Friday, May 24, 2013

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival - May 30 - June 2, 2013

In just it's third year, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is already the highlight of the annual events calendar for the entire Southeast! And now it's right around the corner again, running May 30-June 2 in Midtown. Whether you're a high roller looking to splash out for the entire weekend experience or just looking to dabble, there's something for food and wine lovers of all varieties.

There are three major buckets of activities: Dinners/Events, Learning Experiences and Tasting Tents. Many of the dinners/events are already sold out. Sorry, you snooze you lose with an event this popular! Fortunately  you can still snag tickets to the Pig Out Tailgate Style Party at JCT on Thursday, the Friday night after-party "Keep the Flavors Flowing" at 12th and Midtown, and the Blackberry Farm Tribute to Southern Farmers at Bobo Intriguing Objects. Get all the details on these events here.
A dish from Kyma, the host of one of last year's dinners at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
Day Passes ($185) get you access to the day's learning experiences as well as the Tasting Tents. Or really go for it, and get a Connoisseur Day Pass ($700) which also gets you a special breakfast, the Blackberry Farm dinner, and other VIP perks. New this year, you can also buy a ticket to an individual learning experience if you prefer. Check out the full festival schedule here.

The Brothers Rathbun at last year's Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Learning experiences include tasting seminars, panel discussions and demos.Want to learn more about the ramos gin fiz, rum or Australian wines? Each has an individual session on just Friday alone. And the talent participating in these sessions is fierce. You can learn about food and beer pairings from Art Smith, spicy pork from Asha Gomez, the frontiers of frying from the Lee Brothers, shrimp from NC's award winning Andrea Reusing or see a panel on the next wave of chef talent moderated by renowned New Orleans chef John Besh. The hardest part is figuring out which of the awesome topics you want to go to during the three sessions a day. I'm going Friday, and I'm torn...Southern Sippers or Unusual Suspects? A marshmallow, macaroon and doughnut technique lab or a session about spumante? It's an embarrassment of food nerd riches!

Leon's Miles Macquarrie at a cocktail learning experience at the 2012 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
If you want to skip straight to the Tasting Tents, where you can enjoy pathways such as Barbecue, Bourbon, Southern Sandwiches and Sweets and Breads, you can buy tickets for $100. The list of participants is pretty epic, so I'm psyched to hit the tents on Friday. Last year despite the gloomy weather, I had an awesome time and ate to my heart's content. Unlike a lot of food events, these tents aren't overcrowded, so I never waited in line, and I don't recall encountering any booths that had run out of food or drink.

The tasting tents at the 2012 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
We're lucky to have a food and wine festival of this scale in our own backyard. It starts next week so get your tickets now!



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