Food lovers, get ready. Come May, Atlanta will once again serve as Grand Central Station for a network of Southern food and beverage professionals and enthusiasts from Texas to Maryland. Atlanta Food & Wine Festival will return on May 10-13 with a little something for everyone.
Last year’s inaugural event brought nearly six thousand people from 34 states and seven countries to Midtown. More are expected at this year’s festival with new programming focused on the themes of sourcing, Southern heritage, seafood, cocktails and “farm fresh.”
This event is more than just another food-sampling soiree. The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival grants you access to talent from 14 Southern states (plus Washington D.C.) to showcase Southern — not just Atlantan — food and beverage traditions.
The program offers over 80 cooking and cocktail seminars, technique labs and panel discussions led by well-known industry professionals. Learn cast-iron cooking with Marie Nygren and David Guas or how to pair Southern cheese with wine, beer and spirits with Tim Gaddis. Sit in on the Whiskey Roundtable with Derek Bell, Charles Medley, and Julian and Preston Van Winkle. Or, join The Fellowship of Country Ham with Linton Hopkins, Allan Benton and Alon Shaya. The list goes on…
This year, the festival will begin one day earlier with happenings on Thursday, which will mark the opening of the event’s first pop-up restaurant. Each evening the restaurant will feature a different theme and set of chefs. One night you may explore the international influences on the cuisine of New Orleans and on another experience soul food in a new way.
You may recall last year’s Saturday night themed dinners hosted by local restaurants. This time around, a few will be scheduled for each night and themes will include “Tribute to Southern Growers” by Sam Beall and the Blackberry Farm culinary team, Kevin Rathbun’s ten-chefs-to-watch gathering and JCT.Kitchen & Bar’s “Pig Out: Southern Style” barbecue-beer-bourbon party.
Another of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival’s big draws is the ever-popular tasting tent sessions. These will open for three-hour stretches each day. According to the festival’s website, the tents “were designed to lead guests through a culinary exploration of the South, featuring themed tasting ‘trails’ like bourbon, craft beer, farm fresh, seafood, whole pig, southern snacks, favorites from other Southern regions around the globe, and more.” In a notable departure from last year, food trucks will not be included in the lineup.
In the words of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, “The South has never tasted so good!”
Tickets are available now on the event’s website. Early-bird pricing is available through Mar. 31. Pricing is as follows:
Visit the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival’s website for a complete list of learning experiences, events and dinners, planning worksheets, festival map and more.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog