Arts + Culture

Kennebunkport Festival: Food, Wine, Art

The Kennebunkport Festival, which takes place during the first week in June, is a wine festival, a food festival and an art festival, all in the destination where you can sink your toes into the meaning of the term “summer vacation.” Planning for the 2012 Festival is well underway, with some of the participating chefs already revealed! You can keep up with the latest by liking the Festival on facebook.

All of us at Captain Fairfield Inn were lucky enough to enjoy several events at the 2011 Festival. Here we share with you some of our experiences…

Pop the Kennebunks

As soon as we arrived at the William Farley Estate for Pop the Kennebunks, it became clear that this was truly a celebration of everything that Kennebunkport represents: good times with great food and drink in a beautiful location. This was no ordinary backyard party; crystal chandeliers hung from the sweeping tent’s ceiling, table upon table greeted guests with savories and sweets, and at the epicenter - a large wine bar where Cellardoor Winery was bustling to serve glass after glass of their well-crafted libations. While some guests had donned their finest tuxedos, ball gowns and costume jewelry, others appeared more nonchalant, yet all were wearing the ease of the good life in Kennebunkport. The gala paid homage to all the local treats Maine is lucky to claim, like fresh oysters still salty from the sea, robust wines, and fun music by local band Secret Service. The energy that resonated from Pop the Kennebunks is a great start to the summer and initiates all the good things to come.

- Hillary & Nate

Grand Tasting

That first bite moment. The restaurant everyone’s been telling you to try, an artfully presented dish, ingredients you love, a novel combination or preparation… You take that bite, then pause, then – “Mmm, that’s good.” At the Grand Tasting, you get to experience that moment again and again. On a sunny early summer afternoon on the porch at The Colony Hotel, overlooking the Atlantic, we meandered from table to table, sampling food from Maine restaurants and wine from national and international wineries. There were sixty restaurants and wineries, and although we didn’t have a chance to visit all of them, there are some that still linger in our minds. David’s definitely generated some buzz with their Mushroom Risotto Balls with Lobster and Truffled Microgreens. Several people told me, “You have to try those!” They were right – amazing. The Lobster Cakes from 95 Ocean were also delicious. Hmm - a trend here? But not every restaurant elected to feature fruits of the sea - there were plenty of other choices. Chef Jonathan Cartwright presented the White Barn Inn’s Crispy Braised Beef Short Rib with Sauce Remoulade (ribs from a Maine farm, Archer Angus, in Chesterville, Maine!), and Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, of Arrows, MC Perkins Cove and Summer Winter, showed off a steak with Mom’s Sauce (which they are now making available to their fans!). We also enjoyed wine tasting (many of the wines are represented here in Maine by Nappi Distributors), and liked C’est La Vie Pinot Noir/Syrah so much that we’ve added it to our wine list at Captain Fairfield. As the afternoon wore on, we had to make another lap around for some sweet samples. Gelato Fiasco, as usual, did not disappoint, and we loved Academe’s version of “Cookies and Milk.” We were pleasantly surprised to discover Black Dinah Chocolatiers of Isle Au Haut, Maine, and are considering offering their chocolates as an a la carte item at Captain Fairfield. Well, I’ve gone on long enough – but there were just so many memorable moments of sipping, sampling, and savoring at this year’s Grand Tasting.

- Leigh

Brews & Tunes

After enjoying the early part of the afternoon at the Grand Tasting, we headed over to Brews & Tunes, an event new to the Festival this year. The venue - the boatyard next to the Kennebunk River and the Pilot House Restaurant – set the scene for this nothing-fancy, laid-back summer party. Part of the yard was covered with a tent but many people opted to hang out in the late afternoon sun while they enjoyed several local craft beers from Maine and some great live music. We got there in time to catch most of the Gypsy Tailwind set (GT being our favorite Maine band), which was definitely enjoyed by the crowd of a hundred or so. Sadly, we just heard that this great up-and-coming group has broken up to pursue individual projects, so as it turned out we were lucky enough to have seen one of their last shows in Maine.

- Rob