You could blindly point your finger to the event calendar for Kohler’s The American Club and find something interesting going on. Still, it’s not until fall’s crisp air blows in that things really heat up around the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star property, starting with The Kohler Food & Wine Experience (October 17 to 20). In its 13th year, the eating extravaganza in Kohler, Wisconsin, offers one of the country’s finest showcases of chef-anchored culinary events, wine tastings and spirit seminars. One gander at the smorgasbord of a schedule and you’ll see that this year is no different.
You could have a palate-pleasing time without any pre-planning. But because many of the activities sell out quickly, we wanted to prep you by detailing the two most delicious aspects of the weekend:
Kohler makes it a habit of putting together a tastefully curated lineup of chefs. Instead of merely promoting folks with big names and bigger egos, this event highlights toques who care about their crafts as much as they do Food Network appearances. People such as Cat Cora (Iron Chef America), Christopher Kimball (America’s Test Kitchen) and Jacques and Claudine Pépin (the Today show) have recognizable faces, but they’re here because of their epicurean expertise. First-year participant and Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Fabio Viviani may be best known for appearing in Top Chef, but the talented chef/restaurateur’s energetic take on Italian cuisine is what will win over the Kohler crowd. And the same goes for Santa Monica Seafood’s Mary Smith, Bombay Sapphire’s Gary Hayward and all of the other cooking and cocktail specialists slated for the weekend of classes and demonstrations.
The Kohler Food & Wine Experience schedule is extensive, so start with the hidden-gem offerings: the drink events. Check out Mythbusters: Wine Edition (Oct. 19) and Sangiovese — Italy’s Red Grape (Oct. 18). But even beyond activities of the vino variety, Kohler Food & Wine is becoming increasingly known for its other beverage focuses, too. Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest — Rockin’ Brews (Oct. 19) should keep ale admirers happy, and we’re guessing vodka lovers have long had the spirited seminar Field to Bottle with Grey Goose (Oct. 18) circled in their programs.
Of course, when it’s time to coat those cocktails with some real cooking, the options prove even more overwhelming. Kohler Chefs’ Challenge (Oct. 17) is a fun opening-night event where gourmands from the resort partner with auction winners in the area to create dishes with mystery ingredients, Iron Chef style. Game Day Pairings (Oct. 19) keeps you excited about the football season with tips on making the most of your tailgate favorites, including craft beer and sausage. Although the always-popular Taste of the Vine (Oct. 18) is already sold out, scrumptious-sounding alternatives such as Art and Appetite: An Artistic Approach to Midwest Cuisine (Oct. 18) and the festival-closing Ultimate Tailgate Party (Oct. 20) still have openings for watercolor aficionados and Green Bay Packers fans, respectively.
Photos Courtesy of Kohler Co. and Fabio Viviani