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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival
May 10, 2012 @ 12:00 am - May 13, 2012 @ 12:00 am
The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival—May 10 to May 13—may not flaunt a name as droll as Westside’s Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival (July 22) or as catchy as Grant Park’s Corks & Forks (August 25–26). But don’t be misled: Behind the generalist moniker is a powerhouse of programming that elevates the gathering above any of the city’s other yearly gastronomic events. The four-day fete includes nightly dinners, tasting tents, experiential aspects like a food tour of Buford Highway, and—its most distinguishing draw—a slew of educational (but far from dull) seminars that illuminate the history and culture of the culinary South.
For its inaugural run last year, festival cofounders Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter organized 124 classes held at the Loews Atlanta hotel in Midtown. The number felt overwhelming for those of us who couldn’t decide if we wanted to take in a grilling demo, discuss the fine points of bean-to-bar chocolate, or sample bourbon on any given hour. This year Love and Feichter pared the options down to eighty-eight classes over three days, in some cases grouping the finest chefs together to disseminate how restaurant recipes are created, talk shop about hunting and foraging, or demonstrate cooking techniques. There will again be booze galore.
None of this is a bargain: Single tasting tent passes cost $100, one-day passes go for $180, and three-day passes are $500. Connoisseur three-day passes—which include breakfasts; dinners at restaurants like Miller Union, Empire State South, Blackberry Farm, and Rathbun’s; plus access to a special lounge—will set you back a cool $2,000. If all that’s out of your range, JCT Kitchen & Bar will host the Pig Out: Southern Style party, attended by more than seventy chefs (some just mingling, not cooking), for $65 on Friday night.
Last year we ate and drank ourselves senseless but emerged, however glutted and hungover, feeling that this was the start of something special—a blowout event that galvanizes Atlanta as the center of the country’s richest, most delectable regional cuisine. For a city that, until the last five years, all but ignored its culinary heritage, this is no small feat. Event Site