Wednesday, February 25, 2015

SOBEWFF and Goya Foods' Swine and Wine Event

This past Sunday, I literally and without shame "pigged" out to my gluttonous heart's desire. As you know, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival had foodies from all over the world in a food coma for the past few days, and one of the events I attended, Goya Foods' Swine & Wine, presented by the National Pork Board (those pork gurus who have rightfully earned the title of  #SabiosDelSabor) was a porkalicious affair.
With Celebrity Chef Marc Forgione
I could smell the aroma of roasted pig from the moment I parked my car at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Suffice it to say, my mouth was watering with the anticipation of spending the next three hours putting those meaty morsels in my mouth. Being Cuban, pork is right at the top of our food pyramid as one of the most essential food groups. In other words, I was eating healthy tonight. Once we entered, we were escorted to the second floor ballroom area, where a selection of top restaurants and celebrity chefs were preparing creative tapas made with pork. On the way up, we could see, smell and feel deep in our soul, the gorgeous pigs being cooked in the Cajas Chinas to our left and right. Once we got upstairs, I got to see favorites like Paula Da Silva (formerly at 1500 Degrees in the historic Eden Roc and now at 3030 Ocean in Fort Laurderdale) and award winning chef and restaurateur Marc Forgione.
Porchetta Toast with Seasonal Veggies by Paula De Silva

With a glass of red wine in one hand, and my plastic tray in the other, I set out to do what everyone else in the room was doing: Eat lots of pork. And the choices were so tempting and delicious, I couldn't pass up any.  Let me show you what I mean with a few of the delights.
2015 National Pork BoardCritic's Choice Award Winner:
Gilligan's Swineland By Piripi Miami
Pulled Pork Tacos
Crispy and Taste Bud Pleasing Pork
Crispy Pork Shank Confit with a Glorious Chicharron Texture
and Apple Mustard
Bang Bang Pork with a Zesty Egg on Top by Marc Forgione
One of my faves of the night: Fried Pork Rilletes. So good!
Jamaican Jerk Bacon with Tropical Salsa
The judges (lucky folk including Raul de Molina from Univision and Chef and TV Personality Doreen Colondres) took their time to methodically choose the Critic's Choice Award winner, which was announced at the end of the night along with the recipient of the People's Choice Award.
Doreen Colondres, TV Personality and Spokesperson
for the National Pork Board

You'd think that's enough pork for one night but seriously... do you not know me by now? Downstairs there was a whole other pig feast going on with the roasted whole pigs in the Caja Chinas. And besides wine, wine and more wine, there was also refreshing mojitos being mixed with Zafra Rum. Goya Foods Executive Chef Fernando Desa prepared some flavorful sides including, Mac & Cheese, Fried Yuca and Beans, and a decadent array of desserts were calling out to us as the grand finale of a grand evening. The whole time, there was music and golden men on stilts, (turns out they weren't a mirage from an overdose of pig) and the ambiance was fun and exciting. Here's a look at what went on downstairs.



Cindy Hutson and her team
Piripi Miami Team
And the winners were... Chef Najat Kaanache of Piripi Miami (Opening Soon in the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables) for the 2015 National Pork Board Critics' Choice Award and Chef Cindy Hutson of Ortanique on the Mile for the People's Choice Award. Congratulations to the winners. It was well deserved!

Swine and Wine was an amazing event that is definitely one not to miss during SOBEWFF. For more information on the National Pork Board and for some fabulous recipes and information about pork visit their website at

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