The 5th Annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was held last weekend, and it’s pretty safe to say the event was a huge success.
We weren’t quite sure what exactly to expect, with it being our first time attending this particular festival, but we knew there would be plenty of great food and drinks to try. Little did we know that our imaginations honestly couldn’t have drummed up many of the delicious dishes and cocktail concoctions that we had the pleasure of trying over the weekend!
This year’s festival included over 90 classes, four tasting tents, 250 talent, two dozen events and so much more and FanBolt’s Editor-in-Chief Emma Loggins and I did our best to get a full experience… and full tummies.
Friday morning Emma and I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Toast, held at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a table filled with champagne and a bar full of delicious food not far off. Chef Olivier Gaupin outdid himself, serving guests fried sweetbreads (if you don’t know what they are, I recommend tasting before Googling), a nice charcuterie platter and shrimp and grits that were, without a doubt, some of the best we’d ever tasted. Oh and the peach cheesecake cake pops? Don’t get me started. I’ll just say “amazing” and leave it at that.
Attendees were also treated to a welcoming chat from the festival’s co-founders Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter, who were given the honor of May 29th being named Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Day. The atmosphere was light and fun, and you could tell everyone there was excited for the weekend ahead.
After a short break we made our way down to the tasting tents and got to work (and by work I mean stuffing our faces). I can’t say I sampled anything that I didn’t like. Emma and I were both huge fans of Grand Champion BBQ’s pulled pork and mac & cheese, Table and Main’s fried chicken, and Watershed’s cheese biscuit with sweet onion and honeysuckle jelly. A cool touch (that I wish was a regularly available item) was King of Pops pairing up with Patron to deliver Patron-cicles…King of Pop popsicles infused with the liquor.
We were (thankfully) recovered enough from our food comas to attend Saturday night’s South Carolina Culinary Road Trip. It was held on a beautiful patio at the Loews Hotel, and it brought out South Carolina’s finest to create a culinary experience guests wouldn’t forget. Brandon Velie, co-founder of SC restaurant Juniper, wowed Emma with his savory shrimp, sausage and grits. I usually don’t eat lamb (too cute!), but decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and tried the lamb short-rib to see what would happen… little did I expect to find my favorite dish of the evening. Chef Kevin Johnson at The Grocery prepared a sweet, succulent lamb rib that basically fell apart as soon as the fork approached it. It’s not easy to change someone’s mind about a food they don’t like, but mine was certainly opened after tasting those ribs.
We didn’t forget drinks! What would the food be without drinks to compliment them? There was a wide variety of almost every kind of wine and spirit you can think of. Jam Jar showed up with the best wine I’ve tasted in a while, and Midnight Moon Moonshine’s apple pie moonshine had just the right amount of apple pie sweetness mixed with that moonshine kick. There was a wide variety of almost every kind of spirit you can think of.
If you missed out on this year’s festivities, we’d recommend you make this a must for next year. The festival provides attendees with an experience like none other. It doesn’t matter if you’re a foodie of the highest caliber or a person who just likes to eat and drink, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has something for everyone.
Check out the gallery from our weekend below:
Photo Credit: Emma Loggins / FanBolt