Category: Culinary News

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Preview 2016

by Christopher A. Daniel (@journalistorian)

Dominique Love (left) and Elizabeth Feichter (right) photo courtesy of Robin Lori
Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

In anticipation of Atlanta Food and Wine Festival (#AFWF16) this coming Jun. 2-5, creators Elizabeth Feichter and Dominique Love recently hosted an intimate preview at their lofty headquarters in West Midtown.

The intimate lunch, titled “BBQ & Sound Bites,” gave a few of us foodies and cuisine enthusiasts a glimpse into the four- day, sixth annual epicurean extravaganza that celebrates the tasty, mouth-watering dishes and specialty cocktails from below the Mason-Dixon Line. Our meal was originally set to take place in Piedmont Park’s secluded, immensely green and flat Promenade area, where the festival has migrated to from its original Midtown location sandwiched between 12th and 13th Streets.

We’ve run out of space in Midtown unfortunately,” warns a sanguine Feichter. “We try to stay urban, leaving everything within walking distance. This space allows us to be a little more private. It’s a beautiful space.”

Unfortunately, inclement weather warnings prevented us from experiencing that ambiance. Feichter and Love were still welcoming and buoyant enough to host us all indoors, encouraging us to close our eyes and use our imaginations about dining on the turf. “We wish that this was the park,” Love told us during the presentation. “We were so excited to finally take the event somewhere other than our office.”

photo courtesy of Robin Loro
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

Lunch was quite savory and delectable. We were all seated around a U-shaped table facing both Feichter and Love. The bar area featured a variety of local, bottled craft beers and some refreshing spiked lemonade with moonshine (I lost count after glass number four), fresh basil and blackberries (yum). Fox Bros. BBQ catered an immaculate spread: whipping up some incredible bleu cheese potato salad with bacon, moist roasted turkey sliders on sesame seed buns topped with cheese and arugula (licks fingers) and Frito pies topped with shredded cheddar cheese, red onions and brisket chili.

Feichter and Love, who originally teamed up a decade ago to manage a consulting firm for nonprofit and philanthropic giving, reiterated over two hours how delighted they are about #AFWF16 despite having to revise the event annually. “Each year it is as much a labor as love,” confirms Love. “We’re so excited to share with you the next chapters of this event. We have a big job, to shine an international spotlight on the rich food and beverage traditions of the South.”

Against a back wall adjacent to our tables was a color-coded tile of the festival’s events. Feichter’s and Love’s staff listed and described the variation of tasting experiences, seminars, dinners, brunches, panel discussions, classes and cooking demonstrations taking place. “This is not about Atlanta. This is about the South,” stresses Feichter, “and how do we tell that story in a unique way every single year.”

“We’re a little bit festival but also part conference,” Feichter continues. We’re a lot of things, but we always want to find a way to push the festival forward.” Feichter and Love initially formed #AFWF16 after traveling to the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen and immediately noticing the foodie culture’s excitement and sense of community.

This year, Friday’s events will begin later in the day. Classes will primarily take place between Friday and Saturday, so that there is more focus on Sunday’s brunch. #AFWF16 is also making history, hosting the country’s very first pop-up vineyard. The vineyard will also premiere various arts events from Jun. 1-30, performances every Tuesdays and Thursdays.

photo courtesy of Robin Lori
photo courtesy of Robin Lori

Additionally, subsequent themes to be discussed throughout #AFWF16 include ingredients, poor man’s food, immigrant influences, vegetables, state-to-state traditions (or “road trips”) and tequila v. bourbon. The challenge every year Feichter and Love face is ensuring the talent in attendance can expose everyone to something new.

The ladies even encouraged us to be the “megaphone” for sharing our stories and experiences about the annual affair. “Food of place is important to defining who we are as people and as a group,” stresses Love.

“Doing this is telling the story of what’s going on in the South, and what’s going on is really tasty. It’s really exciting. It’s really innovative. It’s really something special to so many of us, and we want Atlanta to be the host and gateway for this.”

 

Christopher A. Daniel is an Atlanta-based journalist, cultural critic, historian, ethnomusicologist, and public intellectual. His work is primarily published digitally on The Burton Wire, where he is site’s music and pop culture editor. He’s also a frequent contributor to Albumism.com and soulhead.com. His work and passion for diversity and multiculturalism have been recognized by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and NewsOne.com. Christopher was also awarded a Community Journalism Fellowship for the U.S. Consulate’s Office of Rio de Janeiro, where he traveled to Salvador, Bahia.

Pasta Chips… Italian-style Snacks on-the-go

past chips

If you’ve been following Dine With Dani over the years– you’re probably aware that I love Italian food. Its something about those specific combinations of flavors that gets my inner glutton completely giddy.
When I heard about the NEW snack food Pasta Chips, I was really excited. I got a box in the mail with four different flavors to try. Marinara, Alfredo, Garlic Olive Oil and Mediterranean Sea Salt. I put tasting them on hold for travel to Orlando (more videos to come), but when I finally opened them– I was pleasantly surprised. I wished I had taken them on the road trip with family.

 

For me, Pasta Chips are more like crackers. The texture is thick and they crunch more than crisp– if that makes sense. Each bag makes a suggestion for how to serve them. Suggestions include eating with cheese, with sliced veggies, with mini meatballs, etc. But truthfully, its pretty much everything I can do to NOT eat them directly from the bag!

 

PastaChips-NewRenders-GOOI think these may be my new go-to for parties and platters. My favorite flavors are the Marinara and the Garlic Olive Oil. I’m looking forward to trying the spicy tomato. They really do taste like pasta with sauce! And when served with charcuterie, they become magical. See for yourself! They are now available at all major grocers.

 

QUICK FACTS:

  • Made with All Natural ingredients – Premium Semolina Flour and Farro
  • Oven Baked – Thin and Crispy
  • 120 Calories and 20% less fat then leading pita chip brands
  • No Cholesterol
  • Kosher Certified

 

Ugly Fruits and Veggies Find Love in France

I am guilty of skipping over the ugly fruits and veggies at my local grocer and farmers market. But I never thought about the amount of food waste that creates. French super markets have found a solution for this problem! It eliminates waste AND save families money in the process. Check out the video below! Maybe the U.S. should take a queue from the French on this one!

 

Be First to Dine at The Lawrence… Jan 19 & 20

My dear friend #TwitterlessHarvey is seeing one dream come true and I’m happy to support this new venture. You may have seen write-ups on other dining websites and local magazines. And now you have a chance to be among the first to dine at what is sure to be one of Atlanta’s most popular restaurants…. Check out the info below and visit www.TheLawrenceAtlanta.com… Enjoy

 

Dinner Party at The Lawrence

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