Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food and Wine Events for the Week of December 1

I hope everyone had a relaxing and filling Thanksgiving. As we turn our attention from turkey to the winter holidays, the food and wine events slow down a bit, but they are far from over. I’ve found that these end of the year events are a perfect way to pamper myself and get some “me” time. They also make great early Christmas gifts for the Food Lovers on your list. So even though your December calendar is probably filling up quickly, be sure to plan some time to enjoy the bounty of holiday events around town.

I was amazed and humbled to discover that my Fete & Feast has been nominated in four different categories of the inaugural Austin Blogger Awards. It’s incredible to know that my labor of love makes a difference to my fellow Austinites. If you’re so inclined, I’d appreciate a vote in any of the categories in which I’m nominated: Best Designed Blog, Best Overall Food Blog, Best Food Blog for Recipes, and Best Blog for Entertaining Tips.

In the Spotlight

This weekend Central Texas’ top chefs will go whole hog for The Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival’s Wine & Swine Culinary Weekend. The weekend’s events will feature

  • Wine & Swine Culinary WeekendPork & Cork, A Pig Perfect Wine Tasting on Friday, December 3, in the courtyard of the AT&T Executive Conference Center. All parts of the pig will be at play here and you’ll taste perfectly paired wines along the way.
  • Wine & Swine: Sip, Swirl and Squeal Wine Seminar on Saturday, December 4, at The Carillon Restaurant. You’ll learn how to make your own perfect pork pairings and have a lot of fun while you’re at it.
  • Texas Hill Country Pig Roast with eight chefs preparing eight whole pigs in their own unique culinary styles. Live music, craft beer and wine tastings will be a part of the outdoor pig party to be held at the Bridges Ranch in Driftwood, about 25 minutes outside of Austin.

In this three-day tribute to all things pork, you’ll enjoy great wines, amazing chefs and plenty o’ pig. You can buy tickets to individual events or buy an all-inclusive ticket for $125.

I have two tickets to give away to the entire Wine & Swine Culinary Weekend. Tell me which part of the pig you enjoy the most or which wine you most like to pair with pork in the comments of this post. The contest closes at 12pm CST on Thursday, December 2, and I’ll pick a winner at random.

Eat local Week LocoEdible Austin Eat Local Week begins this Saturday, December 4, and features seven days of extensive celebration of all things wonderful about local food and drink in Austin. The week kicks off with a proclamation by the Mayor at the downtown market on Saturday morning followed by an Urban Farm Bicycle Tour and a Pig Roast at Springdale Farms on Saturday night (it’s just a piggy sort of weekend for us here in Central Texas). Other events during the week include a Drink Local Coffee Festival, Drink Local Night, a Local Foods Holiday Gift Fair, an evening with Michael Pollen and more. If you love Austin and you love good food and drink, you simply cannot miss this week of events. You can buy tickets to individual events or purchase an all-inclusive VIP pass for $100 (a great deal).

Be Spontaneous – This Week’s Events

  • December 2: Chef Wine and Dine Series Finale
    – The Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival’s Chef Wine & Dine Series concludes with a special dinner prepared by yet another local favorite chef, Josh Watkins. If you haven’t had an opportunity to attend one of the previous dinners, be sure to mark your calendar for this one. Each course is served with an outstanding paired wine and you’ll have the opportunity to chat with Chef Watkins himself. $125/person. The Carillon. 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • December 3: Irish Holiday Treats – Bring some of the culinary traditions of the Emerald Isle to your home this holiday season courtesy of Rachel Gaffney of Rachel Gaffney’s Real Ireland. In this class you’ll learn how to make Dubliner artichoke dip, a traditional baked ham, and mince pies with brandy butter. $65/person. Central Market Cooking School. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • December 3: Girl’s Night Out Holiday Appetizers – Spend a night out with the girls cooking together and preparing for all of your holiday entertaining. You’ll have a little wine and learn how to make easy dishes for all of your entertaining adventures. $65/person. Whole Foods Culinary Center. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • December 4: Austin Cake Ball Craze – Cake balls are the new cupcakes. These tiny morsels of goodness can take on just about any sweet flavor combination and they are fun to make. Local cake ball maker Austin Cake Ball was mention in the December issue of Food Network Magazine and now you can learn how to make these bite-size creations from their experts during this hands-on cooking class. $50/person. Whole Foods Culinary Center. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Reserve online.

Plan Ahead – Events in the Next Three Weeks

UPDATE (12-03-10)

The winner of the Wine and Swine tickets is Kay (aka @atxfoodnews)! Congratulations and we can’t wait to hear all about your piggy fun.

Just to show we’re above board, here’s the screen shot of the selection of comment #1 as the winner.


  1. I once had a serving of lucious roast suckling pig paired with a zinfandel–not one of those wimpy light ones, but a good meaty medium zin–and it was heavenly. The zinfandel balanced out the crispy, fatty skin and richness of the meat in a way that could not have been more perfect.

  2. I’ll take pork belly with a nice extra dry champagne please!

  3. Hector /

    My favorite part of the pork is the butt. I can use it for carnitas, porcetta or slow roast. And pairing any of these with a nice white Marques de Caceres will do the trick any day of the week.

  4. Truthfully I grew up eating all kinds of weird stuff. However I can’t let go of the fact that I love simple Iberico ham. I love it rendered down and crisped. I love it by itself. I love it wrapped on Scallops. Any menu item that has it I’m a magnet for.

  5. Carissa /

    I love pig in general but I have to say my favorite part is the belly. It’s just so tasty and fatty and lovely. My second favorite would have to be the head to make head cheese. Or the ham. There’s just so much to love!

  6. Jennifer /

    My favorite part are the ribs. The messier the better!

  7. Matt Meisner /

    The belly and everything around it is my favorite!

  8. I have pork tenderloin probably 3-4X a month, and always pair with a pinot noir (and Saintsbury is a killer bottle.) I’m not a huge fan of Zin in general, but a friend of mine got me hooked on the Duckhorn Decoy, and it’s the only wine I use when I make Tacos Al Pastor.

    And best part of the pig? Everyone always says go lean, go loin – but I really enjoy the leg/ham too. It’s a toss-up for me!