A foodie and wine lovers paradise, the Austin Food and Wine Festival gathers the top chefs in the country to participate in food competitions and cooking demonstrations.
Combine this with live music, countless food samples that make you melt, and the most exquisite wines and spirits and you have one hell of a party.
The festival just completed its second year. Based on this year’s festivities, it is fairly certain that the Austin Food and Wine Festival is here to stay as a long-time staple in the Austin festival scene.
Buick Opens the Door to the Austin Food and Wine Festival
For us, the journey to the Austin Food and Wine Festival began with a night out with the fine folks from Buick. They invited us out to learn more about the latest innovations from their company, and to partake in magnificent food and cocktails provided by Paggi House.
Some of our favorite
bloggers people in Austin joined us at the Buick Paggi House event, including Kristin Sheppard of Mad Betty fame, the adorable Hilah Johnson and partner in crime Christopher Sharpe of Hilah Cooking, the gluten-free maven Rachelle King of Blinded by the Bite, and the incomparable Kay Marley-Dilworth of ATXFoodNews, among many others. It was quite a collection of Austin-area bloggers and social media influencers.
The food was delish, the company fantastic and the night nearly perfect. Buick also graciously provided us with two “Taste Passes” to the Austin Food and Wine Festival.
Talk about knowing how to take care of a customer, right?
What You’ll Experience at the Austin Food and Wine Festival
Upon arriving at the Austin Food and Wine Festival, parking was a bit of a challenge, but not impossible. The garage at the Palmer Events Center was full, so attendees had to find street parking in nearby neighborhoods. In hindsight, had we driven up in a brand new Buick, we probably could’ve parked right in the middle of the action at Buick’s Festival Sponsor tent.
Once we were within the Festival grounds at Butler Park, our senses were immediately assaulted. A mixture of smoking meats and the scent of wine filled the air. All around us, stages were filled with live demonstrations from experts in the food and wine business, mesmerizing audiences with unique flair.
Tim Love, the official chef for Austin City Limits and owner of The Woodshed Smokehouse, The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro and The Love Shack, had the crowd in stitches during his live demonstration. Tim shared some of his culinary secrets, while participants attempted to replicate his mastery of the grill.
To say that Tim had a little fun with the crowd would be an understatement. He ended his demonstration by blindfolding participants and… let’s just say that there were some hefty shots involved.
Everyone was having a blast. After watching the end of Tim’s demonstration, we headed over to the La Condesa Tent. Lamb and pork were being served hot off the spit on fresh tortillas.
La Condesa paired lamb and pork with attendees’ choice of habanero mustard or creme sauce, which added a perfect tangy bite to the mix. Delish!
Immediately following our time with La Condesa, we waited in line for Barley Swine’s offering of pork on a baguette with sauce and veggies and jumbo shrimp. The shrimp was enormous and fresh. The pork was succulent and tender. Barley Swine never seems to leave one wanting.
Only in their second year, the Austin Food and Wine Festival is still working out some of the kinks. The flaw that I noticed this year was that some of the lines in the main area of Butler Park were extremely long and slow for the price point of entry. Don’t let this deter you, though. The Festival is sure to continue to work out these details as they grow. Overall, the event was fantastic.
HEB Grand Tasting Pavilion
After standing in two of these slow-moving lines under the heat of the midday sun, we decided to head over to the shaded HEB Grand Tasting Pavilion. Now that was awesome! 20,000 square feet of shade, food and over 50 of the nation’s finest beverages, along with music provided by DJ Mel.
Simply put, it was one giant party. It doesn’t get much better than sampling from the very best in food and spirits, with the skyline backdrop of Austin.
Check out these photos!
There you have it, folks. Get your tickets for next year early and stay up to date with the Austin Food and Wine Festival on their website.
Have you attended the Austin Food and Wine Festival? What are your thoughts?