Anyone else anxiously counting down the days until Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine?

The 14th annual American Heart Association event returns on Oct. 6 to offer 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.

As we ramp up for the event in the coming weeks, we're sharing recipes from the event’s presenting sponsor, Arkansas Heart Hospital, along with pairing recommendations from wine sponsor Central and Moon Distributors.



Sous Vide Beef Short Rib with Cauliflower Mash and Red Wine Gastrique


  • beef short ribs (preferably boneless)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cauliflower crown
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


For the short ribs:

Place the short ribs and seasonings into a vacuum pouch and seal it with a vacuum sealer. If the bones on the short ribs are sharp, don't vacuum seal them too tightly or they could puncture the bag.

Preheat the sous vide water. Set the water temperature to 56°C / 133°F for perfectly medium rare.

Place the short rib pouch into the heated water bath and cook for between 36 and 48 hours.

Serve the sous vide ribs as is, or sear them off in a pan over high heat or quickly deep fry them

in oil heated to 365F. This adds some nice texture to short ribs and gives them the classic seared look.

For the cauliflower mash:

Boil the cauliflower until completely tender. Strain the cauliflower and place in a processor. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer cauliflower to bowl and fold in heavy cream and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the red wine gastrique:

Open bottle of red wine and place in a non-reactive pot. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Reduce wine by 75 percent. The gastrique should be very syrupy.


Pair this dish with:

Abbeycourt, Cotes du Rhone, France: This wine is built for these tender ribs, mashed cauliflower and the sweet and tangy gastric, a masterful collaboration. The nose on the wine is powerful with black pepper and very ripe cherry. Full and fine velvet characters in the mouth tie with the gastric sauce and the mash cauliflower and ultra-tender ribs. The bright tannins — and more importantly, the background acid in the wine — work seamlessly with the short ribs' full flavor. This is a seamless marriage of fine wine and food. (Grenache, syrah and mourvedre, GSM for those intimidated by the unfamiliar grapes)

Look for this beverage at Table 7 at Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine.


Cacciata Tuscan Red, Toscana, Italy: The new world meets old world ways meet in both the food and the wine to make a finer meal. Short ribs slow cooking sous vide is nod to adding cabernet sauvignon to sangiovese (grape of chianti) to make a "Super Tuscan" blend.

The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 12 months in order to obtain a balanced complexity. It has deep scarlet hues with purple reflections and a sumptuous bouquet of red fruit, violets, chocolate and cinnamon. The full-bodied and mouth-filling flavors sustained by sweet tannins make this Toscana a perfect complement to the best traditional dishes with new ideas like the sous vide short ribs, red wine gastric and a cauliflower mash. (Sangiovese 85 percent, cabernet sauvignon 15 percent)

Look for this beverage at Table 11 at Festival of Wines: Cocktails & Cuisine.