I am an avid reader of Food and Wine Magazine and during the last weekend in May, it was as if the best articles from the publication leaped off the pages and came to life in my hometown during the 4th Annual Atlanta Food &Wine Festival. The festival comprised three magical days of all things food and beverage from interactive classes to three massive tents packed with the sumptuous food from all over the south. Not to mention the wine, beer, moonshine, bourbon, vodka and everything in between that seemed to be in endless supply. It didn’t take long for me to forget all about the brutal summer heat.
We started the day by taking a series of classes to improve our overall knowledge of food and cooking skills. The class I enjoyed the most was “The Brothers Grill” hosted by Kent and Kevin Rathbun. Kevin, the successful Atlanta chief and restaurateur ( Kevin Rathbun Steak, Krog Bar, Rathbun’s and the KR Steak) and his older brother who is a talented chief and Texas restaurateur (Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, Abacus and Jasper”s) served up the goods. The pair made grilling the perfect piece of meat and brotherhood look effortless! Kevin and Kent shared tips and tricks and dished up lots hearty laughs along with Kent’s baked potato salad and pork tenderloin and Kevin’s salmon with baked corn mash.
The tasting tents opened in the mid-afternoon and we ate and ate until we could eat no more. There were so many things to explore in the tasting area. The tents were set up according to rough categorizations. BBQ tents welcomed festival goers at the entrance. As we ventured further we faced a fork in the culinary trail: do we bear left to the Coca-Cola tent for an ice cream float and then on to the largest tasting tent? Or do we bear right and start with the seafood and farm to table selections? Either way was a win!
We chose left and dove face deep into the most overwhelming tasting experience I have ever encountered. There were old classics like traditional peach cobbler with ice cream and Brunswick stew. To the truly creative such as caramel and bacon doughnuts as well as crunchy Philly cheese steak spring rolls.
Festival Faves: La Bonne Vie’s cheeses were a treat, especially the mild goat cheese and smooth rich brie; Davio’s Philly cheese spring roll was fun and different and packed robust flavor; One Hot Mama’s Fried Chicken had a crunchy breading and a sweet and savory flavor profile; Revolution Doughnut’s offered a delicious Caramel and Bacon Doughnut that presented the perfect balance of salt and sugar; Pearson Farm peaches were so juicy and refreshing, King of Pops’ Dark Chocolate Patron Popsicle was rich and full of flavor; Orpheus Brewing‘s Summer Ale, the Ale was light,refreshing and easy to drink. There were so many great dishes represented you really couldn’t choose wrong.
Buy the multi-day pass! There is so much to see and do during the festival and it is difficult to take it -all -in during the course of just one day. Spread it out and pace yourself.
Wear conformable shoes and a sun hat. Shield yourself from the sun to conserve your energy so that you can eat and drink the most possible.
Take time to really taste and enjoy the food. Resist the urge to start shoving food down just to get to the next vendor. Savor the flavors!
Did you attend the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival this year? Share your experience with me here.
Photos Courtesy of Eatbreathetravel and AF&WF/Rafterman Photography