Burger & Beer bash, cocktail competition part of Wine & Food Festival – The Journal News

Who’s ready to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall with a food festival?
Westchester Magazine has joined forces with the Westchester County Office of Economic Development to give a much-needed boost to restaurants and food trucks with an expanded 2021 Wine & Food Festival. The week-long extravaganza kicks off Sept. 21, with some old favorites and some new events, including its first ever Party on the Pier, where I will serve as a judge for the Bartender Shake-off, a cocktail competition. 
Traditionally held in June, the festival, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 
Find tickets at westchestermagazine.com/wine-and-food. Note that all attendees to the event must be fully vaccinated and show the New York Excelsior Pass or vaccination card and ID upon entry. 
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Among the festivities: 
Missed Italy this pandemic year? No worries. You can still learn about the county’s wine with a series of tastings provided by Kanopi Restaurant Chef/Owner Anthony Goncalves. Renowned author and wine educator Kevin Zraly will also be holding condensed wine seminars throughout the event. 
Go: 5:30-7:30 p.m. with a special dinner at 8 p.m.; $95 per ticket; $150 with dinner, Opus Hotel, Three Renaissance Square, White Plains.
Expect food (both from restaurants and food trucks), music and cocktails at this new “party” that also features the third annual Bartender Shake-Off featuring Westchester’s top mixologists competing for Best Bartender honors. Participants include Emilio Ugarte of Tarrytown’s RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen (defending champion); Eduardo Arizmendi of Eastchester’s Polpettina; Jonathan Conde of X20 Xaviars on the Hudson in Yonkers; Ronan Kerr of Whiskey River in Peekskill; and Dominique Maietta of NoMa Social in New Rochelle.
I will be judging the competition, along with Lisa Salvadorini of News 12, Westchester Magazine editor John Turiano; Bridget Gibbons of the Westchester County Office of Economic Development; and Blake Leonard of Stew Leonard’s Wines & Spirits. 
Go: 6-9 p.m., Playland Park Pier, 1 Playland Parkway, Rye; $50 per ticket.
Burgers are the focus at this popular event where you’ll also find beer, music, wine and food trucks. Often referred to as Westchester’s ultimate block party, it’s where top chefs present their unique take on the all-American burger as they compete for the Best Burger Award. Piccinini Bros is the official beef sponsor.
Go: 6-10 p.m., Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla; $75 per ticket.
This event is designed for those who’ve been saving their best bottle of wine to go with the “perfect dinner.” Chef Peter Kelly of X20 in Yonkers and Restaurant X in Congers will serve a four-course meal, with awards given for wine “superlatives.” (i.e., Most Expensive, Oldest Bottle, Best Story related to the Bottle, Cheapest Bottle, etc.) The event is a tribute to the late Ralph Martinelli, founder and publisher of Westchester Magazine. Tickets are $185 each.
Go: 6:30-9:30 p.m. X20 Xaviars on the Hudson, 71 Water Grant St., Yonkers.
The signature event of the Wine & Food Festival, the Grand Tasting Village features live chef demos, tastings from 40+ local restaurants and more than 200 wines and spirits. Guests can also expect a series of chef demonstrations and a variety of food trucks.
Go: Noon- 4 p.m.; Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla; $85 per ticket; $125 Connoisseurs Tent.
Jeanne Muchnick covers food and dining. Click here for her most recent articles and follow her latest dining adventures on Instagram @lohud_food or via the lohudfood newsletter