UPDATE: The VIP All-In and Single Day tickets are sold out.
Get ’em while they’re hot! Tickets have been released for the November 4-6, 2022 Austin Food & Wine Festival. New this year is the ability to buy single day tickets ($165), a perfect opportunity for those who are unable to attend the full weekend. This season also sees the debut of luxury VIP All-In with a dedicated lounge with seating and air conditioned restrooms, earlier entrance time and dedicated entry lane into the fest along with access to the Friday evening Wurst Weekend Kickoff and Saturday evening Rock Your Taco events. ($725). Other ticket options include the All-In ($625) with access to Wurst Weekend Kickoff and Rock Your Taco included, and the Weekender ($250) which grants entrance into both days of the festival but doesn’t include evening events.
I’m intrigued with the Wurst Weekend Kickoff, which replaced Grillin’ & Chillin’, the chef-guided hands-on dinner party. It’s billed as a Bavarian-styled evening, with beers and brats, and bound to be just as lively as Grillin & Chillin, with less actual work on the part of the attendee. Is it too much to hope for a live oompah band? Break out your lederhosen and dirndls!
The festival will release its talent line up soon, but as someone who has attended religiously, let me say that the cooking demos, tasting sessions, Fire Pit offerings, and nibbles and sips from the many top wine, beer and spirit makers are well worth the ticket price. Additionally, Austin Food & Wine Festival historically highlights local restaurants that are close to opening but haven’t yet begun service, thus giving attendees a first, exclusive taste of the menu to come. It’s also a fantastic way to sample fine dining restaurants without paying for an entire meal, especially from establishments you’d deem “special occasion” spots solely due to the price. Who doesn’t want to know that the quality and execution of their food is worth it, without first dropping bank on a meal? At the Austin Food & Wine Festival, you have the opportunity to try (and try again, if you find it delectable) the restaurant’s “come hither” delicacy, the bite that they’re serving up to both impress and beguile you into becoming a regular patron of their dining room.
One of my favorite offerings from the festival is the tasting sessions, and meet the maker opportunities. I’ll admit to fangirling out over chefs and winemakers, but also deeply appreciate hearing their stories, insight and guidance. The festival has a celebratory atmosphere but the education is not to be brushed aside, as you have the expert directly in front of you, and even the most “formal” tasting sessions (as formal as you can be, in a tent at an outdoor festival) often include a Q&A.
The grand tasting in the central area of the festival always garners the most attention, but the Fire Pits are a close second for fan favorite. Chefs use all manner of cooking with live fire methods to produce carnivorous, pescatarian, and vegetarian fare. Yes, these pits will have lines as the crowd gathers, but they generally move quickly, and you are guaranteed a tasty tidbit while being able to watch the chefs tend to the flames and food.
Please note the hours of the festival will be from 1:30pm – 5:30pm on Saturday and Sunday (gates at 1pm; VIP All-In gates at 12:30pm). Always a sell out, buy your tickets now. Follow the festival in social media channels using their hashtag #AFWFest.