The Shoppes at Bel Air just got a little tastier, with Grimaldi’s Pizzeria rolling out its new “Fall Favorites” menu. The New York pizza chain has a strong presence as one of the better dining spots in the mall and the new items should reinforce that.

With football season underway, you may want to try the Buffalo chicken pizza. Made with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, this pie sounds good on its own, but when I think of that coal-fired crust I imagine it to be a wonderful marriage of flavor.

There’s also a new wedge salad, a caramel apple cheesecake and Italian sodas and flavored lemonade. If you have yet to visit Grimaldi’s, there is no better time.

Southern Napa welcomes Salvestrin
Salvestrin Wines are into four generations, spanning 84 years as a family-owned winery — practically Napa royalty. It has always been “Winery and Wine Club Only,” meaning you couldn’t buy it from retailers … until now.

Southern Napa is holding a wine tasting with food pairings event featuring an exclusive look at Salvestrin Wines on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may still be available but the tasting is limited to 24 guests.

Attendees will taste six wines, including a sauvignon blanc, petite syrah, sangiovese, a red blend, a cabernet and a very special Three D Estate cabernet from the legendary Dr. Crane Vineyard ($175 retail!).

Cross your fingers that there’s still an opening. Of course the kitchen will be pouring out some great flavors, too. Price per person is $75. Call 251-375-2800 for availability.

Wharf Uncorked raises $20K for charity
The fourth annual Wharf Uncorked Food and Wine Festival was another success for Orange Beach, welcoming nearly 1,000 guests and raising $20,357.57 for Make-A-Wish Alabama, an organization devoted to granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

At the grand tasting on Saturday some of Alabama’s finest chefs competed in a cooking competition. Chef Chris Kelly of Driftwood Steakhouse won for creativity with his Gulf Coast boudin. Cosmo’s Chef Rob Benson’s seared scallops with greens and grits won for flavor as well as use of ingredients. Blue Water BBQ Co.’s Chef Neil Schappert won for presentation with his chicken and ribs. Voyager Chef Brody Olive won the People’s Choice Award as well as the Grand Tasting Overall Winner with his seared diver scallop, speck polenta gratin and onion agrodolce.

Of course the competing chefs were looking to win an automatic qualifying position for the World Food Championships held at The Wharf in November. This year’s Golden Ticket went to Chef Rob Benson of Cosmo’s. Congratulations to all the winners and Make-A-Wish.

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