How can you travel around the culinary world without ever leaving Austin? That’s what more than 400 eye catching people did at the 10th annual Tour de Vin wine and food fest put on by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas at W Austin. The paired some of Austin’s hottest chefs with 15 wineries serving representative food and wine from Japan, America, Italy, South America, Mexico, France, Greece.
The evening started, Shawn Croft, executive sommelier of Gusto Tastings, and the beautiful Marie-Louise Friedland, head cheesemonger of Henri’s Cheese Shop, hosted a VIP Tasting featuring four wines and cheeses. The white Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Chilean Pinot Noir and Condrieu were expertly paired with delicious cheeses. Friedland lives cheese and was weaned on brie and camembert by her French mom. She explored the world of stinky cheese as a child and learned to make cheese in England. “I did everything from milking the cows to making the curd,” said Friedand. “I can’t tell you how many times I was pooped on.” I think she meant by cows.
The main event was a delightful walk through table after table of scrumptious food and wine. Along with some of the city’s established restaurants like Enjoy fresh and innovative dishes from Kenichi, Barley Swine, Buenos Aires Café, Trace, Nobel Pig came newcomers Swifts Attic and brand-newcomers Bangers Sausage House in its first event and Tapas Bravas a new food truck on Rainey Street. Speaking about another newcomer, Marshall Jones, executive director of the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas said, “We’re excited to introduce Alison Jenkins from Denver and her new restaurant LaV which will be opening soon on East 7th.” There were too many good things to eat to try them all.
“My favorite thing about it is the ethnic pairing with the focus on different foods from around the world and the wine that is paired with it,” said Jones. “We often think about Australian wine, but who thinks of Australian meat pies and then the wine to pair with it. This is the only sip and stroll event in the city that organizes the food regionally.”
My favorite part was the wine. Which? Hmmm, let me see. I think my favorite was the German Riesling, or the Spanish Tempranillo, or the Burgundy, or the Bordeaux, or the sake served by Sake Sommelier, Adam Faraizl of Kenichi, or the Gruet rosé and St. Germaine served by Jessica Sanders, owner of Drink.well. It sure as hell wasn’t the French rosé, because Denise Clarke (one of our city’s newest Certified Specialist of Wine) drank it all. I guess I didn’t have a favorite wine.
In addition to the wine and food, guests were entertained by raucous samba drummers and dancers and there was a silent auction. The auction featured excellent wines, foodie gifts, and entertainment packages like a helicopter trip to Formula 1 with Capital Wings, tickets to see the GoGo’s at ACL Live, and a private chef dinner with Chef Allison Jenkins of LaV. I got flirted into buying something called a Golden Ticket for $100. I have no idea what that means, but Bill Elsey’s girlfriend is so adorable, I’d buy anything from her.
The money raised from ticket sales and in the silent action support the events, scholarships, grants and education programs provided by the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. The Foundation hopes to raise $20,000 after expenses.
This is the third Wine & Food Foundation of Texas event that I’ve attended this year (not counting TEXSOM) and I’m always impressed with how well run they are. The people they draw are a ton of fun to hang out with and the food and drink are always top notch. If you are a fan of wine or a foodie, you simply must join the Foundation. Now.
Disclosure: The Foundation provided me with a free VIP and event media pass for which I am grateful.