SI5Idaho is not known for being a food and wine mecca — but that is changing.  Hundreds of food and wine lovers descend on the Idaho Botanical Garden each summer to Savor Idaho: Idaho’s Premier Food and Wine Event.  So what’s new and interesting?  Here are a few things I found out:
SI10Carmela VineyardsAdelita Winarita is perhaps the most memorable: Wine + Margarita.  This is a party wine (served over ice? salt-rimmed glass? perhaps) that was served with a squeeze of lime.  To the non-sweet-wine drinker that I am… I actually enjoyed it. It’s could become Idaho’s signature drink!  Truly, it’s worth a shot and like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

SI2As someone who doesn’t collect wine and therefore has no use for wine storage, I was very loose when I played a ring toss game over empty wine bottles for three months of free storage from Wine Keeper – a temperature and humidity controlled wine storage facility in downtown Boise.  I won, naturally.  They told me I’m allowed to transfer my winnings.  Contact me if you want it.  I’ll send it to you.

SI6One of the more interesting offerings was from Winewise Idaho. Owner Kat House took me on a tour of my taste buds, helping me understand how sweet, acid, and a combination of both are used in wine-making.  She offers classes for beginners to professionals.  She also had a series of wine glasses (see photo) with different smells, er essences.  For the wine novice, this is a lot of fun.  Grass was the smell that really stumped me.

I also spoke with Dean Fuller, the Executive Chef at the newly-owned Riverside Hotel, on the Boise River.  They have completely revamped the place, from the rooms to the grounds, the menus and from what I hear, the entire experience.  The new Sandbar Patio Bar & Grill, on the banks of the Boise River, will have live, outdoor music everyday during the summer.

SI.1Who doesn’t like cupcakes? Well, not all cupcakes are created equal. Some, like those from Leslie Charles Events, with chantilly cream and strawberries, elevated the craft. Yes, I also had the chocolate espresso one – it was terrific, but who doesn’t like that?  The strawberry-infused one was special.

Did you know that Hotel 43 has clean rooms? Not just clean, but pure. The rooms have gone through a comprehensive process to be allergy-friendly for the most sensitive (and conscientious) of guests. Not to mention its excellent downtown location and arts-friendly bent.  Hotel 43 is a beautiful and hip place to stay for those looking for a boutique-hotel experience.  And now, independent hotels like Hotel 43 have a rewards program.

Some of the reasons to come to Idaho are its uncrowded, stunning geography – rafting the Snake River in Hell’s Canyon, the pristine beauty of Red Fish Lake, the gnarly slopes at Schweitzer Mountain Resort — and now, we’re getting the good food and wine to elevate the experience. You must visit Idaho.

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