Chef Afrim Pristine opens Palm Desert Food and Wine's virtual series on July 14 with “The Art of Wine and Cheese Pairing".
Call it an appetizer, a preview, or a taste of what’s to come. Palm Desert Food & Wine, which put its annual festival on the back burner in March of last year and this year, goes live in July with the first in a series of virtual experiences to whet the appetite of foodies looking forward to the next in-person event, scheduled for March 25–27, 2022.
The virtual experiences feature some of the nation’s top chefs, including Afrim Pristine, Jamie Gwen, Gale Gand, and others to be announced.
The first program, “The Art of Wine and Cheese Pairing with Afrim Pristine,” debuts July 14. Pristine, the world’s youngest maître fromager (cheese master) and host of Cheese: A Love Story on Food Network Canada, takes participants through the art of cheese and wine pairing. He uses five specialty cheeses from around the globe that you can prepare alongside the chef or simply tune in to learn.
“Summer Grilling with Chef Jamie Gwen” premieres July 28. The chef and lifestyle expert who “loves all that California has to offer,” especially its fresh produce, prepares her favorite summer dishes on the grill.
Other programs will be announced soon and posted at palmdesertfoodandwine.com.
Produced by Palm Springs Life, the three-day in-person festival next March unfolds in Palm Desert’s El Paseo shopping district and features grand tastings as well as hands-on cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs and other programs. The talent roster includes top chefs from around the country (Gale Gand, Carla Hall, Stuart O’Keeffe, Fabio Viviani, Paulette Goto, Zach Young) and the desert, including Alain Redelsperger of Toscana Country Club and Kenneth Williams of Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa Rancho Mirage. (Incidentally, Viviani, the breakout star of Bravo’s reality series Top Chef, is also partnering with Morongo Casino Resort & Spa on a series of virtual cooking classes this summer.)
The March event begins with a James Beard Gourmet Four-Course Luncheon, followed by two days of grand tastings, where guests sample offerings from local and regional restaurants as well as wines and craft brews like IPAs and draught ciders.
The most hardcore eaters and drinkers can purchase “Foodie” passes for $1,500, which grants entry for two to the four-course luncheon, grand tastings, brunch, chef receptions, dinner at Toscana Country Club, and VIP lounge sponsored by Agua Caliente Casinos. Tickets also include a subscription to Palm Springs Life and a generous swag bag.
Gand, the two-time James Beard Award-winning pastry chef, offers a few tips to first-time ticket-holders: “Elastic waistband, comfortable shoes. Eat food before you drink wine. And come hungry. It’d be a shame to come and not be hungry.”
For information or to purchase tickets, visit palmdesertfoodandwine.com or call 760-325-2333.