Sampling of seafood, wine

January 21, 2011 

A confluence of wine and food will flow at the fairgrounds in Elma on Saturday during the Grays Harbor Wine & Seafood Festival.

Now in its fourth year, the festival will feature more than 20 local wineries, 12 food vendors and entertainment in a one-day event that gets more popular every year.

The number of food vendors has nearly doubled this year, said Paula Jones, event coordinator for the Elma Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the festival.

Food vendors include The Islander Resort of Westport, Crepes of Olympia, Blissful Wunders Confectionery Chocolats’ of Steamboat Island, and Susie’s Cakes of Hoquiam.

Every vendor is required to sell at least one seafood offering. Crepes of Olympia will be making smoked salmon crepes; Susie’s has developed a seafood cream puff for the event. Lake Quinault Lodge will serve a Dungeness crab bisque and a steelhead (fresh from the Quileute River) gravlax in a cucumber cup with gremolata, cream cheese and capers.

One vendor who will be offering nothing but seafood is Mike Lytle of Lytle Seafoods. The Hoquiam-based oyster grower will run indoor and outdoor booths featuring shrimp cakes, smoked salmon, crab puffs and, of course, oysters: barbecued, on the shell, smoked and shooters.

Lytle, a veteran of the festival, ships his long line-raised oysters around the world, including New York City and Hong Kong. The third-generation fisherman (“I guess I got seafood in my blood”) grows his oysters in Grays Harbor and spends his summers fishing for Copper River salmon in Alaska.

Lytle is glad the festival has expanded to fill most of the 55,000-square-foot pavilion. Last year, he said, the event was almost too popular.

More vendors and more space will help with that lucky problem, Jones said.

Prices vary for food but generally start in the $1 to $3 range. The majority of the wine tastings will be $1. A popular item last year was a package of 10 $1 tickets and a commemorative wine glass for $15. Wines also can be sampled by the glass and wineries will offer bottles for sale.

Some of the wineries include Stinas Cellars, Hansen & Hansen, Widgeon Hill Winery, Waving Tree Winery, Westport Winery, Challenger Ridge Vineyards, Hoodsport Winery, Madsen Family Winery, Eagle Haven Winery, Mt. St. Helens Winery, Birchfield Winery and Bateaux Cellars.

Fish Brewing Co. of Olympia will offer their beer and hard cider as an alternative to wine.

One vintner, Tenino’s Scatter Creek Winery, will offer several wines, including “Peach Breeze,” a chardonnay; “Fire of the Night,” a syrah-zinfandel blend, and Koko Indulgence, a chocolate Port dessert wine.

Andrea Keary, who owns Scatter Creek with her husband, Terril, said the event is one of their favorites. “It’s a great opportunity to taste a lot of local wineries under one roof.”

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, craig.sailor@thenewstribune.com

Grays Harbor Wine & Seafood Festival

When: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday

Where: Grays Harbor Fair Pavilion, 32 Elma McCleary Road, Elma

Tickets: $5 presale (at selected Les Schwab Tire stores), $8 at door. Wine and food tastings sold separately.

Information: 360-482-3055, www.elmachamber.org

Note: Age 21 and older only

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