Austin Food & Wine Event Spotlight: Grand Wine and Food Affair

Food and wine in Austin are heating up in a big way! This year’s Hill Country Wine and Food Festival was one of the best in years, the new Austin Food Blogger Alliance just kicked off our first philanthropy event benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) is hosting their annual conference here the first week of June. I’m excited to be knee-deep in much of this foodie fun, acting as both the President of the food blogger alliance and the social media chair for the IACP conference host committee. It’s a whole slew of fun and an even bigger slew of work.

Surprisingly, despite my best efforts, I have yet to locate a time turner so adding more hours into the day to support the new endeavors isn’t a practical possibility. As I add the hat of “time hunter” to my collection I’ve found that you can find free bits and pieces of time in a lot of places. And of course, modern mobile technology makes working while waiting for an even to start or during a kidlet’s dance practice a complete practical possibility, so I’ve become the queen of the well-tended calendar. And finally, I’ve learned to make some compromises and even – gasp—say no to a thing here and there.

Foodie Bits is one of those things.

In the last couple of weeks my all-encompassing Foodie Bits post has fallen by the wayside because cultivating it is a time-intensive labor of love. I don’t want to abandon it entirely though because I know it’s one of the only resources of its kind and there are so many great food and wine events in our town. As a compromise for the next few months I’m going to put the full event listing on hold and instead use my time to focus events I’d usually put in the spotlight. I’ll also highlight other great lists of events around town like the Austin Chronicle Event Menu and Central Market Cooking School calendar so you can keep tabs on your favorite venues.

I fully expect Foodie Bits to return in September or so as we gear up for the fall eating season. In the mean time, be sure to like Austin Food Lovers’ Companion on Facebook as I’m planning to share events there several times a week as they come to my inbox.

Take a Trip to Sugar Land to Watch Austin Chefs Show Their Stuff

It’s been what, almost a month, since our own wine and food festival ended. You’ve had plenty of spring vegetables from the market and enjoyed a turn or two around Lady Bird Lake in our lovely weather, right? Then you’re ready to put on your stretchy eating pants and hit another food festival. Just a few hours down the road in Sugar Land, The Grand Wine and Food Affair brings together over 100 wineries and chefs in a series of events that allow you to expand your wine and food horizons while making some new friends of fellow Texans who enjoy epicurean adventures as much as you do. From April 27 – May 1 they have a great list of experiences queued up, but the ones that really stand out to me as must-visit are:

  • Dinning in the Heart of Sugar Land: I’m a hug fan (verging on the edge of stalking if I’m being honest) of Austin Hope who has selected the wines for this seated dinner so I can guarantee you the wine at this event will be fantastic. The menu will feature creations from chefs around Houston, including Chef Randy Evans of Haven who participated in our Hill Country Wine and Food Festival and impressed so many of us that we’re talking about a special road trip to Houston just to visit his restaurant.
  • The Grand Tasting: Austin’s own Chef Josh Watkins of The Carillon, Chef Jonathan Gelman of The Driskill Hotel, and Chef Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616 will participate in this Texas-size tasting. If you’ve wanted to get a feel for the Houston food scene, this is a great way to get to know the chefs and make plans for future visits to Houston.
  • The Bistro Brunch: For a more casual experience, stroll around the Sugar Land Town Square while you enjoy wine and food with international flair. This looks like a great event to attend with friends. Road trip anyone?

A food and wine festival is a fun way to get to know a town’s food culture from all points of view: chefs, wine makers, and enthusiasts. If you make the trip to Sugar Land please report back and share your experiences in the comments. We’d love to hear all about your fun!

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