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What’s new for the 2013 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, tickets on sale Thursday

AFWFIn just a few months Atlanta Food & Wine Festival-goers will once again take over Midtown. In its third year, the festival projects a record attendance of about nine thousand this May, quite an increase from the five thousand attendees in 2011.

Founders Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter designed Atlanta Food & Wine Festival to put the national spotlight on the food and beverage traditions of the South and to establish Atlanta as the gateway. To that end, they have created the three-day event composed of learning experiences, tasting experiences and special events.

Each year brings new programming and tweaks to refine the entire experience. Here’s what we can expect this year.

Learning experiences

Expect these to become more interactive with seating at round tables (instead of classroom-style) and some chefs instructing from the audience rather than the stage. Classes will now be an hour in length with a 30-minute intermission between sessions, during which chefs will offer small-bite snacks and tastings on the Loews patio.

Programming will explore the theme “old is new again,” Latin influences and women as the guardians and teachers of Southern recipes.

Technique labs will return with classes on how to make items including marshmallows, macarons, donuts and basic cocktails.

Here are just a few of the many classes in the works (subject to change):

  • David Jones (Eat Buford Highway) – Dim sum Southern brunch
  • Asha Gomez – “This little piggy got spicy”
  • Joe Schafer and Ford Fry – Making bacon
  • Lee Brothers – Frontiers of frying
  • Linton Hopkins/Greg Best – Feed Radio Live
  • Eric Wolitzky – Modernizing Mama’s desserts
  • Tim Gaddis – Aged cheeses
  • Storico Fresco Pasta
  • Muscadine Mystique
  • How to use your CSA box
  • Bitters class
  • Beer & Donuts
  • Women brewing

Tasting Experiences:

There are a few changes in store for the tasting tents this year. The footprint will be expanded, 500 more people accommodated and the layout altered to include beverage pairings within each trail. Here are the trails you can expect to find in the tents this year:

  • Chicken (no longer fried chicken)
  • Pig
  • Lamb
  • Seafood
  • Farm Fresh
  • Southern Snacks
  • Sweets & Sandwiches
  • Southern Wines & Spirits

The trails are a celebration of the flavors of Southern regions around the globe including Southern Europe, South Africa, South America, Southern Hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) and South-of-the-border Mexico.

Dinners and Events:

In its inaugural year, the festival organized a staggering number of dinners around town each evening. Last year fewer dinners were offered and this year the downsizing continues. Expect only a handful of dinners, some of them private.

The JCT Kitchen Pig Out and Rathbun’s Watch List events will remain. For those who went to the JCT event last year, we’re told that they will sell fewer tickets and scatter the food stations throughout the space this time around.

The festival will take place on May 30- June 2. Tickets for the 2013 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival go on sale this Thursday and will offer early-bird pricing until Mar. 18.

Options include:

  • Tasting Tent Pass – $100 per Tasting Tent ticket ($80 – early bird)
  • Day Pass – Three learning experiences and one Tasting Tent. $185 per day ($150 – early bird)
  • Three-Day Pass – Nine learning experiences, three Tasting Tent sessions, ticket to the Pig Out: Tailgate Style party. $500 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday ($400 early bird)
  • Connoisseur Day Pass – VIP experience with a dedicated concierge to assist in planning, three Connoisseur learning experiences (special classes not offered with general admission),* one Tasting Tent session with VIP entrance, one Connoisseur breakfast prepared by an award-winning chef, one evening dinner or event of your choice not including the Blackberry Farm dinner, access to the private Connoisseur Lounge and Connoisseur gift bag. $700 per day ($560 early bird)
  • Connoisseur Three-Day Pass – Includes a personal concierge to assist with the planning of your individualized experience which includes choosing nine Connoisseur learning experiences* and three Tasting Tent sessions with VIP entrance, invitations to three Connoisseur breakfasts, private dinners Thursday and Friday, Blackberry Farm dinner Saturday as well as access to the Connoisseur Lounge. Also includes a Connoisseur gift bag. $2,000 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday ($1,600 early bird)

*Connoisseur ticketholders may choose reserve seating for general classes in lieu of attending Connoisseur Learning Experiences.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog

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