Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2014

Chat Chow TV got a chance to enjoy all things “Southern” at the 4th Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. It was our first time at the festival and oh what an experience it was. The festival began in 2011 on a mission to highlight the food and beverage traditions of the Southern region of the U.S. from Texas to D.C. and everything in between.atl-8 The creme de la creme of Southern cuisine was on hand at the four-day long festival including James Beard award-winning chefs, mixologists, legendary beverage distillers, Master Sommeliers, barbecue pitmasters, and local growers.
The festival was divided into two parts. The first half of the day was filled with demonstrations and learning experiences at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. More than 100 different classes, demos and technique labs were offered over the weekend ranging from classes like the Colonial South to Florida’s Cracker Cuisine to Juleps of the Late 1700s to highlighting the Asian influences in the region.
Miami chefs got into the action too. On hand during the festival was Jose Mendin and Andreas Schreiner of the Pubbelly Group teaching guests in the VIP Connoisseur lounge all about their cuisine and eclectic backgrounds. MC Kitchen’s Dena Marino taught guests how to prepare her fresh Italian cuisine during her “Leap of Faith” panel, and Sugarcane and Bocce Bar’s Timon Balloo partnered up with Louisiana’s Mike Gulotta to discuss international influence on modern Southern cuisine.
The second part of the day during the festival was the Tasting Tents. The tents were made up of a series of “tasting trails” like barbecue, bourbon, Southern grown, seafood, and wines and spirits to highlight the best flavors of the region. This year’s festival included more than 11 tasting trails, 100 exhibitors and a rotating line-up of chefs during its three days.
There wasn’t a bad bite in the house but some of our highlights included pimento cheese from Seven Lamps, bourbon filled ice cream from the Ice Cream Bar, and every doughnut we could get our hands on from Revolution Doughnuts and Coffee. Our favorite bite of the festival came from South Carolina’s One Hot Mama’s who served up a deep fried, smoked chicken wing with a sweet siracha glaze and bacon cornbread. That dish alone is worth the visit to South Carolina.
atl-1Florida chefs represented at the tasting tents as well. Miami’s own Jeremy Ford from 15 Steps inside the Eden Roc Hotel served a poached Florida wahoo dish while Orlando’s 4Rivers created some barbecue that they have built their reputation on. atl-9
And it isn’t a food and wine festival in the South with out plenty of bourbon and moonshine. We got to sip and sample some of the best the region has to offer such as Angel’s Envy and Four Roses Bourbon, Georgia’s own Dawsonville Moonshine Distillery, and even ran into our friend Hillary Choo representing St-Germain cocktails. atl-5The wonderful Southern food and drink and even better Southern hospitality made us sad to see the weekend end. But we had a great time there and sharing tales of our Atlanta adventures with all of our South Florida friends and can’t wait for next year’s festival.

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