WASHINGTON (March 23, 2010)—Wine, cheese, beer and chocolate lovers will have the opportunity to sample their favorite treats as they learn more about them from leading experts during the spring season of National Geographic Live.
The programs begin Wednesday, April 14, with “Chocolate: From Bean to Bar” (7 p.m.), featuring internationally acclaimed chocolate maker Steve DeVries and Washington, D.C.’s local chocolate aficionado Biagio Abbatiello. DeVries, owner of DeVries Chocolate, has distinguished himself with his hands-on involvement in every step of the production process, often traveling to various regions of Latin America to hand select the right beans. Chocophile Abbatiello’s passion for chocolate was inspired by his global travels as a former flight attendant. He opened Biagio Fine Chocolate in Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood, which sells chocolate from around the world and from D.C.’s own local chocolatiers. The shop, known for pioneering the bean-to-bar decentralization of chocolate making, sells unique flavors like Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar. DeVries and Abbatiello will guide guests through the history, personalities and flavors behind this alluring treat.
On Wednesday, May 5, National Geographic Live will present “A Come to Cheeses Moment: Wine vs. Beer” (7 p.m.). Grape guru Joshua Wesson will face off against beer authority Nick Funnell for a tasting competition to see which goes better with cheese, wine or beer. Artisanal cheeses will be paired with a specially selected wine and beer, and participants will vote for their favorite pairings.
Wesson, author of “Red Wine with Fish,” is a regular on NPR’s “The Splendid Table” and has appeared as a wine and food pairings expert on the “Today” show and “Good Morning America.” Since opening Best Cellars in 1996, Wesson has won countless honors, from Best French Wine Sommelier to being selected as one of the top five sommeliers in the world by Sopexa.
Funnell is the brewmaster for the Great American Restaurants chain and was a winner at the Great American Beer Festival.
These beverage experts will work with master cheesemonger Steven Jenkins, the first American to win the title of Chevalier du Taste Fromage and the author of “The Cheese Primer.” Jenkins is a regular guest on NPR’s “The Splendid Table” and is known for revamping the cheese counters at such notable markets as Dean & Deluca, the Fairway Market and Balduccis. This program is presented with support from Best Cellars (Dupont Circle location) and the Brickskeller.
Brewmaster Garrett Oliver will take guests on an exciting Nordic beer tour on Tuesday, May 18, for “New Beers of Scandinavia” (7 p.m.). Oliver is the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewing and author of “The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food.” Participants will have the unique opportunity to learn about the blossoming craft-brewing movement in Scandinavia from a leading authority, who has been an expert guest on “Emeril Live,” “Martha Stewart Living,” NPR and CNN. This event is cosponsored by the Brickskeller and presented with assistance from Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP).
National Geographic Live programs are held in Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M Street N.W., Washington, D.C. Program tickets can be purchased at the National Geographic ticket office, 1600 M Street N.W., by telephone at (202) 857-7700, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or online at www.nglive.org. All National Geographic Live tasting programs cost $75 for members and $80 for the general public. Guests must be 21 or older to participate in “A Come to Cheeses Moment: Wine vs. Beer” and “New Beers of Scandinavia.” Free parking is available with advance ticket purchase for weekend programs and for weekday events beginning at 6 p.m. For additional information, visit www.nglive.org.