Toast of Brooklyn in its seventh year

The annual Toast of Brooklyn Food and Wine Festival slated for Nov. 6 & 7 will for the first time include a farmer’s market, approved by the New York Department of Agriculture that would allow vintners to sell their products at the event.

Artisans will also for the first time, showcase and sell their art and craft at the festival which is expected to draw thousands of patrons over the weekend celebration set for the Brooklyn Industrial Studios at 1260 Atlantic Ave., between Bedford and Nostrand avenues.

More that 20 N.Y. state wines as well as brands from the Caribbean, Guyana and South Africa will be available for sampling and for sale.

The event, which will have live entertainment, will start with an invitation only awards ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6.

Two sessions will be held the following day from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm, and 5 pm to 9 pm, where nationally acclaimed Chef Irie of the recently launched Taste of the Islands TV show on PBS and Create TV will showcase his cooking skills.

The South Florida-based chef will conduct cooking demonstrations and will dish out his delectable Caribbean and American cuisine during the Saturday session of the festival.

Some of the brands slated for the festival include; Royal Wines, Jamaica’s Appleton Run, and Guyana’s XM line of spirits.

Others are Obikwa, that offers a range of high quality and affordable South African wines, as well as Mandela Wines, Fulkerson Winery, Birthday Cake Vineyards, AVIVA Vodka, America’s Southern Wines, Gallo Wines, Hennessy, Opici Wines and many others.

Founding member of Toast of Brooklyn group and Bedford Stuyvesant Gateway official, Guyanese-born Edmon Braithwaite, said when the African-American community in the area wanted to celebrate Bedford Stuyvesant with something advanced and classy, it was the help of then president of Carver Bank Debra Wright who offered space in the bank to host the first festival in 2008.

“We African Americans spend billions of dollars in this industry, but do not get a fair shake, and proper representation,” said Braithwaite, owner of Nostrand Wines and Liquors in Bedford Stuyvesant, and a member of the Fulton Nostrand United Merchants Association (FNUMA).

“It was a stunning move by Ms. Wright who felt it was important back then, to give this event we were going to host, the recognition it needed seven-years ago,” added Braithwaite, who, along with organizers are adding the last touches to showcase some of the industry’s best connoisseurs.

“This year the festival will be bigger and better in its new venue that can hold thousands of guests,” said Braithwaite, who has over the last 15 years built his wine and spirits business to prominence in Brooklyn.

“We are still working on finalizing other brands, like a Barbados rum,” added Braithwaite who said a fee of $50.00 per session will give patrons access to all tasting and access to vintners and artisans.

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