Austin Food & Wine Festivals
published on April 8, 2013
People can be united by food, and the attendance and scope of Texas food festivals makes that fact evident. Austin’s hill country has numerous vineyards creating world class wines, and Austin’s restaurants have chefs creating food-making headlines and dominating national television. Austin itself is full of people hungry for live music, good food, and a quality glass of wine, making the city a prime spot for a collection of food and wine festivals.
Since debuting in 2007, the annual Austin Wine and Music Festival features more than 25 Texas wineries and local breweries, drawing a crowd of almost 7,000 attendees. Previously hosted at The Domain in northwest Austin, the event has recently shifted to a smaller, intimate gathering at individual wineries set on Hill Country estates. Going forward, the event will be consolidated at Driftwood Estate Winery, just 40 minutes from downtown Austin homes, where guests can sip glasses of fine wine atop a scenic bluff overlooking the vineyards.
The Austin FOOD & WINE Festival was held for the first time in April 2012, taking the place of the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, which ran in Austin for 26 years. Food & Wine magazine is now the event’s title sponsor, and the event features cooking demonstrations, seminars by sommeliers, wine tastings, live music, and gourmet food. Celebrity chefs who have attended the event include Masaharu Morimoto, Marcus Samuelsson, Michelle Bernstein, Paul Qui, Christina Tosi, Andrew Zimmern, Gail Simmons, and Tyson Cole, who collectively participated in dozens of cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, and cocktail seminars. Musicians at the event have included singer-songwriters Lucinda Williams and Mayor Hawthorne, and their performances as well as most of the events took place at Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park, not far from the Barton Creek neighborhood. A portion of the Festival’s proceeds benefit The Austin Food & Wine Alliance, dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community through grants, educational programming, and events.
Held to the west of Austin in Fredericksburg, a pleasant trip from the Circle C neighborhood, the Hill Country Wine & Music celebrates local wine, music, and cuisine for the benefit of the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts in Fredericksburg. Local vintners and sommeliers let guests sample drinks and learn about Texas wine culture while chefs and restaurants serve up food made with local ingredients. Musicians from Fredericksburg, Austin, and the surrounding area accompany the event.
Texas VegFest is an annual festival celebrating plant-based foods, with a focus on wellness, physical fitness, the environment, and compassionate living. The event features vegan food, craft beer, speakers, cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities, food sampling, and live music. The 2012 inaugural festival, held in Fiesta Gardens in Central Austin, attracted over 3,500 people and 70 vendors. Activities for children include yoga, tennis lessons, kids’ cooking classes, seed planting, story time, and games. Adults can hear famous cookbook authors speak, learn how a vegan diet impacts health, and eat numerous samples of gourmet vegan food.
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