Kosher Food & Wine Experience 2023

Having greatly enjoyed attending Royal Wine Corporation‘s Kosher Food and Wine Experience (KFWE) last year in New Jersey, I was excited to return last week for the 2023 event. While last year’s event was still somewhat amidst the pandemic, so it wasn’t typical, this year’s event retained some changes that they had made for last year and resumed some things from previous years.

One aspect that remains constant from year to year is the featuring of various wines as part of the portfolio of the Royal Wines, with various delicious kosher wines from throughout the world, as well as some spirits and liqueurs. Whereas with last year’s layout, where there was one room featuring American wines and another room across the hall from it featuring Israeli wines, this year, they were intermingled amongst each other. I thought last year’s layout was conceptually helpful.

Wonderful Wines
As someone who enjoys wine, but is not widely versed in the great array of wineries nor their various offerings, it was wonderful to be able to go on a wine-exploration at this event.

The best wine of the evening, Château Pontet-Canet

One wine that even though the wine folks were losing their minds about was Château Pontet-Canet. I made sure I tasted this wine and it was extremely exquisite. I don’t even want to know how much the price tag is on this wine, but I am very grateful I got to taste this delicious wine.

Jonathan Hajdu with Drew Kaplan – KFWE NY 2023

Having had Jacob Ner-David on The Jewish Drinking Show this past summer, I was excited to try out his wines and greatly enjoyed them, especially the final wine. I also enjoyed the Tulip wines, which were very solid and discovered that I really greatly enjoyed them, as well as the oakey, complex deep flavors of the Psagot wines. I’ll have to make sure I get more of those in my life.

Spirits & Liqueurs Intermingled with Wines
One of the surprising aspects of this year as opposed to last year was the mixing of placement of spirits amongst the wines that were around the periphery of the room at Pier 60 in Chelsea Piers. One of the layout aspects I enjoyed at last year’s KFWE was the totally separate section for spirits and liqueurs at the end of the room with the American wines. I enjoyed that segregation, which allowed people to focus on the spirits and the liqueurs. As someone who is more interested in the spirits and liqueurs than the wines, I liked that segregation, which allowed me to focus on those beverages. For this year’s event, I checked out various spirits and various liqueurs, but not as focused as I had at last year’s event, since they were dispersed around the room.

Drew Kaplan with Amichai Luria – KFWE NY 2023
Delicious liqueurs at KFWE NY 2023

Liking Liqueurs

While it was nice to have various whiskeys there and even some tequilas, the thing that brought great joy to my palate was having some liqueurs, especially from Bicerin. While a lot of beverages that were here this year we’re similar to last year, I noticed that Seven Species Liqueur was not present as they had been last year.

More Food Vendors
A very noticeable difference from last year is the incredible increase in food vendors this year from last year. I do not know how many food vendors there had been prior to the pandemic, but having experienced two good food vendors last year, I was very much content to return and enjoy delicious-tasting kosher food, so I decided to bring my wife. I was happily surprised to see more than a half-dozen food vendors, all of which were serving very delicious kosher food. My wife was in kosher foodie heaven.

Drew Kaplan and Rachel Kaplan at KFWE NY 2023

If it were up to me, I would have just stuck to stuffing sushi into my mouth, as the Sushi Tokyo returned from last year and served up incredibly delicious sushi once again. Without my wife, I would have just only eaten that. However, thankfully, I brought my foodie wife with me to the event last week and she encouraged us to taste a lot of different foods, as well as bringing me food, which was a fantastic boon for my experience.

Amongst the highlights of food there for me was a rolled beef sandwich, which was just absolutely fantastic. I don’t usually lose my mind about meat, but this product was fantastic. There were other meat products that we enjoyed, including delicious chicken from the Wall Street Grill. While I did not want to eat any bread for fear of filling up, my wife had the sourdough bread from wherever it was and she said it was the best sourdough bread she had ever had eaten. While I did not have any of the desserts, they certainly looked yummy.

Connecting with People
While this event is focused on food and drink, what I greatly enjoyed about it last year, as well as enjoying this year is the people. Whether it’s reconnecting with people, meeting people for the first time, or even meeting people in real life for the first time, I greatly enjoyed this experience also for the social aspect.

Drew Kaplan with Gabriel Geller – KFWE NY 2023

A Highlight of My Year
Just as KFWE as one of the highlights of 2022 for me, this event was already a great highlight of my 2023, yet certainly a top highlight of my 5783. It was a fantastic event and I cannot wait to return next year.

P.S. Comment By My Wife
My wife mentioned this event is like a schmorg of a mixture of Modern Orthodox people and Hassidic people, being such an interesting meeting point.

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