Food & Wine Fabulousness: The Austin Food and Wine Fest

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Sooo, am I the only asking if it’s spring yet?

We’re barely approaching the halfway mark of February and I’m over this winter weather. I was born a cold-natured person, so winter weather is never my friend. I’m ready to be done with boots, wool scarves, gloves, and wearing a coat on top of a jacket on top of a sweater. All I can seem to think about these days is warm breezes, picnics, and springtime travel that require wearing sundresses, sandals, tanks, tees, tennies, and sunnies.

Even better is if I can wear these things while sipping wine, drinking cocktails, and grazing my way through a bounty of exquisitely prepared bites of food that are fit for royalty. I mean, is that too much to ask?

It’s not if you’re going to the Austin Food and Wine Fest!

I attended the festival for the 1st time last year and it was a total blast. It was 2 full days of wine, bubbly, spirits, cocktails, and a ton of food options to satisfy the everyone from the most hardcore carnivore to the staunchest vegan, plus entertainment {musicians/deejays}; appearances by culinary gurus {Chopped chef Amanda Freitag, legend Lidia Bastianich, and Stephanie Izard of Top Chef and Girl & The Goat fame} cooking demonstrations {anyone up for cooking over a huge fire pit?!}; and food, spirits, and wine seminars to boot. Trust me when I say it’s the perfect way to spend a weekend.

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Tickets are on sale now with various levels depending on the kind of experience you’d like to have. “The Weekender” ticket covers both days of the Grand Tasting experience (which I was I did last year) but there are other fab events to add on, too {check out the full schedule here}.

Plus, between the numerous live music options; gorgeous mountain and lake landscapes; shopping; culture; and the culinary scene, Austin is just a plain, old fun city to hang out in. When you add the festival on top of it, making the decision to hang out in this city for a weekend of food and fun is a no-brainer in my book.

I’m sure you’re curious by now to know what it’s actually like to attend. You know I wouldn’t leave you hanging! Scroll on to see my pics from last year’s event, and let it motivate you to join me in attending this year’s fest!

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A little Glenfiddich before lunch never hurts, especially when it’s served up in a cool tent.

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An “experimental” scotch drink. It was delish by the way.

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Fresh and inventive is how they serve things up at Fukumoto.

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Tamales are a Texas must.

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Now you KNOW I was going to get my bubbly on. There were actually a lot of bubbly brands at the fest.

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Chargirlled oyster with gruyere and jalapeno. It was tasty.

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Mr. Bubbleista trying the chargrilled oyster. Unlike me, he was not a fan. #oysterhater

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A cool, interactive gin cocktail seminar hosted by Hendrick’s.

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Recipe and finished result. It was quite tasty!

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Our cocktail-making set up. After this class I knew I had to have a muddler for my own home bar.

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Big Red-Cherry glazed baby back ribs that were paired with Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, prepared by Chef Jason Dady.

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A exquisite Southern delight compliments of Southerleigh fine food & brewery.

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A little Rhone wine action helped to wash down all of the deliciousness.

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Chef Amir Hajimaleki and his Umami Blended Burger, which was part of the 2017 James Beard Blended Burger Project.

Chef Amir Hajimaleki’s burger {above} was a part of the 2017 James Beard Blended Burger Project, a nationwide contest and challenge to make a “blended burger” of ground meat and mushrooms to create a delicious, healthier, and more sustainable burger. Chef Hajimaleki’s burger was a mix of 70 percent Akaushi Wagyu Beef and a 30 percent “Umami mushroom blend” made of oyster and shiitake mushrooms, onion, thyme, sake, soy sauce, mirin and brown butter.

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These were THE MOST amazing Cuban-style sandwiches I have ever eaten. I so wish I could remember who made them. They were so good I went back for seconds.

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These noodles were divine! So many tasty bites to be had at the fest.

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What's a Texas food fest without a little bbq? This brisket with house made pickles was worthy of being called Texas barbecue.

What’s a Texas food fest without a little bbq? This brisket with house made pickles was worthy of being called Texas barbecue.

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As you can see, there are so many different, creative options to eat, drink and do at this fesitval. It’s impossible ot leave feeling bored, hungry or thirsty. And to help you get ready for some spring and summer festival hopping this year, prior to last year’s fest I wrote a post called “What to Wear to Wine & Food Fests” with some general tips, ideas, and advice that you’ll still find super useful for your upcoming adventures.

See you in Austin this April!