The live music scene in Austin has been making waves across the country for decades. But the emergence of Austin as a destination for culinary delights and wine tasting is a relatively recent phenomenon.
A sign of this new cultural distinction was the decision by FOOD & WINE magazine to team up with the Austin Food & Wine Alliance to launch one of the magazine’s signature festivals in the area. Now in its third year, the FOOD & Wine Festival has garnered an all-star collection of chefs to dazzle the crowd at more than 40 events on April 25, 26, and 27 at Austin’s Butler Park. Regardless of whether you live hours away and are traveling to Austin, or you live in an apartment in downtown Austin close to all the action, this guide can help you make the best out of the fest.
If you have passed countless hours watching Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray slice, dice, and spice their favorite dishes on The Food Network, the hands-on cooking demonstrations at Austin’s FOOD & WINE Festival will not disappoint. Fancy grills, fire cooking pits, and state-of-the-art blenders will enable chefs and bartenders to whip up their delicacies with ease. If you love the signature dishes at restaurants whose chefs are leading demos at the event, you may even get to watch one or two of your favorite meals prepared live.
With six tents dedicated to educational seminars, dozens of engaging lessons concerning food and wine will be held on April 26 and 27. Taking the stage will be celebrity culinary experts Rick Bayless, Georgia Pellegrini, and Andrew Zimmern. Lessons range from the art of pickling to pairing wine with food to finding the perfect music to listen to while you cook.
Tasting food and wine are only two components of the festival, but for many spectators they constitute the main event. With more than 20,000 square feet of space, 50 carefully selected beverage choices, and food prepared by dozens of world-class chefs, the H-E-B Grand Tasting Pavillion should not disappoint. The tent will be open to Savor Pass holders at 11 AM on both April 26 and April 27, and to all pass holders starting at noon on both days.
In addition to these general tastings, Savor Pass holders will be able to eat to their hearts’ content at the Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco events. Feast Under the Stars is a special prelude event at which five of Texas’s most celebrated chefs will prepare a five-course meal paired with fine wines and cocktails.
As can be said for most major cultural events in Austin, the 3rd Annual FOOD & WINE Festival could hardly be a success without music. This year will boast some of the finest local talent as well as some big outsider acts. Escort, a modern-day disco band, will perform at the Taste of Texas. Austin legend DJ Mel and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, a Chicago-based quintet, will also entertain the crowd.
As one of the top culinary festivals in the country, this event has little difficulty attracting top chefs, brewers, and sommeliers from around the state. Your sure to find some food and wine to satisfy your palate as you indulge in a culinary experience unlike any other.
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