Tag: tasting tents

5 Best Flavors from the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2017

Every year the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival offers the best from the Southeastern culinary scene. This year I was credentialed media. So beyond the renown tasting tents, I was able to attend some of the educational experiences and VIP parties. Between the Thursday preview event, the Friday kick off and the Saturday classes– here are the five best things I tasted at the 2017 at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

1 Smoked Gator by Chef Kenny Gilbert
Kenny Gilbert is probably best known as a contestant on Top Chef. As the owner of two southern restaurants in Jacksonville, FL, he knows how to adapt Floridian ingredients into southern traditions. He talked us through his process of procuring a farm raised gator, brining it, seasoning it and finally smoking it. Talk about slow cooking! The result was one of the tenderest, juiciest meats I’ve ever eaten. Gator has a reputation for being chewy, but when done right, as Chef Kenny Gilbert proved, it will fall off the bone.

2 Rivulet Pecan Liqueur
The world is accustomed to other nut based liqueurs. But being a Georgia girl, I have deep love for the pecan. Enter Rivulet Pecan Liqueur. I remember while growing up, my aunt had a tree in her yard. Not so fun to pick them up when they fell, but totally worth it when she made a pecan pie! Rivulet is reminiscent of that joy. The owner of the company actually attended the tasting tents and gave me the rundown about how many different types of pecans there are (20 in Georgia). I can honestly say that I will definitely be supporting this brand. I can’t wait to try it with a cola and/or a bourbon. So delicious. 

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3 Red Velvet Cupcake from Sugaree’s Bakery
I am really hard on red velvet cake. For me, it must be dense, not light and airy. It must be dark red, not pink. It must be moist and buttery. And the icing must be creamy and heavy, preferably with nuts, NOT whipped. Sugarees delivered on all of these things. I cannot tell you how I nearly melted when I bit into the cupcake. They were generous enough to give me a case. Sadly, I decided to share them rather than eat a whole dozen. I will definitely be ordering from them as they ship nationwide.

sugarees bakery red velvet

4 Spicy Coconut Wahoo from the US Virgin Islands
All throughout the tasting tents, I could hear steel drum music and see a woman towering above everyone while dancing on stilts. I finally made my way over the U.S. Virgin Islands tent, which was a cool lounge area with, as it turns out, a live steel drum player accompanied by an instrumental calypso track.  Of course, they served food and drinks. Wahoo is one of my favorite flaky white fishes, it was served with a light coconut broth and fresh peppers. It had the perfect amount of heat and the right balance of sweet. I washed it down with cruzan rum. The whole experience made me want to go to the Caribbean.

 

5 Arkansas Bourbon Bread Pudding by Chef Scott Rains
At the preview event, Chef Scott Rains served a bread pudding. While sharing my experience live on facebook for my friends, I walked past the table with all the Arkansas chefs and restaurants. I was reading the sign when this attractive tall man said to me “you know you want it”. I burst out laughing and made my way back to him after my video ended. Seriously. This man knows how to make a bread pudding! I think I got the last one. The next day, I went to a breakfast hosted by the Arkansas CVB, here again Chef Scott Rains was serving the famous bread pudding. I should have had a second serving that day. I got a selfie with him instead, which has managed to disappear. Damn.

 

Food & Wine Festival 2017| Pre Event Prep

Your first time at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tasting tents can seem a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for and maximize your time!

Atlanta Food Wine Festival 2017I’m super excited to be attending my third Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, June 1-4, 2017. My first time attending, I was not at all prepared for what I experienced. After picking up my tickets, I walked to the tasting tents, but then the 30% chance of rain turned into a torrential, monsoon, downpour and deluge! It got so bad that those of us waiting to get onto the festival grounds were scuttled into a nearby garage to wait it out. There were already people inside the tasting tents– also waiting out the rain, but with very delicious food. To add insult to injury, my fresh twist out was ruined (it had turned into a completely frizzy afro) and my makeup was basically steamed off and melting down my face. Plus, my feet were soaked. It was a mess. But once we got inside, it got better. I was surrounded by food and drinks, but I had no idea how to get to it all. I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned over the last two years.

Tasting Tents:

  1. Wear Comfortable shoes. Don’t just wear cute flats, wear COMFORTABLE shoes that you feel good about standing in for hours. There aren’t many tables and even fewer seats. In fact, dress comfortably in general. Check the weather and make sure you’re prepared.
  2. Bring a tote, sling bag or a small drawstring backpack with some essentials:
    1. small umbrella (just in case of rain)
    2. a hand towel (for sweat or to dry rain)
    3. wipes (for your hands)
    4. sunglasses or hat, whatever you need to be comfortable in the sun
    5. An empty water bottle– you’ll be able to refill it while you’re there and there will be plenty of other things to drink.
    6. Wine lanyard– google it and buy it on amazon. (see the link below)
  3. Hydrate in the week before. Don’t just drink water the day of or the day before. Proper hydration will keep you from having to stop and use the restroom every five minutes. The restrooms are usually the nice modular units and the line generally moves quickly, but who wants to use a public restroom over and over?
  4. Take an Uber or cab to and from the festival if possible. If you live far outside the city: park at your nearest Marta station, take the train to the station nearest the festival and take an Uber to the festival grounds. You don’t want to be caught in garage traffic or get a DWI.
  5. Make a plan: Look ahead to see if there are restaurants and restaurateurs that you want to check out.
  6. Don’t drink all the alcohol first. Mix it up. Eat then drink and repeat. Its easy to want to taste all the 

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