I’m eager to experience this year’s Austin Food & Wine Festival with its lineup of both local and national acclaimed chefs including Amanda Freitag, Aarón Sánchez, Hugh Acheson, Tim Love, Bryce Gilmore, Janina O’Leary and Tyson Cole. Hugh Acheson and six other festival participants are 2017 James Beard award semifinalists, and the rest of the lineup are no hacks. All are wildly inventive chefs who have spun their genius into delicious, delectable delights. (I’m very pleased that more female chefs are on the roster than in recent years, too.)
Tickets for the festival are broken into two categories. The All In option ($625) includes access to both days of the festival, Fire Pit access, and entry to one of Tim Love’s outrageously popular Hands On Grilling Demo, Sunday Gospel Brunch by The Warrior Gospel Band, plus evening events Lone Star Nights on Friday and Rock Your Taco on Saturday. The Weekender Option ($250) omits entry to the Hands on Grilling Demo and evening events.
Unlike other wine and food festivals that I’ve patronized, this is one fest where you will find plenty to eat, and plenty to drink. In addition to wine, the festival showcases craft beer, and liquors. Remember, if you don’t like the way a particular wine, beer or spirit tastes, utilize the spit buckets. Drink responsibly, and have a designated driver or arrange transportation to and from the event. As someone who has unashamedly left my car overnight in downtown in the past, it’s much cheaper to pay for a ride home than risk driving while pleasantly relaxed.
The schedule includes sessions by chefs, sommeliers, and other restaurant industry champions. I’m particularly interested in Saturday’s Beef Lovin’ Texans Best Butcher in Texas Finals on Saturday afternoon. The Fire Pits are always fun, and the chefs serve up samples as they cook. I had some of the tastiest fire roasted carrots one year, from Jack Gilmore, if I recall correctly. Much food, and much fun, all wrapped up into one weekend, and well worth the price of admission.