Saturday morning at the ATLANTA FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL and my first of three classes (all involving alcohol in some form) started at 10 am. Hindsight being 20-20 I should have had breakfast before classes began. African American Cocktail Legends class was led by Tiffanie Barriere from One Flew South, Chuck Reece (editor of “The Bitter Southerner”) and Dave Wondrich (author of 5 books and James Beard award winner). They started the day off with a punch..literally, they handed each guest a glass of Quoit Club Punch (here’s a link to Dave Wondrich’s recipe) as we entered the room. We also had a glass of Tiffanie’s Bayou Sour with Bourbon, Peychaud’s bitters and lemon, it was fantastic.
The second class of the day was “The Art of Pairing Sweet and Savory with Chef Kevin Outzs and Advanced sommelier Julie Dalton. The class started more than half an hour late which put me into a bit of a bad mood. Chef Outzs’ creations were well worth the wait. His eggless egg dish was a delicious work of art. There were 3 courses in all unless you include the whole kumquat we started with to invigorate our palates.
This was by far the most complex and detailed food I experienced during the entire festival. One dish even had HAM FAT MUSTARD, amazing!
Each course was paired with a sweet wine. Julie paired Riunite Lambrusco with chef Outzs’ prosciutto and it was MAGIC! I’ve turned my nose up to that wine when I passed it in the grocery store but no more. The sweet fruity-ness made me want to eat more salty, delicious prosciutto.
My third class, Whiskey, Wine and Wild Game, started 15 minutes late and when a class is only 1 hour long these delays make a huge difference. Presenters Craig Collins and Andrew Curren shared several delicious game dishes and lots of wine, beer, cocktails and whiskey.
The smoked oyster relish they served was delicious but the wild boar rillettes were AMAZING, it was one of the most delicious dishes I sampled all weekend. They also served a duck Summer sausage to blow your mind.
How many drinks was that?…I’ve lost count. So now it’s time to walk over to the Tasting Tents and of course I went in the entirely wrong direction. Yes, I did just go there the day before but there you have it. I got a little turned around but I used the map on the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival app and I (eventually) made my way over to the tents.
The Tasting Tents were SUPER CROWDED on Saturday. I mean wall to wall (if the tents had walls) and shoulder to shoulder. It was quite difficult to move about and there was no place to stop and eat once you got your food. Once outside the tents you were out in the hot sun with no relief in sight. Fortunately there were water stations and a few fans to catch a breeze. Those with a connoisseur pass had access to a separate tent with additional seating. I’m glad I went back to the tasting tents on Saturday, some of the restaurants were different from the ones I sampled on Friday. I finally got a taste of Revolution Doughnuts
I missed them on Friday due to poor planning on my part. Their Peach Donut Sliders are to DIE for, one of the highlights of the festival. Thanks to my blogging buddy Bella Vivere for allowing me to use her Instagram picture
There are a TON of spirits at the festival, not the ghostly kind, I’m talkin’ about booze. Lots and LOTS of BOOZE. More spirits than wine, I think, but I’m not mad at that. I’m a bourbon lover and they had one of my favorites, Angel’s Envy. Four Roses, a bronze level festival sponsor, had a huge presence at the festival. Their bourbon is delicious neat but also fantastic in the boozy punch they served in the tasting tents. Tito’s Vodka, also a bronze level sponsor, had a few tasty concoctions as well. My favorite new drink…well, new to me, was Georgia made Southern Corn Whiskey from Thirteenth Colony Distilleries.
Smooth and a bit sweet (but not too sweet) from the corn and no burn. That was some gooood stuff and I can not wait to get more of it. They have bourbon, gin, rye and vodka in their line as well…something for everyone.
I was exhausted after this full day of eating and drinking (and getting lost) so I took Uber back to the hotel and took a nap.
At 7:30 that evening I went to the Discover South Carolina party held on the 14th floor terrace at Loews Atlanta. The party was FABULOUS! Great food, great music, great drinks, great people. There were three musicians in the band and I apologize for not getting all of their names but I do remember singer/guitarist Francisco Vidal, who sings like an angel. All three were fantastic and I thank them for singing some Al Green for me.
All of the food and drink were from venues located in South Carolina including my hands down favorite restaurant, Charleston’s -The Grocery. Chef Kevin Johnson made fantastic lamb ribs for us that night and they did not disappoint.
Chef Frank Lee of Maverick Southern Kitchens made the most delicious stuffed crab.
He was kind enough to chat with me for a bit and share a little of his wisdom. We talked about his respect for all those chefs that start and run their own restaurants as well as his wariness of some of the things we see on television. There’s a LOT of junk out there folks, don’t believe everything you see on these food tv shows.
Chef Brandon Velie from Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, SC made a delicious dish of Shrimp, Sausage, Okra & Tomato with Grits, BBQ Braised Chicken, Pimento Mac and Cheese, Flashed Fried Collard Greens, Biscuits and Blueberry Honey Butter WHEW! That was a mouth full, literally!
Caroline’s cakes served up slices of sweet goodness including a wonderfully moist and flavorful coconut cake.
And The Cocktail Bandits served up a couple of cocktails including “The Charleston Place” with Firefly sweet tea vodka, Blenheim spicy ginger beer, lemon juice, Tippleman’s Lemon Oleo Saccharum (a lemon oil syrup) and a Palmetto Rose for garnish, BEAUTIFUL.
Many more fantastic chefs made this a wonderful party. I headed back to my room exhausted, all that fun is a lot of work. I had to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow we BRUNCH! READ MORE>>>READ MORE>>>