The tenth annual Austin Food + Wine Festival returned in full form, after a year’s absence due to the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown. Chefs, restaurants and wine & spirits experts filled Auditorium Shores and the newly refurbished Republic Square Park to offer up some of their best tastings, samples and signature flavor on their recipes and products.
On Friday night, the festival kicked off with the return of Tim Love’s Grillin’ and Chillin’ hands-on, interactive dinner party, which was available for those that purchased the “All-In” ticket.
The infamous Grand Taste Pavilion at the 2021 Austin Food + Wine Festival was opened from Saturday-Sunday featuring several new and returning exhibitors sharing samples and pouring selections of wines, beers, spirits, coffee and other beverages.
On top of the amazing food vendors throughout the festival, Amaro Montenegro, the beloved Italian digestif, brought it’s traveling pop-up bar to sling out Amaro Montenegro cocktails like the Monterita and Montenegroni.
Several prominent whiskey brands were featured over two days at the Festival, serving cocktail samples and hosting comparative tastings of the expressions from, Texas, Utah and Tennessee aboard their own tricked-out trailers and carts, as well as the official Whiskey Bar, featured in the center of the grand tasting.
Attendees were able to sample over 55 different varieties of wines, spirits, and beer from around the world in the Grand Taste Pavilion, including. The Rambler sparkling water camper offered tasty sparkling water and the perfect level of carbonation that’s available in Original, Lemon-Lime and Grapefruit. For those who were patient enough to stand in the long line, the infamous Bad Larry Burger Club offered some of their famous double smashed cheese burgers.
Earlybird CBD partnered with Little Ola’s Biscuits to produce a biscuit with a little buzz, offering a mini versions of their famous biscuit with butter and Earlybird-infused jam. Each serving contained ~2.5mg of THC from Earlybird’s hemp tincture.
Angry Orchard Hard Cider returned with their incredible Angry Orchard Treehouse offering a spectacular view of Austin along with samples their Crisp Apple cider.
H-E-B returned with the grilled meats and a few new culinary delights. There was also organic produce, both seasoned with H-E-B’s fresh herb-made rubs and marinades that paired perfectly with an array of wines, hand-picked and poured by H-E-B Wine Specialists.
The Fire Pits featured live fire cooking demos and tastings from local pitmasters and chefs, including John Bates of InterStellar BBQ; Lance Kirkpatrick of Stiles Switch BBQ; Sonya Coté of Hillside Farmacy, Store House Market + Eatery; Tom Micklethwait of Micklethwait Craft Meats; and Marco Oglesby of The Switch BBQ
Rock Your Taco, Saturday evening’s signature taco showdown event, returned to Republic Square Park, where Chefs squared off to compete for the best taco creation. This time around the votes were determined by a People’s Choice award, with Tatsu Aikawa (Ramen Tatsu-Ya) being crowned as the winning chef. Other competitors included LeAnn Mueller of La Barbecue; chef Jason Dady (San Antonio); Nicola Blaque (Mi Roti, The Jerk Shack, San Antonio); Dawn Burrell; Diego Galicia & Rico Torres (Mixtli, San Antonio); Sarah Heard & Nathan Lemley of Foreign & Domestic; Jam Sanitchat of Thai Kitchen; and Charles Schlienger (Sway).