Now in its third year, our city's most ambitious culinary event, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (AFWF) will be held May 30 through June 2. Ticket pre-sales begin tomorrow.
Although the theme of the event is always the South, each year focuses on a different angle of Southern food and drink culture. “The first year of the festival, we tried to cast a broad perspective on the South, using quintessential southern ingredients and dishes like barbecue, fried chicken, bourbon, and pork," says Dominique Love, AFWF CEO and co-founder. "In year two, we went deeper into Southern culture—hunting, gathering, foraging, and wild game, sustainable seafood, and the cocktail culture in the South. This year, we’re going even deeper, focusing on the role of women in the South as keepers of tradition, also and going into our Latin roots and influences.”
She said there will be an expanded focus on audience engagement during classes and demonstrations, and a bigger emphasis on events this year. “When we started doing dinner events in year one, there was a specialness with having out-of-town chefs come in and cook with local chefs in their restaurants,” she said. “But now we see those happen throughout the year fairly regularly. So we are trying to make sure everything that happens in the classroom is complemented by a tasting or event.”
What to expect from the 2013 AFWF:
• Linton Hopkins and Greg Best will broadcast their radio show live complete with guest speakers, cocktail creation, and more.
• Kevin Rathbun and his brother Kent will host a grilling demonstration. They will also have a Rathbun Watch List party, where they will have about 12 rising chefs from across the region and two rising mixologists create dishes for everyone to enjoy.
• Similarly, New Orleans chef John Besh will be moderating a panel of “next great chefs,” allowing them to showcase their food and talk about their cooking philosophies.
• The annual Pig Out event will be themed tailgate style. Held at JCT Kitchen, it will feature six to eight chefs, including Ford Fry and Joe Schafer, cooking their favorite Southern tailgate food in a “moveable feast” accompanied by cocktails.
• Twenty-two chefs, including Anne Quatrano, Kristen Hard, Linton Hopkins and Sean Brock, will contribute to the About South event at the Atlanta History Center.
• The second annual Blackberry Farm dinner, toted as a tribute to Southern growers, will take place in a private home the Saturday evening of the festival.
• There will be daily tasting tents, each focusing on a different “tasting trail” (chicken, pig, lamb, seafood, farm fresh, southern snacks, sweets and sandwiches, and southern wine and spirits), and curated by chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists using their favorite recipes.
For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.atlfoodandwinefestival.com.