Wednesday April 23rd 2014

Harvest on the Harbor 2013: An insiders guide

By: Susan Axelrod

The chefs competing in the Lobster Chef of the Year and Farm to Table competitions at Harvest on the Harbor 2013 were introduced at a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Portland’s Ocean Gateway. From left: Chad Conley (Gather, Yarmouth) Farm to Table; David Levi (Vinland, Portland) Farm to Table; Jon Gaboric and Chris Long (both Camden Harbour Inn, Camden) Lobster Chef; Brandon Blethen (Robert’s Maine Grill, Kittery) Lobster Chef; Kerry Altiero (Cafe Miranda, Rockland) Farm to Table; Shanna O’Hea (Academe at The Kennebunk Inn) Lobster Chef. In the foreground at left is Marianne LaCroix of the Maine Lobster Council. (Photo: Susan Axelrod)

Now in its sixth successful year, Harvest on the Harbor is THE food and wine festival in Maine. Scheduled for Oct. 23 through Oct. 26, at the Ocean Gateway in Portland, the line-up includes ever-popular chef cooking contests such as the already sold out Lobster Chef of the Year competition (tickets are still available for the Farm-to-Table face-off), multiple opportunities to sample Maine foods, beer, wine and cocktails and live entertainment.

If you’re planning to attend, now is the time to get tickets. Need advice on deciding which events would be best for you? Here’s our guide:

Grand Tasting on the Harbor Update: Sold Out

When: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
How much: $65
Who’s it for: If you’re into rubbing elbows at cocktail parties and get caught up in the excitement of opening-night events, the Grand Tasting is your kind of fun. Be prepared to do the usual party juggle of plate and glass as you navigate the offerings from 18 chefs and food providers and a host of breweries, wineries and distilleries.

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International Maine: Taste the World

When: Thursday, Oct. 24 6 to 8:30 p.m.
How much: $55
Who’s it for: Calling all adventurous eaters; this brand new tasting event showcases the increasing diversity of Maine food. Live entertainment from Primo Cubano and Sylvain’s Acadian Aces will amp up the global mood.

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Top of the Crop: Maine’s Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant Update: Sold Out

When: Friday, Oct. 25, Noon to 2:30 p.m.
How much: $55
Who’s it for: Chef groupies and fans of TV cooking shows will be thrilled to watch four of Maine’s top chefs — Chad Conley of Gather in Yarmouth; David Levi of the forthcoming Vinland in Portland; Kerry Altiero of Cafe Miranda in Rockland (going for another big prize after winning Maine Lobster Chef of the Year in 2012) and Rich Hanson of Cleonice in Ellsworth — go head-to-head cooking with Maine’s bounty of local ingredients. This popular event is also expected to sell out fast.

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Down East Insider Event — Wine Tasting Update: Sold Out

When: Friday, Oct. 25, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
How much: $75
Who’s it for: Wine lovers who are just itching for the chance to try their own hands at making blended red wine. Mix, match, sip, compare!

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Down East Insider Event – Beer Tasting

When: Friday, Oct. 25, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
How much: $55
Who’s it for: Fans of Maine’s Oxbow Brewery, who will get to mingle with the brewers in a small group setting and of course, drink Oxbow beer.

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Blues & Brews BBQ Update: Sold Out

When: Friday, Oct. 25, 7 to 10 p.m.
How much: $65
Who’s it for: Not a fan of the cocktail party scene? Back for the second year because it was hugely popular, this rockin’ event will kick off the weekend with great local ‘cue, high-end (Allagash) and low-brow (Narragansett) beers and blues band Black Cat Road.

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Samplings at the Marketplace

When: Saturday. Oct. 26, Session I noon to 2:30 p.m.; Session II 4 to 6:30 p.m.
How much: $45
Who’s it for: Anyone interested in seeing and tasting what’s good and what’s new from more than 160 food producers, wineries, breweries, distilleries and other artisans.

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Check back for updates!