A Festival of Food and Flavor
Gourmands focus their attention on our little corner of the culinary world for four days each spring during the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. Chefs from around the world come to show off their skills, share their knowledge and let Texans sample the very best of modern cuisine. Each year offers new food and wine pairings, educational lectures with plenty of tastings, luncheons among the wildflowers, dinners under (and with) the stars, and enough fine food to please even the crankiest critic. Plenty of celebri-chefs and events will be featured this year, so buy your tickets early and get ready to tuck in your napkin. We’ll see you there.
Flavors as Big as Texas
Texas cuisine is a blend of regional histories: the bold, complex spiciness of Mexican dishes, the deep-fried, butter-laden comfort foods of the South and the hearty campfire food that sustained cowboys on the long, dusty trail. Modern chefs have blended these influences into an audacious, sophisticated fare that is uniquely Texas. It’s this unusual mix that brings the doyens of dining to Austin each year for the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. More than 9,000 foodies get the chance to sample the best of nationally-recognized chefs at more than two dozen events scattered around the city. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn about the culinary craft, watch the experts in action, and discover the best ways to pair food and drink.
The Emergence of A Culinary Destination
Texas had a bit of a struggle finding it’s way onto the gastronomic radar. The thriving Texas wine industry was swiftly ended by Prohibition, and didn’t begin to revive until the 1970’s. In the mid 1980‘s, Ed and Susan Auler, founders of Fall Creek Vineyards, decided that what Texas really needed was an opportunity for folks to see what our vintners and chefs could cook up, and in 1986 the first Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival was held.
Each year this celebration of all things culinary has brought an ever-expanding roster of the finest palates to the heart of Texas. Big-name chefs, conscientious critics and celebrities of every stripe come together to taste the best of our area and learn about the rich traditions that invest Texas cuisine.
Stargaze as you Graze
This year, the stars will be big and bright (and not just the ones in the sky at night). Chefs Jonathan Gelman of the Driskill Hotel, Tyson Cole and Paul Qui of Uchi and Uchiko, David Bull of Congress and Josh Watkins of The Carillon will more than ably represent the Austin area. Casey Thompson of the hit TV show Top Chef will return to Texas; she began her career at the famed Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas.
Chef Andy Ricker of Portland will bring us a taste of the food and culture of Thailand, while Chef Andrew Dwyer will come from Australia to demonstrate the art of cooking with fire. Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, hosts of their own Food Network show, 2 Dudes Catering, will be serving a sumptuous dinner under the stars of the Central Texas sky. And if that’s not enough stars for you, join Kyle MacLachlan (Dune, Sex & The City, Blue Velvet, Desperate Housewives, Twin Peaks) as he introduces a new vintage from his own winery, Pursued by Bear.
Beautiful Surroundings for Beautiful Food
The Festival guest list is a who’s who of the culinary elite, and it’s accompanied by a where’s where of the most intriguing locations in our ever-expanding city. Events will be held at the finest four-star restaurants in the Austin area, including The Driskill Hotel, Aquarelle Restaurant Français, III Forks, Ruth’s Chris and Uchiko. Wineries will be hosting tastings and meals in the surrounding countryside, and you’ll be able to sample great wines from local vintners including Fall Creek Winery, Stone House Vineyard and Becker Vineyards. Events will be held in locations that take full advantage of the beauty of the Hill Country at this time of year. You’ll feed your belly and your soul at the Long Center, TDS Exotic Game Ranch, the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center and the Mexican American Cultural Center.
The Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival is the highlight of the culinary year in Texas. Even if you can only attend one event this year, you — and your palate — will be glad you did.