Lidia Bastianich and other Slow Food leaders will appear at the three-day event this weekend in New Paltz, N.Y.

By Eva Meszaros

A celebration of wine, food, and the culinary world kicks off today in New York’s Hudson Valley for the inaugural Wine & Food Festival of New Paltz. Presented by International Wine Masters, the three-day event features education sessions, celebrity chef demonstrations, and a bevy of activities inviting members of the trade, consumers, and press.

Embodying and promoting the Slow Food movement, the event is promoting specialty food and wine products from around the world as well as the culinary arts in general. A partnership with the Culinary Institute of America includes demonstrations from CIA chefs and a student competition.

Announcing its involvement in the festival, the Italian Trade Commission recently held a press event gathering several leaders in Italian cuisine and culture who will be participating in the weekend's activities, including renowned wine experts Kevin Zraly, Anthony Giglio, and Michael Weiss. Also in attendance was award-winning TV host, cookbook author, and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich, who will present a keynote seminar at the festival on Saturday. “Where I can spread the gospel, it’s always a great opportunity,” she says.

The festival’s many events—including silent and live auctions to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Side Towel Scholarship for CIA students—are taking place at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, a 19th century Victorian castle overlooking Lake Mohonk in New Paltz. The festival’s choice of location is fitting, noted wine expert Anthony Giglio at a recent press event announcing the festival, as New Paltz is said to be the origin of winemaking in the U.S.

Learn more about the individual events and purchase tickets here.