for the evening's events. Lining the front of the hallway of the downstairs lobby were tables covered in white table clothes boasting desirable items and experiences for silent auction. The items were great in range, some donated by local Tampa companies like Gasparilla Music Festival, which donated a gift basket for auction. Other items included a Key West Cruise, a St. Augustine tour and plays at the Straz Center.
The local vendors who were showcased at the event put their best foot forward, delivering delectable samples of their food. The B ake’s dessert options were to die for. Their Peanut Butter Brownie melts in your mouth providing the perfect ratio of chocolate to peanut butter. WineFest guests raved about Ella’s “Queso-Tinas”, which were skirt steak quesadillas made with chimichurri and caramelized maduro. Pane Rustica provided their delicious After-School Ham & Cheese Paninis, which was a delightful array in flavors making you want to rush back to their table for seconds.
Some dishes were just as quirky as the movie being screened throughout the evening. Anise offered Napoleon Dynamite inspired Truffled Tater Tots which had a sweet and savory taste. Chaos Creamery showcased bizarre flavors of ice cream. From Pumpkin Spice Latte to Bourbon Butterscotch, each flavor was just as delicious as they were unusual.
Now for the exciting part, the wine. WineFest 2015 provided their guests with a plethora of different wines to suit anyone’s taste. Though this was not a traditional wine tasting, there were crystal pitchers available on each table to dispose of any unwanted wine. Guests were able to move from table to table sampling anything the heart desired. The servers weren’t stingy either, if you asked, they’d fill the glass well passed sample size.
Wine vendors included Ascent Wines (Les Gamines and Mas De Soleilla T-14), Opici Family Distributing (Astroble New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and The Crusher Petite Syrah) and Middleton Family Wines (Ludovico Sicilian Red Blend and Inconceivable Chardonnay) just to name a few.
It might seem intimidating to have so many options, but the ever accommodating vendors were happy to help guests determine which wine was best for them based on taste preference. Normally this boiled down to red or white. Unfortunately for white wine enthusiasts, the red wine took the cake at this food and wine showcase. There was no end to the delicious wines made available.