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'Flaavors Of St. Maarten Food & Wine Festival' Wows Vacationers With Inaugural Event

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Kelly Graham /
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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (Nov. 29, 2010) - Industry professionals and consumers alike are touting the recent inaugural "Flaavors of St. Maarten Food & Wine Festival" as the biggest and best gastronomic party in the Caribbean. A highlight of the five-day festival, which took place Nov. 10 - 14, 2010, was the Flaavors Fest on the Philipsburg Boardwalk.

"Flaavors" showcased the best that St. Maarten has in culinary offerings, in combination with top chefs visiting from around the globe. Chefs were eager to participate in this inaugural event and celebrate the island's gastronomic excellence, including the following highlights:

The Grand Champagne Tasting - The Food Network's The Next Iron Chef finalist Marc Forgione's food was a hit with the 140 guests. The chef pleased the crowd by walking around and taking pictures with guests, as the Piper Heidsieck champagne flowed throughout the evening.

Oakville Ranch Winemaker Dinner at Temptation - This dinner was sold-out as Chefs Dino Jagtiani (St. Maarten's Temptation Restaurant), Wayne Nish and Doug Psaltis (Lettuce Entertain You) created and executed a magnificent five-course dinner which brought out the fabulous wines of Oakville Ranch. The evening started with a reception on the terrace of Temptation Restaurant with Chef Dino's selection of sushi paired with Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay (2008), followed by his "Fish n' Chips."

The next four dishes were prepared by the collaborations of Chef Wayne Nish and Chef Doug Psaltis including Caillette de Volaille, Swiss Chard, Foie Gras and Bacon, Lamb Tartare, Maine Lobster, Salmon Roe and Quail's Egg Yolk, Roasted Shortloin, Braised Beef Shoulder and Beef Tendons. Dessert was an exquisite Cremeaux de Chocolate with Praline Noisette. Paula Kornell, from Oakville Ranch, walked around the room talking to guests about the company's wines.

Celebration Dinner and Benefit Auction - This event was sold out to a crowd of 170 guests that made their way to the ballrooms of the Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa. Michael Davis, renowned auctioneer from Heart Davis Heart in Chicago, helped collect more than $6,400 for the Sundial Culinary School in St. Maarten. A world-class, five course, sit-down dinner was prepared by the following chefs: Ken and Sherylle Frank from La Toque in Napa; Doug Psaltis, Wayne Nish, and Oliver Oertel from the Westin Dawn Beach; and Gerard Wollerich, Wicher Lohr, Niven Kunz, Jean Klein and Gerrit Graveling, all from Holland.

Luna Winemaker Dinner - This event was also sold out at Aura Restaurant at the Westin Dawn Beach, where guests enjoyed a cocktail reception in the pool deck area of the hotel followed by a five-course, sit-down dinner by Chef Ken Frank from La Toque Restaurant in Napa. He paired his food beautifully with the Wines of Luna Vineyards with featured specialties including Seared Ahi Tuna, Duck Confit Wild Mushroom Manicotti to a Strawberry Pavlova. Special guest MaryAnn Tsai, owner of Luna Vineyards, talked with guests in attendance.

Cooking Demonstrations at The Westin Dawn Beach and The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino were well-received by the trade industry, students and chefs, while the Napa Valley Vintners Association hosted an intimate group for a "Napa Valley Rocks" Wine Tastingthat proved to be extremely informative about Napa's terrains and wines.

Flaavors Fest - More than 500 guests gathered under a tent at the Philipsburg Boardwalk enjoying the sounds of the Caribbean with local musicians. A collection of the best chefs and restaurants in St. Maarten offered samples of fabulous cuisine - from traditional to authentic Italian, Asian, and Caribbean delicacies, as well as the real "street food" of St. Maarten. Participants were able to sip some of the best wines in the world with this authentic gourmet feast as the Napa Valley Vintners presented the best of their recent vintages along with all the principal wine and liquor distributors in St. Maarten.

Plans for the second annual "Flaavors of St. Maarten Food & Wine Festival" (Nov. 9-13, 2011) are already underway and details will be available in the coming months.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to be shared by two nations, Kingdom of the Netherlands and France, creating a European-influenced vibe with a Caribbean flair. As "the culinary capital of the Caribbean," St. Maarten offers an eclectic array of cuisine fusion for food lovers with more than 365 restaurants, one for each day of the year to satisfy the tastes of every palate and pocketbook.

Located at the northern end of the Lesser Antilles, the island's 37 square miles has 37 breathtaking beaches and is home to many historical and family-oriented attractions. During the day, watersport enthusiasts can take full advantage of the island's scuba diving and snorkeling facilities. The capital of Philipsburg offers duty-free shopping with a bustling city atmosphere, while 14 casinos and numerous nightclubs provide endless entertainment.

Accommodations are varied and include elegant private villas, family oriented resorts, quaint cottages and luxury spa resorts. Air service is available to Princess Juliana International Airport from numerous U.S. and Canadian cities as well as from Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

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