This weekend’s agenda promises to showcase the best of the Southeast
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
This weekend, I’m headed across the Mason-Dixon Line for one of the Southeast region’s most celebrated and star-studded culinary events.
This year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in the city's Midtown district promises several days full of the best food and beverages from the "South's" — meaning the Southeast U.S., countries "south-of-the-border" including Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean, as well as Southern Europe, South Africa, South America, Australia, and New Zealand — award-winning and up-and-coming chefs, beverage experts, and sommeliers.
The weekend features several special dinners, and is also broken down into learning experiences (more than 90 cooking and cocktail demonstrations, technique labs, food and beverage tasting seminars, and panel discussions), tasting experiences, and a special Sothern-style soirées.
I’ll be sharing my festival highlights over the next few days, but a couple of things I am already looking forward to are a dinner from Blackberry Farm, a technique lab with Bayou Bakery’s David Guas, as well as catching up with North Carolina’s Andrea Reusing, Scott Crawford, and Ashley Christensen.
You can follow the weekend’s events on The Daily Meal, as well as on Twitter at @ariellauren and @ATLFoodAndWine.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival opens Thursday
This nationally renowned food fest, headquartered at the Loews Atlanta Hotel in Midtown, begins May 28 and will bring thousands to the area to explore the Southern food and beverage traditions of regions spanning from Texas to D.C. Over the course of its five-year history, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has grown from 5,800 participants in its first year to just over 9,200 last year.
The weekend is designed to introduce new trends, and Dominique Love, one of the festival’s co-founders, says, “We want the guests to have heard it first, seen it first and tasted it first at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.”
Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of rich culinary events including tasting tents, dinners and over 100 classes led by culinary professionals from across the region. And if you’re able to pony up the cash for a connoisseur-level ticket, you’ll also be treated to premium experiences and the chance to hobnob with the “talent” (aka chefs and presenters).
The programming for the weekend will not only examine our Southern culinary history, it will also introduce attendees to new techniques and ingredients being used by our chefs (for recipes from some of the chefs, go to myajc.com), and provide opportunities to explore the food and beverages of Southern cultures from around the globe. Think Southern Europe, South America, South Africa, the Southern Hemisphere and south-of-the-border in Mexico.
New for 2015
Each year, a group of about 80 chefs, sommeliers and mixologists from across the South come together to brainstorm how to dive deeper into our Southern foodways and traditions. According to Love, her office takes “cues from the advisory council to develop the programming.” She says, “We challenge them to talk about what’s at front of mind for them.”
This year, seafood sustainability will continue to be a theme, but the advisory council shines the spotlight on Gulf seafood, trash fish (underloved and underutilized fish) and introducing malicious (or invasive) species onto menus as a means of controlling them.
Wellness will also be a focus this year, with instruction on making Italian fare healthy, eating clean, managing diabetes and the medicinal properties of moonshine.
For beverage enthusiasts, new content will include exploration of African-American cocktail legends, batch drinks, and preparing cocktails for a crowd.
A new partnership with Southern Living, which has participated in the festival in previous years, will bring a unique lineup of events. The magazine will host a documentary screening of “Q — Alabama’s Barbecue Legends,” offer a Southern Living test kitchen re-creation and provide a sneak peek at (and taste of) the winners of its first-ever Food Awards, which will be announced in the June issue.
You’ll also find a new emphasis on Southern tourism, with events and classes designed to entice you to visit South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. Festivalgoers will examine the evolution of farm-to-table fare in Mississippi and be treated to an Alabama barbecue sauce smackdown.
Get a taste
At the time of this writing, some ticket options are still available. Grab a day pass to participate in the classes, which are the
On the Craft Beer Trail at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
In case you haven't noticed, the AJC Drink blog has migrated to the new Atlanta Restaurant Scene with John Kessler.
That means you'll find AJC wine columnist Gil Kulers of Kulers Uncorked here.
And you'll find my Beer Town column, which runs in the AJC Food section today, along with a cover story I wrote highlighting three chefs, and three recipes for dishes they'll be presenting at the 2014 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival .
For the past four years, I’ve been helping out with the beer programing for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
Besides being a gathering for great Southern chefs, the event’s Tasting Tents are designed to lead guests through curated “trails” that showcase food and drink from around the South. And Southern craft brewers have found a place at the tables among the purveyors of barbecue, bourbon, cheese, fried chicken, seafood and sweets.
This year, I’m proud to say, I also helped usher in a craft beer specially designed and brewed for the 2014 festival at Three Taverns Brewery in Decatur in collaboration with Atlanta’s Wrecking Bar Brewpub.
Tripel Reserve is a Belgian-style tripel fermented with oak and red wine. Three Taverns brewers Joran Van Ginderacther and Brian Purcell created the beer with Wrecking Bar brewer Bob Sandage, riffing on the classic golden strong ale with a few more additions, including a bit of rye malt and Saaz hops.
Early tastings reveal a beer that should appeal to many of the wine lovers at the festival, with touches of vanilla from the oak, and a bubbly, creamy presence. Personally, I’m looking forward to trying it with some cheese and charcuterie.
Another exciting development this year is a panel I will be moderating on Saturday morning with Bill Manley, the resident “beer geek” from Sierra Nevada, and Noah Tuttle, Oskar Blues head brewer in Brevard, North Carolina.
We’re calling it the Great Beer Migration, and besides offering some beers to sip and savor, Manley and Tuttle will be discussing how two big craft breweries from west of the Mississippi landed in North Carolina.
On Sunday afternoon, when it’s legal to drink beer again, Tuttle of Oskar Blues and Purcell of Three Taverns will be joining Jason Pellet of the up-and-coming Orpheus Brewing in Atlanta and Edward Westbrook of Westbrook Brewing in South Carolina and myself to talk about the state of the art of craft beer in the South.
On the Craft Beer Trail at the festival, look for offerings from Maryland’s Heavy Seas, North Carolina’s Highland and Virginia’s Starr Hill, in addition to Orpheus, Oskar Blues and Three Taverns.
In the Tasting Tents, Sierra Nevada will be on the Snacks and Cheese Trail, Sweetwater on the Pork Trail, and Terrapin on the Southern Grown Trail.
As usual, it will fun to see what beers the brewers decide to showcase during the tastings.
In the past, we’ve enjoyed debut beers like Sweetwater’s Waterkeeper Hefeweizen, one-of-a-kind brews like Terrapin’s Belgian-inspired 10th Anniversary Ale, cult beers like Westbrook’s Mexican Cake Imperial Stout, and big surprises like Foothills’ Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels.
Of course, it’s always interesting to see how the festival-goers will react to the craft beers weaving among the food and wine tastings.
In 2012, there was a happy gathering where a row of Southern craft brewers were pouring beer directly across from a row of Southern chefs serving fried chicken. A lot of samples were traded back-and-forth between the chefs and brewers, too.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
This event may have been changed due to COVID-19 outbreak precautions. Please check official event and venue websites to confirm the status.
When: This event has been postponed for a later date. Please check the official Atlanta Food & Wine Festival official website for the latest update.
Where: Midtown Atlanta
The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is an entire weekend dedicated to Southern cuisine. From great down-home delicacies to the freshest fusion dishes, the most sought-after wines to hot new bar favorites, this festival aims to please even the most finicky foodie.
Over the course of the weekend attendees have the chance to participate in exclusive wine and food tastings featuring more than 250 restaurants, artisans, chefs and producers. More than 90 classes are offered to educate and entertain guests as they explore regional flavors and traditions, including cooking classes at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. View the weekend schedule for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.
Some of the proceeds benefit organizations that aim to promote Southern culture and history, create opportunities for women in culinary arts and increase access to locally grown foods.
While you’re here be sure to check out some of the great restaurants Atlanta has to offer. You’ll find delicious dishes around every corner. And book your stay at one of our hotels in Midtown Atlanta.VISIT THE ATLANTA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL WEBSITE
Join Us at the 2013 South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Leave the winter chill behind and take a trip down South to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We’ll be at the festival all weekend long chowing down on grub with Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Robert Irvine, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Symon, Giada De Laurentiis, Jeff Mauro, Paula Deen and more.
Want to join us? You can find our editors covering the following events throughout the 4-day festival.
If you can’t make it to the festival this year, tune into FN Dish for our coverage all weekend long, including exclusive videos.
The First Family of Food Network will host this super-braised festival kickoff party. Join Paula Deen and her two sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, as they host Moët Hennessy's The Q. More than 40 of the top barbecue chefs from across the country will grill up chicken, ribs, brisket and pork butts from Omaha Steaks with smoky side dishes.
Join Rachael Ray and some of your favorite Food Network chefs — Michael Symon, Bobby Flay and Jeff Mauro — for the biggest bash of the weekend. B Spot owner Michael Symon has taken the People's Choice award the last three years, winning in 2012 with his Porky Burger: a pork and bacon burger topped with pulled pork and slaw. Who will win this year?
Prepare to spend a night relaxing on the Mediterranean with Giada at Casa Tua. Seated inside the majestic villa, you’ll enjoy a menu crafted by the "petite powerhouse" and Casa Tua chef, Paolo Del Papa. It will feature Italian delicacies of handmade pastas, flavorful sauces, succulent roasts, lovingly seasoned vegetables and rustic desserts that embody the leisurely paced northern Italian lifestyle that Casa Tua represents.
Join Bobby Flay and chefs from his acclaimed restaurants around the country as they take part in one of their greatest passions: brunch. With a spatula in one hand and a glass of rosé in the other, Bobby and the gang go from sweet to salty to savory, drawing inspiration for every-occasion brunches from around the globe.
Robert Irvine wants to turn the Biltmore Hotel into his own personal kitchen classroom. At this event, guests will cook, eat and pick up invaluable lessons on how to create the perfect meal while sipping on specially selected wines with each new plate. This evening is an intimate hands-on affair, so come ready to be swept away into a fantasy land where the chef is showcasing an elegant dinner just for you.
Worst Cooks in America and Chef Wanted's Anne Burrell will be the special guest manager for Creekstone Farms presents Delta Diamond Dishes Dinner: A League of Their Own. Only a talent like Anne can push a lineup of top female chefs in the country: Michelle Bernstein, Stephanie Izard, April Bloomfield, Naomi Pomeroy, Jeni Britton Bauer and Julie Loria, to produce at an all-star level.
Three-time Grammy Award winning country sensation and host of Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Trisha Yearwood is sharing some of her favorite recipes for Sunday brunch from her best-selling cookbooks. This will be Trisha's festival debut — a not-to-be-missed event.
Food Network's resident culinary rock star, Guy Fieri, is teaming up with reggae legend Ziggy Marley for this closing-party concert, the likes of which guests have never before seen.
Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Celebrates the South
How do you dispel the myth that southern cuisine is not as sophisticated as other regional fine dining? You bring together chefs, educators and plenty of food and wine fans for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, a celebration of the South’s rich culinary traditions.
“The Southern food experience can be so so different depending on what region of the south you’re in, what influences you have,” said Chef Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Woodfire Grill. “People think that it’s just fried chicken and gravy – and it is that, it’s just so, so much more.”
There was plenty of fried chicken at the tasting tents, the festival’s main draw. Local and regional chefs shared their version of the southern staple.
Festival attendees got to taste much more than just chicken. Restaurants visiting from as far west as Texas and far north as Virginia offered barbecue, pork, seafood, tacos and beyond. Plus there were plenty of Georgia peaches, pecans and Vidalia onions – and beer, bourbon, whiskey and wine to wash it all down.
Learning experiences offered an in depth look at both the comfort and gourmet aspects of southern food and drink. While sharing standout wines produced in Georgia, Texas and Virginia, winemakers demonstrated that the west coast has some competition.
Said Mary Ann Hardman, owner of Persimmon Creek Vineyards, “I think it is very very important for restaurants, who especially espouse a fork to plate, or a local sort of push in their food . . . how can you say you are serving food that is local when you don’t have one wine that’s from Georgia on your list?”
For both chefs and festival attendees, the weekend was more than just a chance to eat great food and sip a variety of wine and spirits – it was a way to honor the South’s unique culinary heritage while getting a taste of the dining trends to come.
Said Chef Gillespie, “we have cultures from the entire globe coming together and we want to show people that southern cuisine is a modern, moving, evolving cuisine and hopefully this festival will show that.”
Robin Austin is a wine, food and travel journalist based in Atlanta. She has written for online and print publications locally and around the globe. Click to read more >>
A Love Letter to Atlanta
Josh Ozersky is a James Beard Award-winning food writer, B-list food personality, and noted polymath and deviant. The founder of Meatopia, he will answer all your questions on meat, food, food writing, relationships, restaurants, or cooking. He is also available for private tutorials.
The south is the the great American food region right now. I think we can all agree on that. And Atlanta is very much the capital of the south. So the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, by dint of location if nothing else, is where you to experience this. Like many of the writers who attend this and other festivals, I was flown and housed by the festival, so by all means feel free to discount what I'm saying here. But I will say it anyway: the festival is my gateway to finding out what's going on in the South. And what's going on is amazing. It fills me with hope and excitement. I got to hear an inspired speech from a chicken farmer who is running his own slaughterhouse, one of only two such independent operations in the country, as far as I know, and eat the chicken while he was talking about it. I got to talk, drunkenly, to Julian Van Winkle and his son Preston about bourbon, and wasn't that a thrill I had a robust discussion of whole-animal cookery with Chris Shepherd from Underbelly in Houston, and the mechanics of quail butchering with Chris Hastings from The Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. I went into the tents, sweltering but elated, and had eye-opening charcuterie, six different kinds of fried chicken, and the best Carolina barbecue I have ever eaten. The latter, from Sam Jones of Skylight Inn in Ayden, NC, was easily a third chopped crackling, and like nothing I have ever eaten before.
But the most exciting part for me wasn't even the Festival iself, per se, although that is certainly my favorite food festival in the country right now &ndash by far. If you go to Atlanta soon, obviously the first place you'll want to go will be the LEGOland Discovery Center, and then the Jimmy Carter presidential library. But after that, I would recommend going to the following places, which strike me as representing Lardcore at its very best. I am currently totally in love with Gunshow, the first independent effort from hirsute Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie. This place is not only awesome in and of itself, but I suspect that it will become a template for a new kind of restaurant. Everything here is dim sum-style with waiters constantly circulating with small plates, which you can choose to accept or not. You get to eat everything on the menu that looks good, and nothing that doesn't, and you eat at your own pace. Basically, it's the only good part of tasting menus, minus the parts everybody loathes (the pace, the stuffiness, the expense.) Gunshow serves fifteen or sixteen original dishes a night, and changes the menu completely every couple of weeks. It's so good I haven't seen that kind of freestyling since the early days of Ssäm Bar. (To make it even better, the place looks like a plumbing supply store, with flourscent lighting and almost no décor beyond the best restaurant logo of all time.)
Afterwards, be like me and go have beef heart and beef tartare and the famous hamburger at Holeman and Finch, and wash it down with house cocktails. (Ed. note&mdash Holeman and Finch is a Best Bars in America alum, by the way) Or whiskey. Whatever! It's likely to be late anyway. Go to King and Duke, where an all-wood version of Jean Cocteau's "infernal machine" is doing its thing day and night on immense steaks and chops. Go to the hundred-and-one other restaurants in the city that show off the greatness of originality of Lardcore. Esquire's own John Mariani even called the opening of The Optimist the most exciting of last year. But go just go. Georgia is on my mind, and I wish I could go back tomorrow.
Atlanta food and wine festival
The Atlanta food and wine festival is an annual fair held in spring in Midtown. It started its journey ten years ago in 2010 and has been one of the biggest attractions for foodies from around the world. It focuses on food from the south and runs on different themes which change every year. This festival puts forward the local taste of the south brought to you by the farmers and residents of Atlanta. The guests are warmly greeted, and the food is put across on tables in designated tents for tasting.
Atlanta Food and Wine Festival: Georgia Watermelon Assocation
Last weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the year. It was the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. Each year, rain or shine, thousands of Atlantans participate in this awesome food festival to enjoy cocktails, lite bites, and to meet some of the Southeast’s top culinary talent. It’s a must-attend event, and this was my fourth year attending.
This year I had the opportunity to work with the amazing Georgia Watermelon Association. I had no idea such an association existed! I have been a fan of watermelon since I was a child. The Georgia Watermelon Association. was incorporated in May 1968, and their overall purpose is to promote the best watermelon from production to consumption. The Georgia Watermelon Association.was featured at the Food & Wine’s cocktail garden. I had the pleasure of meeting, 1st Runner Up Savannah Hartley of the Watermelon Queen Pageant, as we indulged in Atlanta’s best watermelon.
The association provided two items for attendees to enjoy. The first was a delicious cocktail using Tito’s vodka and Tsamma Juice. This was called the Watermelon Drop. The drink was incredible!
It made my editor, Dan-Neika Clay, a very happy camper! It was so refreshing. I loved that it wasn’t too sweet or too bitter. It was the perfect drink for the weather. And everyone that tried this cocktail loved it. It’s a must-try cocktail for the summer. T
Secondly, there was a watermelon salsa, which is my new go-to recipe for summer functions, cookouts, bridal showers, girls’ night out, and baby showers. It was sweet, flavorful, and light. What I loved most about the Georgia Watermelon Association. booth was that they provided recipes for attendees to take home. Some of my favorites were watermelon raspberry lemonade and watermelon agua fresca.
This summer make sure you try this cocktail drink The Watermelon Drop:
Photo Credit: Atlanta Food and Wine Instagram Page
Each year I have a great time, and this year was even better. I always love meeting new foodies and seeing old foodies. What was your favorite part of the 2017 Atlanta Food and Wine Festival? Leave your comments below.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 Part 5 and Shrimp Tacos (Tacos de Camarones)
I am finishing up my recap of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2013 with a review of the Mexico and Australia booths and a recipe for Shrimp Tacos (Tacos de Camarones). Here are my previous posts on Epcot: Japan and Cheese booths in Part 1, Scotland, Italy, and Poland in Part 2, China and Greece in Part 3, and Desserts and Champagne and Africa in Part 4. There were so many more booths I wanted to try, but unfortunately our stomachs held us back. Maybe someday I will get to visit again. After the New Year, I will post about Downtown Disney, Magic Kingdom, and Legoland Florida.
I forgot to take a photo of the actual booth, but this year Mexico offered Taco de Rib-Eye with Salsa de Chipotle, Shrimp Taco with Purple Cabbage, Rice Pudding, Dos Equis Beer, Sangria, Tequila Flight, and Mango-Habanero Margarita.
We got the Shrimp Taco with Purple Cabbage and Tequila Flight. The Tequila Flight included Tequila Blanco, Reposado, and Anejo. Chad wanted the flight to take the nerves off after finishing his final presentation for his Master’s Degree a couple of hours earlier. I tried a sip, but am not a fan of straight liquor. Chad enjoyed it and was a lot more relaxed, especially since he had a beer a couple of stops later at the Scottish booth.
The Shrimp Taco with Purple Cabbage was Chad’s favorite dish at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year. It was also one of the top picks for me. The shrimp were battered and fried, then piled on top of a flour tortilla with purple cabbage, salsa verde, chipotle mayo, and a lime. It was a decent portion size with enough for the three of us to share (though Evan only had a couple of bites). My only complaint is that it can be quite a bit messy to eat, especially if you can’t find a table.
This year, the Australia booth offered Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle, and Rapini Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard) Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio Rosemount Estate Merlot and Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz.
I was still a bit full from the Mexico booth, but wanted to sample the Pavlova since I have never tried one before. It was delicious. I liked the contrast of the crispy meringue shell with the creamy vanilla custard. I plan on trying this one at home next summer when berries are in season again.
Since the Shrimp Taco was Chad’s favorite at the festival, I knew I had to attempt to make it at home. I used my flour tortilla recipe as the base. I tossed the shrimp in a seasoned batter and fried them until golden. I placed them on the tortilla with a handful of red cabbage, then drizzled them with chipotle mayonnaise and salsa verde. You can use either canned salsa verde or the salsa verde recipe listed in my Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas recipe. Tomatillos weren’t available when I went grocery shopping, so I used canned this time. Don’t forget the lime slices! Chad tried the tacos with and without lime. He said the lime helped bring all the flavors together and gave it a little something extra.