Event recap ~ EatDrinkRI Festival ~ April 19-21 ~ Providence

Mom/editor's note: Apologies to David Dadekian and everyone involved in the Festival for the delay in our write-up. No excuses, just our continued admiration.

The EatDrinkRI Festival was a great success. It looks like all the Festival's events sold out. It was a great job by the sponsors and coordinators, particularly David Dadekian of EatDrinkRI.

Particularly good news was that the Truck Stop to Benefit the Rhode Island Food Bank was completely sold out. I'd wanted to check it out (I'm fascinated by the variety of  food truck cuisine), but I was gratified to know that the reason I couldn't was because it was so popular.

Bear and I were at the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon. So much wine (none for Bear, but there was coffee milk, soda and iced tea)! Such a variety of food!

We tried pulled pork from Blackbird Farms (by Easy Entertaining), cheeses from Narragansett Creamery and RhodyFresh, pizza made with fire-grilled pizza crusts by Top This!, oysters from Walrus & Carpenter oysters, locally made sausage from Daniele, mango bread pudding from Dave's Marketplace Catering and kale and potato soup from March Hare farms.

Granny Squibb's Iced Tea by I {heart} Rhody Top This! by I {heart} Rhody Easy Entertaining by I {heart} Rhody Dave's coffee syrup by I {heart} Rhody RhodyFresh and UpRising by I {heart} Rhody

There was wine from all over, courtesy of several local vendors, and some local varieties from Rhode Island wineries Newport Vineyards and Sakonnet Vineyards. Local distillers were represented by Sons of Liberty and Revival Brewing Co.

Soft drinks included Fiji water, Dave's coffee syrup (who kindly made a glass of coffee milk for Bear), Granny Squibb iced tea and Yacht Club soda.

There were some interesting breakout sessions. I was especially intrigued by "Eat Local" and "Brewing in Rhode Island."

image: Gracie's

The Sunday morning Grand Brunch was held at Gracie's, and featured some of the area's best chefs, including James Mark from north, Jonathan Cambra of the Boat House and Melissa Denmark and Danielle Lowe from Ellie's (crazy delicious blue cheese scones). We also tried French toast from chef Kaitlyn Roberts of Easy Entertaining, and dishes from Derek Wagner of Nick's on Broadway, Ben Sukle of The Dorrance, Jon Dille of newly-opened The Grange, Jordan Goldsmith of Garden Grille, Joe Simone of The Sunnyside.

The brunch was accompanied by live performances from the Rhode Island Philharmonic's music school, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Philharmonic’s Music Education programs.

Bear and I are consistently impressed by the real sense of community among Rhode Island's food producers and restaurants. There's no sense of competition at these events. Restaurants want to help each other to thrive and build on the state's already impressive reputation as a food mecca. They're supportive of the local food growers and suppliers. It's a very symbiotic relationship. A special nod to Gracie's, which always seems to be at the center of food community events.

But top credit has to go to David Dadekian of Eat Drink RI for the drive and effort to make the festival a reality. We hope this will be an annual event!


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