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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Returns in June

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival returns for its 7th year this June, showcasing the best of the South’s restaurants, food, drinks, spirits and beyond.

From Thursday, June 1st through Sunday, June 4th, unique food and beverage traditions from Texas to D.C. will be served up in more than 80 Learning Experiences, plus dinners, events and the can’t miss all-you-can-indulge Tasting Tents.

Atlanta Food & Wine FestivalComing together for the four day fete in Midtown Atlanta are award-winning chefs, mixologists, barbecue pit-masters, sommeliers, mixologists and local growers.

The best strategy is to come prepared with how you want to travel through the South. Is it through food? There are Learning Experiences about barbecue sauce, soul food vegetables and oysters. Is it through drinks? There is Bourbon, southern craft beers and Virginia’s award-winning wine. Or are you looking for a global experience, going beyond Atlanta to other southern regions around the globe? There’s Chilean, South African and Australian wine seminars, and even one on sake.

One thing is for sure – no matter the event, you’ll experience the best in wine and food. Be sure to share it via social media, with hashtags #AFWF17 and #KnowTheSouth.

If you don’t yet have tickets, here are the details:

Individual Tasting Tent Pass – $100 per Tasting Tent ticket
Day Pass – $175 per day
Weekend Pass – $435 for full weekend
Connoisseur Experience –$600 – $1,800 per ticket
Dinners & Evening Events – $25 – $225 per person, per dinner/event

Click here to purchase tickets

The Tasting Tents are open Friday, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm; Saturday, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and Sunday, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm.

Extra advice: wear comfy shoes so you can enjoy the festival to its fullest extent. The main action happens at the Loews Hotel at 1065 Peachtree Street NE, and the Tasting Tents are located a short walk away, at Piedmont Park’s Greensward Promenade (there is a shuttle from the Loews and golf carts from the 12th street entrance to Piedmont Park). Taking public transportation or Uber is recommended, or have a designated driver. Guests must be 21 years of age or older.

For all information, visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com.

>> Connect:
Twitter: @ATLFoodAndWine
Facebook: AtlantaFoodandWineFestival
Instagram: @atlfoodandwine
Pinterest: ATLFoodAndWine
Festival Hashtags: #AFWF17 #KnowTheSouth

Related: Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Celebrates the South

Headline image via Atlanta Food & Wine Festival on Instagram

Epcot Food and Wine Fest

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2014

A trip to Epcot at Walt Disney World is even better when you go during the International Food & Wine Festival. From Friday, September 19th through Monday, November 10th, visitors have the chance to eat and drink around the world.

The Amateur Gastronomer got a peek at what makes the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival so much fun during the first weekend of this year’s event.

Headed there this fall? Check out our tips for what to see and taste.

Epcot 2014


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Atlanta Arts Festival

Atlanta Arts Festival Returns to Piedmont Park

Now in its eighth year, the Atlanta Arts Festival will return to Piedmont Park in Midtown on September 13th and 14th.

Atlanta Arts FestivalThe event is free and open to the public and will showcase two hundred local and nationally recognized artists from more than twelve mediums. There will be artist demonstrations and classes, live music, kids activities and Atlanta Arts Festivalmore.

A highlight is sure to be the Art of Cooking Stage. Sponsored by Krog Street Market, the stage will feature cooking demos and specialty tastings from chefs at the Atlanta Arts Festivalnewly opened dining destination. Click here for the chefs and schedule.

Art fans of all ages are encouraged to attend the festival. Canvas by U! will offer two-hour adult art classes throughout the weekend (click here to register), and the Creation Station will offer educational sessions taught by local professional artists. In the Lil’ Artist Alley kids can enjoy arts and crafts, balloon twisting, face painting and live performances.

The Atlanta Arts Festival is a professionally-juried fine arts event. For more information visit AtlantaArtsFestival.com and get social with #AAF14.

The 8th Annual Atlanta Arts Festival, Saturday, September 13 from 10am to 7pm and Sunday, September 14 from 10am to 5pm at Piedmont Park in Midtown.

Facebook: AtlantaArtsFestival
Twitter: @AtlantaArtsFest
Instagram: @atlantaartsfest

images via 360 Media

Snapshots from Atlanta’s Taste Revival

Atlanta's Taste Revival

The 12th annual Taste of Atlanta kicked off with Atlanta’s Taste Revival, an evening of great food and live music. Eighteen local chefs prepared a dish inspired by a favorite song.

Parker Smith and the Bandwith got the crowd dancing, and the all-chef band Five Bone Rack took the stage for a special set.

Click here to watch highlights from the 2013 Taste of Atlanta

The AG’s cameras caught all the action. Click photos below to enlarge.

LivingSocial’s Craft Beer & Wine Fest

Head to Atlantic Station on Saturday, November 9th for LivingSocial’s Craft Beer and Wine Festival. The event will feature more than 100 craft brews and wines, food trucks, live music and more.

LivingSocial Beer FestAttendees will enjoy unlimited pours in a commemorative mini stein. There will be food from Atlanta’s best food trucks (food not included in ticket price), music from Parker Smith and the Bandwidth and games including giant beer pong.

The festival will be held on Saturday, November 9th from 1pm to 5pm (noon entrance for VIP ticket holders), at the special event site behind Atlantic Station.

Early bird tickets cost $30 per person (price will increase to $35), and VIP tickets cost $45. Click here to purchase tickets from LivingSocial’s website, or call 877-521-4191.

If you’re a new Uber rider you can get $20 off your first ride using promo code LivingSocialBF (from 7am November 9th until 3am November 10th).

LivingSocial Craft Beer & Wine Festival, Saturday, November 9th at Atlantic Station, 241 20th Street, Atlanta.

Taste of Atlanta 2013


Taste of Atlanta is now in its 12th year. What makes it the can’t miss event of the fall? The Amateur Gastronomer found out.

“This day is all about food,” said Chef Ron Eyester of Rosebud, The Family Dog and Timone’s. “I think Taste of Atlanta gives people the opportunity to kind of get hyped up about food.”

More than 100 restaurants participated in the three day festival that showcased the city’s vibrant dining scene. It truly was the “food lover’s food experience” — attendees could sample just about any cuisine, from international favorites like Italian, Indian and Japanese to Southern staples like fried chicken and barbecue.

“We’ve just found that this time of year, meat’s pretty popular,” said Matt Coggin of D.B.A. Barbecue. “Why have lentil soup when you can have meat on a stick?”

For festival attendees, Taste of Atlanta offered the chance to interact with the people who source, create and serve the food.

“We love doing the event because it definitely brings people throughout – not just from intown neighborhoods,” said Coggin. “It’s always a great event, we always make new friends.”

“It’s great seeing regular people get excited about food,” said Eyester.

Taste of Atlanta offered education too. Those who were less familiar with the ‘eat local’ movement were able to experience it and understand the importance of it. And at seminars and cooking demonstrations attendees learned new techniques and recipes.

Most of all, Taste of Atlanta showcased just how exceptional the city’s restaurants are.

“I welcome the opportunity to create an awareness about what restaurants in Atlanta are doing and how our dining scene in Atlanta is getting progressively better year after year,” said Eyester.

“Eat out every night!”

Related: Snapshots from Atlanta’s Taste Revival

Countdown to Taste of Atlanta 2013

It’s that time of year again — time to get excited about Taste of Atlanta!

Now in its 12th year, Taste of Atlanta is the one fall festival you don’t want to miss. It’s the chance to experience more than 90 of the city’s restaurants and get up close with the city’s finest chefs.

Taste of ATL 2013Taste of Atlanta will be held on October 25th, 26th and 27th at Tech Square in Midtown. The fun kicks off on Friday night with Atlanta’s Taste Revival, a unique block party that brings together food and music. Chef Host Ron Eyester and other local celebrity chefs will serve up dishes inspired by their favorite bands and songs. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Georgia Organics.

The main action is on Saturday and Sunday, with restaurants and chefs serving up signature bites. Tasting coupons are your ticket to a variety of cuisines, from southern to sushi, Indian to Italian, burgers to barbecue, and everything in between. Enjoy your favorite Atlanta restaurants and discover new ones.

Click here to see the participating restaurants

There will also be live cooking demos and conversations at the Inside the Food Studio stage, hands on classes in The Kitchen Workshop and interactive activities for all ages at the Family Food Zone.

Taste of Atlanta 2012Guests 21 and older can upgrade to the VIP ticket, with access to the VIP Food+Wine+Beer+Cocktail Experience. Cocktails, craft beers and wine will be offered, in addition to samples from exclusive restaurants not found in the main festival.

Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased online on Taste of Atlanta’s website. General admission costs $30 each day, or $40 on the day of the event. VIP tickets cost $75 each day, or $85 on the day of the event. Ten taste coupons are included with admission (additional taste coupons may be purchased on site). Kids 13 and under receive free admission when accompanied by a paid adult. Click here for more information on tickets to Atlanta’s Taste Revival, which start at $70.

Taste of Atlanta 2013, October 25th through 27th at Tech Square in Midtown.

>> Connect: @tasteofatlanta on Twitter
Facebook: www.facebook.com/tasteofatlanta

See Highlights from Previous Years:
Taste of Atlanta 2012
Taste of Atlanta 2011
Taste of Atlanta 2010

Taste of Atlanta 2012


With delicious food, live music and a chance to mingle with some of Atlanta’s best chefs, Grills Gone Wild was the place to be Friday night. At this kickoff party for Taste of Atlanta guests enjoyed brisket, ribs, pork, shrimp and tacos, accompanied by wine, beer and cocktails.

In between sets of Yacht Rock Schooner’s cool ’70s music, the all chef band 5 Bone Rack took the stage. Chefs Jamie Adams (Veni Vidi Vici), Ford Fry (JCT and The Optimist), Ted Lahey (Table & Main), Gary Mennie (High Cotton), and Zeb Stevenson (Livingston Restaurant + Bar) demonstrated that their talents extend beyond the restaurant kitchen.

Grills Gone Wild offered a taste of the food-filled weekend to come. On Saturday and Sunday hundreds of people packed Tech Square where they sampled small bites from more than 80 restaurants. At seminars and cooking demonstrations, guests learned techniques to use in their own kitchens.

Now in its 11th year, Taste of Atlanta continues to show why it is the city’s premier food, wine, beer and cocktail festival.

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Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

“You just won $250 in Las Vegas!  What are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to Disneyland!”

Even if I had left Las Vegas down in chips, I still would have wanted to go to Disneyland during the second half of my trip out west.  I love Disney World and have visited at least once a year since moving to Florida six years ago.

I couldn’t have timed my trip to southern California any better.  My visit to Disneyland coincided with Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival.  As a big fan of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival I was glad I finally had the chance to experience Disneyland’s version.  Now in its fifth year, this festival is held at Disney’s California Adventure Park, located across a pavilion from Disneyland.

Click here to read about the 2009 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

I arrived at Disney’s California Adventure on a warm and sunny Friday, ready to explore the park and drink some wine.  One thing I noticed right away about the park is that it already is a great place for food.  And not just standard theme park food like burgers, fries and Mickey Mouse ice cream pops.  There are stands where you can get all sorts of fresh fruit grown in California, and an area where you can learn more about the state’s food industries.  At the Mission Tortilla Factory you can snack on freshly made tortillas while getting a behind-the-scenes look at tortilla production.  At the Boudin Bakery (a favorite of mine in San Francisco), it’s slices of sourdough bread you get to taste while watching bakers prepare hundreds of boules.

As a four-time visitor to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I was interested in seeing how Disneyland’s festival was different — which it definitely was.  Rather than being the main event, perhaps the reason to visit, the California Food & Wine Festival felt more like an added bonus of visiting the park.  This festival was smaller and more low key compared to Epcot, where there are several food and wine stands to check out in every country in the World Showcase.

The main action centered around three “walks” where you could taste a variety of wines and beers.  Chefs demonstrated cooking techniques at the Showcase Stage, near the front of the park.  The Festival Showplace — the place to check out seminars and buy festival merchandise — was tucked away in a corner of the park by the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, away from the most popular rides.  There were no separate food stands for the festival; special dishes were added to the menu at dining spots throughout the park.

Overall, the festival added to the fun experience of visiting Disney’s California Adventure, without making visitors feel obligated to participate.

I began in the Festival Showplace, at the Belgian Brewer’s Collection and Star Lounge hosted by Stella Artois.  Here bartenders demonstrated the art of pouring a perfect Stella Artois beer from the tap, a multi-step process that includes washing the glass and “beheading” foam with a special spatula-like tool.  I got a glass of the Belgian Leffe Blonde, perfect for sipping as I strolled around the park.

After flying over some of the state’s famous sights in Soarin’ Over California, I was ready to taste some California wines.  For that I headed to the California Classics Wine Walk.  After paying $10 I received my tasting passport for a trip through the Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Central Coast and Paso Robles.  Each time I tasted a wine, my passport was stamped for that region.  Each region offered a choice of three wines.  For the selection of wineries (some well known, some unfamiliar) and the grape varietals, it was a nice overview of the state’s offerings.  Wine novices would definitely come away knowing more about different styles and their own tastes.  For fans of the Old World there was an Italian Wine Walk, which I did not get a chance to check out.

My next stop was the Craft Beer Walk, which featured 16 beers from around the world.  There were four stops on this walk: the Old World, West of the Rockies, the Islands (Hawaii and Japan) and the Hop Garden which featured brews from California, Florida and Missouri.  Like with all the walks, you could mix and match your tastings, skipping one area and getting two at another instead.  I skipped the Old World having tasted all four of the beers offered.  Instead I got to taste Japan’s Kirin Ichiban and Sapporo Lager back to back and discovered I prefer Kirin.  If I’m drinking beer at a Japanese restaurant I tend to order Sapporo over Kirin; now that I know I like Kirin better I’ll have to make a switch.

In addition to enjoying the wine and beer I checked out many of the park’s attractions.  My favorite after Soarin’ Over California was California Screamin’, a roller coaster that kicks the action into top gear right away.  Rather than slowly climbing up the first hill, the coaster accelerates at the start, making for a really fun ride that includes one upside down loop.  I’m guessing you might want to check this one out before eating or drinking too much.

I ended my day at the festival with a glass of California Merlot in the Festival Showplace, listening to a seminar on Pinot Noir led by a winemaker from the Central Coast.  Though I didn’t get to check out any winemaker or wine pairing dinners there’s always next year — hopefully my travels will take me to southern California again next spring.

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival runs from April 16 through May 31, 2010.  Visit Disneyland’s website in the fall for details on the 2010 festival.

Epcot food wine fest

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2009 Part 2

Continued from Part 1

During my weekend at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival I ate and drank my way through six continents!  Here are my favorite dishes and drinks:

Paris, France
I had tried the escargot at previous festivals so this year I skipped the snails and tried the braised short ribs in Cabernet with mashed potatoes.  The meat was tender and extremely flavorful in the red wine.  With a bit of the potatoes, it was a delicious bite.

I paired the short ribs with a 2007 red Bordeaux from Château Mezain.  With delicate flavors of cherries and blackcurrants it was a nice accompaniment to the meat, and a wine I would definitely drink again.

Tokyo, Japan
Skip the food stand in the Japan pavilion (unless you’re craving a spicy tuna roll or a California roll).  The real treat is inside the store, where you can try a variety of sake.  Last year I discovered a fun sparkling sake, this year I had a glass of vintage sake.

The Tenryo Koshu is aged for three years.  It is medium bodied and extremely smooth with layered flavors of dried apple, melon and nougat.  The sake was one of my favorite discoveries at the festival, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for it at restaurants and wine shops.

The United States
At the American Adventure Pavilion it’s all about beer.  Samuel Adams serves up a variety of their brews and has free seminars about their history and the art of brewing.

At the seminar you get to taste four of their beers: Boston Lager, Sam Adams Light, Octoberfest and the 14th Anniversary Festival Beer.  My favorite was the Octoberfest, which has notes of caramel and toffee balanced out by a slight bitterness from German hops.  A close second was the 14th Anniversary beer which has a nice fruitiness from blackberries and orange peel.  Though I tend to stay away from light beers, Samuel Adams’ version is surprisingly flavorful.

Melbourne, Australia
I couldn’t decide which of Australia’s main dishes sounded better so I tried both!  The seared barramundi was served with blistered cherry tomatoes and topped with arugula and lemon oil.  The flavor of the tomatoes went really well with the fish.  It actually inspired me to make my own version with halibut a few days after I returned home from the festival.  The lamb chop was even more flavorful, in a yummy red wine sauce that I hope to replicate the next time I cook lamb.

Cape Town, South Africa
I remember South Africa being one of my favorites from last year’s festival and this year it didn’t disappoint.  I started with the mealie soup, which reminded me of corn chowder.  Full in flavor and packed with corn and crab, the soup was hearty and satisfying.  I could have easily had another cup, in spite of the 80 degree weather.

Next I went for the seared beef tenderloin.  Served on top of a sweet potato purée with a tangy mango barbecue sauce, it was another winner.

Of course I couldn’t visit the South Africa marketplace without getting a glass of Pinotage, the country’s signature varietal.  The Fairview Pinotage was a nice match for the beef tenderloin, with deep red fruit and earthy flavors.

New Delhi, India
I love Indian food and have been craving it ever since my favorite downtown spot closed (I miss you Taste of Bombay!).  Though there was only one entree offering at the India marketplace it was quite tasty — a rice and lentil crêpe with a potato and onion filling.

I paired the dish with a crisp and refreshing Chenin Blanc from Sula Vineyards.  This winery is located about 100 miles northeast of Mumbai and makes an impressive variety of reds, whites, sparkling and dessert wines.  Sipping the Chenin Blanc made me want to explore more of their wines.

I ended my trip to India on a sweet note with a chilled mango lassi.  It’s like a mango smoothie only better, with a nice creaminess from yogurt.  It’s a delicious dessert if you’re in the mood for something fruity and not too heavy.

Barcelona, Spain
The Spain marketplace is a must visit for the wine, especially if you’re not familiar with Spanish varietals.  Here you can try Cava, Albariño and Verdejo.  Last year I enjoyed the Poema Cava Brut, a dry and creamy sparkling wine with a hint of pear and toast.

This year I tasted the Bodega Don Olegario Albariño alongside the Poema Verdejo to compare their flavors.  Though the Verdejo was aromatic and soft with notes of white flowers and tree fruit, I preferred the Albariño with its light and crisp peach and apricot flavors.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
If it has chimichurri, I want to try it.  So I made sure to save room for the grilled beef skewer with chimichurri and boniato purée.  The grilled beef was tender and full of flavor, and I couldn’t get enough of the chimichurri.  It’s a must-try dish unless you’re not a fan of garlic because this chimichurri packs a punch.  But you’ll definitely want to try one of the Argentine wines.  The beef was great with a glass of the Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec, and I’m also a fan of the Torrontes.

Santiago, Chile
If it’s a hot afternoon and you’re craving something cold and refreshing, head to the Chile marketplace for the rock shrimp ceviche.  Served chilled in a tart tomato-based sauce, it hit the spot in the 80 degree weather.  It was even better with a glass of the Emiliana Natura Sauvignon Blanc.  The wine has fresh citrus flavors with a hint of herbs and minerals on the finish.  It’s a perfect wine to sip on a hot afternoon and at $10 a bottle it’s a great deal too.

Montreal, Canada
My favorite fish of the entire festival had to be in Canada: maple glazed salmon served on top of lentil salad.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, with a nice crust from the glaze.  The lentils were so good I could have easily eaten a bowl of just them.

After the salmon I enjoyed a glass of Château des Charmes Merlot.  It was more full-bodied in flavor than I expected of a wine from Ontario, with silky flavors of cherry and cassis.

The New York Wine Adventure
After the Canadian Merlot I moved a little farther south on the map (but just a few steps away at Epcot), to try some wines from New York State.  I started on the North Fork of Long Island with a glass of the Lieb Cellars Bridge Lane Merlot Blanc.  The wine is pale in color because the juice has no contact with the skins of the grape.  It has fresh raspberry and strawberry flavors with well-balanced acidity.

Next I moved to the Finger Lakes for a taste of the Red Newt Cellars Circle Riesling.  It’s semi-dry and aromatic with tangerine, apricot and citrus notes.  Both are wines I would drink again.

Wellington, New Zealand
Though the lamb chop in Australia was a worthy competitor, my favorite lamb dish of the festival was the lamb slider.  It was a big chunk of meat served on a bun with a dollop of tomato chutney.  The lamb was moist and well-seasoned; it was hard to resist getting a second one.  I tried it with a glass of Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, a pleasant mix of cherry, raspberry, cedar and tobacco flavors.

Cork, Ireland
I ended my tour in Ireland with the lobster and scallop fisherman’s pie.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  Underneath the creamy potatoes were big chunks of lobster in a yummy sauce.  I accompanied it with a glass of Bunratty Meade.  The honey wine had a hint of sweetness and nice spice on the finish.

Of course I had to try the dessert, warm chocolate lava cake with Bailey’s Ganache.  It was every bit as good as it sounds, rich and indulgent with a warm and gooey center.  It’s a must for any chocolate fan.

If you’re counting, I visited 12 countries.  Not bad for one weekend!

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs through November 8th.