The organizers of the Gallo Family Vineyards Gold Medal Awards sent a car to take me to Telepan, the restaurant where the awards luncheon was being held. Classy, but also smart, because it's a lot harder to back out of an event at the last minute if a driver's waiting for you. I'm not a last-minute-back-outer, it's rude. And in this particular case, I was eager to check out Telepan, the new restaurant of Bill Telepan, who was the chef of JUdson Grill, where Bobby Flay's Bar Americain is now. Telepan — chef, restaurant, take your pick — is all about getting good, local ingredients, so it made sense as a location announcing the best artisanal products, as determined by Gallo's judges, a very respectable group including Culinary Institute of America president emeritus Ferdinand Metz, Gourmet Magazine executive chef Sara Moulton, wine and food writer and all around nice guy Malachy Duffy, restaurant consultant and sound-byte master (I mean that as a compliment; he's quotable as hell) Clark Wolf, and Cheese expert Max McCalman, the only one of the judges I haven't met.
What I ate and drank (from which you can probably determine the winners)
Cato Corner Farm Hooligan Cheese with Yaya's Raw Rah spicy flax crackers
Beet salad with Spruce Mountain blueberry vinegar
Gallo Family Vinyards Twin Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Gallo Family Vinyards Sonoma reserve Pinot Noir
Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company Pemaquid Point Lobster Pot Pie
Gallo Family Vinyards Sonoma Reserve Chardonnay
Futility Farm Steak with warm potato salad, watercress and Clare’s Country Garden Dilly Bean Rémoulade
Gallo Family Vinyards Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Olde World Cheesecake Company cannoli, Celebration Cheesecake with strawberries roasted with American Spoon Strawberry Butter.