Last weekend I took a break from blogging and recipe development and headed down to Austin, Texas to sample some amazing food and wine at the Austin Food + Wine Festival. Food and Wine magazine hosts a series of these events annually, and they are a huge draw to foodies and wine enthusiasts. The festival itself was two afternoons of amazing food and wine tastings, combined with cooking demonstrations and wine education. There are also some "extra" events that are held during the evenings.
When we first walked into the fest, we got a glass for wine, which provided for unlimited tastings - always a good thing in my book! Our first stop, was of course, to get some wine. For our first tasting we picked Braman Winery, which is a local Texas vineyard. After that we moved on to Trefethen Family Vineyards, where I was convinced to sample their dry Riesling. For the most part I don't care for overly sweet wines, and am generally not a Riesling fan, so I was skeptical. I was assured I would not be disappointed - I definitely was not! The Riesling had a nice balance; it was slightly sweet, not too dry, with some citrus notes. I'd call it a perfect summer patio wine and will definitely be ordering a few bottles to add to my collection!
Kitchen Aid was an event sponsor and it was fun to check out their latest appliances. This colorful display left me wanting a new mixer or blender!
The cooking demos combined education with fun and humor from some very well know chefs. I thought the most entertaining was a mystery cook-off between Andrew Zimmerman and Graham Elliott. We didn't stay for the final outcome, however the two dressed in Mexican wrestling costumes were as much fun as actually getting to watch them cook!
Sunday we started our day off with some wine education by Nate Weis of Sliver Oak Vineyards, where we got to taste one of their amazing 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon's. This was followed by a quick trip over to their tasting station for some Twomey Cellars (sister vineyard) Pinot Noir, which has always been one of my favorites.
We also got to taste some fabulous margaritas created by the team at Tippling Bros. Tippling Bros. is the team of Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci from NY. They do a lot of fun things involving cocktails!
After seeing long lines on Saturday, we decided we had to stop at the La Barbecue tasting station. This was definitely one of my favorite food tastings; perfectly cooked brisket on a plantain chip topped with a pepper for a little spice. It was definitely worth the wait!
While we did not attend Tim Love's hands-on grilling demo, watching was fun, with the sky filling with smoke as the participants fired their steak on the grills. I would definitely consider this a "must do" for next time.
Overall, it is a really fun event, and Austin is such a fun town. Something I’d highly recommend attending.
Just before I left for Austin I learned that this year will the inaugural event for Chicago Food + Wine, so I'm looking forward to checking it out this summer!