By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival was held in Midtown from June 1 through June 4.
The festival started in 2010 with a mission to showcase Southern food. From Kentucky in the north to Washington D.C. in the east, the South is much more than Georgia and Texas.
My first stop on Saturday morning was The Connoisseur Breakfast. The fun part of the festival is trying foods from different places. The tough part of the festival is trying not to fall in love with food from out of town. I could write for hours about the Salted Molasses Pudding Cake (Chef Scott Rains, Arkansas). What I want to do right now is drive a thousand miles to get more of that cake.
The Connoisseur Breakfast was hosted by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. There were dishes both delicate and hearty. This is code for “I ate rabbit.” I am not food squeamish at all, but due to a childhood incident, I have avoided eating rabbit my whole life. It was delish, and I cried a little on the inside.
They call it the Food & Wine Fest, but they mean “Food and Liquor.” It’s quicker. Particularly at ten o’clock in the morning. You have a strong Bloody Mary in one hand and a spritzer with vodka and Malbec in the other. And no one is judging you.
The next class was called “A Chardonnay Expression.” This was a legitimate academic level class, but there were a few twists. One, it was completely a class on champagne. Two, five glasses of champagne later we were very well educated on what champagne is and is not. Three, we are now in need of a tour of France with a side detour to the chalky regions of the southern part of England.
In case you are wondering, you should immediately follow a champagne tasting with bourbon.
I ended up in class about road-side food called “Down the Southern Street.” It was moderated by Jennifer V. Cole (Louisiana) and the conversation felt like the beginning of a beautiful documentary. We got to taste a sampling from the three chefs and hear how drinking Coca-Cola inspired or accompanied or was included in their dishes.
On Sunday, it was a typical Atlanta afternoon of torrential rains followed by torrential heat. This did not deter the brave who wore rain boots to get food, wine, and swag.
I found one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa, Fl. in the #DeltaAmexPerks Lounge.
While you eat and drink yourself silly, they give you loads of stuff. There are book signings with the visiting chefs hosted by local bookstore A Cappella Books. There is a chance to eat and experience things outside of your comfort zone. It’s pretty nice to know that the South isn’t just confined to a few states, but the whole world.