The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 32 of 132

FESTIVALS Brooklynites sample the wares at the Great GoogaMooga festival. Fan Fare in the Park I f Julius Caesar had attended Brooklyn's inaugural Great GoogaMooga festival last month, his most famous quote might go something like, "I came, I ate, I drank." That's what some 40,000 people did at the two-day event in Prospect Park. Captivating food-obsessed consumers, trade and media, the festival was part gastronomic gala, part Woodstock and very defi nitely all down-home Brooklyn with its fusion of fedoras, tattoos and smartphones. The culinary Who's Who included 75 food vendors, 30 wine producers and 35 brewers, dwarfi ng the 20 live musical performances. Where else but in food-friendly bklyn can Red Rooster, Luke's Lobster and Momofuku Milk Bar create more fan fare than music headliners Daryl Hall and John Oates? Co-founder Rick Farman said, "The lineup that we had was really strong for a food festival. We look at it as a culinary event with purveyors and winemakers." Many purveyors saw the event—billed as an "Amusement Park of Food and Drink"—as an opportunity to reach tastemakers on their own hipster turf. Wines of Alsace was the fi rst producer-region to sign up for the event, wanting to use the event as a way to "elevate some of old-fashioned-ness that Alsace might be mistaken for," said Louise Jordan, who handles the French wine region for public relations fi rm Teuwen One Image. "Googa was going to be the food and wine fest of the sum- mer, and we wanted to be a part of that," she said. "It was a fun, exciting way to introduce people to the wines versus a traditional wine tasting event." The free general admission tickets were gone in a heart- beat, but the $250 "Extra Mooga" tickets offered exclusive access to stars such as April Bloomfi eld, Ruth Riechl and Marcus Samuelsson, Paul Grieco and Julie Reiner and events such as molecular cocktail mash with Booker & Dax and speedtasting with Corkbuzz Studio. 32 / the tasting panel / july 2012 Balvenie cocktails were a hit. Riesling, anyone? The festival was not without its problems, however. Lack of cellphone signals created havoc for vendors needing to communicate with their home kitchens for more supplies. People waited in lines for food for up to an hour and by afternoon, many vendors sold out. On Saturday, the festival tried a cashless system, which was abandoned the next day when lines for the tickets and ID bracelets proved to try people's patience. Undaunted, Brooklyn resident Aionga Perreiva said the friendly queue was part of the experience. "This defi nitely refl ects emerging Brooklyn food culture," she said. By Sunday, some wrinkles ironed out, the grumbles were fewer and the wine and beer fl owed more freely. Despite the blips, Googa will be back. Said Farman, "We had an amazing collection of purveyors who all really embraced what we were trying to build there. We have every intention of doing it next year." THE GREAT GOOGAMOOGA INVADES BROOKLYN story and photos by Lana Bortolot ! " # !" "# !# !"# $

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