Two weeks ago I attended San Pellegrino's Meatball Madness presented by Buitoni. I was the lucky winner of two tickets thanks to Michelle from Taste as You Go and Buitoni. This event was part of the NYC Food and Wine Festival and it was hosted by the Giada De Laurentiis. Giada is just as lovely in person as she is on TV. This was my first event at the NYC festival and all I can say was that it was pure meatball eating bliss. I am a real fan of cooking meatballs.
There were over 35 different meatballs prepared by some of the best restaurants and chefs in the city, along with appetizers, desserts, drinks and Buitoni pasta. What more could you want? Wait, how about some celebrity chefs walking around also? Of course, Giada was the hit of the Meatball Madness event but there were many other chefs walking around and enjoying some meatballs. I snapped a picture of my husband with Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible. Chef Michael Psilakis was nice enough to let me get a picture with him in between serving his Kefi Meatballs with Orzo Salad. His meatball dish was delicious but unfortunately I didn't get a good photo. I really liked the orzo he made with it too.
My biggest mistake of the night was not having a meatball eating plan. I wanted to try as many meatballs as possible. Since my husband was driving home, I wouldn't mind being in the passenger seat half napping and half in a meatball stupor. But because of the lack of planning, I was only able to try about a dozen. We started out getting our own meatballs and eating the whole thing. If we had shared, we could have tried much more. After eating about six, I learned my lesson and only took a bite or two of each. I also should of laid off the appetizers. And don't tell anyone but the hubby and I went back for seconds (or thirds) at the Buitoni booth. We couldn't resist the Quattro Formaggi Agnoltti with pesto sauce. Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat. Especially when it's filled with lots of cheese.
As luck would have it, we tried the two winning meatballs of Meatball Madness before we even knew they were winners. Joey Campanaro of The Little Owl and his Gravy Meatball Sliders with Dandelion and Pickled Fennel Salad won the judges choice award. This was the first meatball I had tried all night and yes, I ate the whole thing along with the roll. It was definitely a deserving winner.
The other winner of the night was Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow of the Meatball Shop who won the People's Choice award for their Steak n'Bacon Cheddar Balls on a Buttermilk Biscuit with Mushroom Gravy. These were great also and my husband really enjoyed them.
Here are some of the other meatballs we really liked:
|Prosciutto and Mortadella Meatballs from Osteria Morini|
|Nonna's meatballs with Roasted Peppers and Ricotta from Abboccato|
|Veal Meatballs from Ciano|
One popular meatball that everyone was talking about was a Rabbit Meatball with Scallion, Black Olives and Rosemary from Maialino with Nick Anderer preparing it. It was a beautiful looking meatball and we figured we wanted to try something different. I liked the flavor but wasn't crazy about the soft texture of the meatball. Or maybe I just thought of a soft little bunny running through my back yard.
After eating all the meatballs, a stroll was needed. We walked around and luckily, I ran into Michelle again. We stopped by the Buitoni booth to get our pictures taken. They had a really cute booth set up with a Vespa and an Italian background. Michelle and I also had our picture taken with Chef Waldo.
Meatball Madness was such a fun event! The awesome thing was that 100% of the net proceeds of the festival went to the Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in America. There were some wonderful volunteers that worked really hard to make sure it was a well organized event. I hope to go to the NYC Food and Wine Festival next year! Thanks again to Michelle From Taste As You Go and Buitoni!