No one does vino like the American Heart Association’s Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine. Returning for its 14th year, this Oct. 6 event offers guests their choice of hundreds of wines from around the world, all paired with eats from 16 of Little Rock's best local restaurants.

Psst! Get your tickets here.

Over the next four weeks, we’ll be sharing recipes from the event’s presenting sponsor, Arkansas Heart Hospital, along with pairing recommendations from wine sponsor Central and Moon Distributors.

Let the games begin!


Crab Cakes with Sauce


For the cakes

  • 1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat
  • 12 Waverly Crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. fresh diced red bell pepper
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 diced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups of milk

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup low fat mayonnaise
  • 1 clove finely diced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste



Mix sauce ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.

Make egg wash by whisking the eggs then adding milk, continuing to whisk until fully mixed, and set aside. Place flour and bread crumbs in separate dishes.

Combine remaining ingredients, folding together, being careful not to break up the crabmeat. Form crab mixture into patties (roughly 3 oz. each) using your hands.

Dredge cakes in flour and place into the egg wash. Then cover the crab cake in crumbs until fully coated. Chill for one hour. 

Heat a sauté pan, adding 2 tbsp. spoons extra virgin olive oil, and sauté cakes until golden brown. 

Serve with sauce and recommended wines.


Pair this dish with:

Bread & Butter Chardonnay, California: This chardonnay opens delicately with rich notes of vanilla bean and almond husk, like a decadent crème brûlée. The creamy custard notes are balanced by a soft minerality and a hint of worn leather. Those creamy notes continue to your palate where they are joined with a light woodiness from the oak. Just like that first bite of brûlée, this wine will melt in your mouth for a long, creamy finish.

Look for this beverage at Table 3 at Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine.


Chandon Brut, California: This wine offers the balance and elegance that has become Chandon's hallmark style. When you taste Brut Classic, look for nutty flavors with hints of brioche that build to a refreshing dry finish. The wine delivers complex apple and pear characteristics accented by citrus spice over notes of almond and caramel in the bouquet. A blend of 68 percent chardonnay and 12 percent pinot noir from northern California, it's the perfect reminder that bubbles go great with everything.

Look for this beverage at Table 17 at Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine.