By Jan Schroder
I’m gonna need extra Spanx after this weekend. The very first Atlanta Food & Wine Festival kicks off tonight and it’s going to be a food frenzy weekend.
Since October 14 when I attended their launch event I’ve watched in fascination as the founders of the festival, Dominique Love and Elizabeth Feichter, have pulled together a huge event with tasting tents, street carts and learning experiences while attracting 130 of the most talented people in the food, wine and beer industry.
I’m getting a bit frenzied just trying to select which programs to attend. There are four on Friday at the same time, all of which I’d love to go to.
Here are just a few of the programs I’m hoping to catch:
1. Southern 101: All Roads Lead to the Farm, Friday at noon.
Chris Hastings, Hot and Hot Fish Club, Tyler Brown, The Capital Grille at the Hermitage Hotel Will Harris, White Oak Pastures John Besh, Besh Restaurant Group Michel Nischan, Wholesome Wave Foundation Moderated by Scott Jones, Jones Is Hungry.
I adore John Besh’s New Orleans restaurants and was lucky enough to go on a culinary tour of the Florida panhandle with the charismatic Chris Hastings so this is a must for me.
2. Breakfast Cocktails, Friday 9:30 to 10:15 with Neal Bodenheimer of Cure
It’s 5pm somewhere! Whether a mimosa, a Bloody Mary or another tasty concoction, Southerners love drinks that can turn an average brunch into a delicious one. Through this interactive demonstration, participants will learn how to mix an innovative batch of eye-opening cocktails.
If you’re Southern you have to know how to whip up a good breakfast cocktail. And why not start the festival off right.
3. Say Cheese Y’All, with Tim Gaddis of Star Provisions, Dustin Busby of Blackberry Farm and Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery, Saturday from 3:30 to 4:15 and Sunday from 10:30 to 11:15
Regional creations with world class tastes; Southern cheeses can’t be missed. Through this tasting seminar, participants will enjoy samples of delicious cheese paired with wine, beer and spirits.
But where that whole moderation thing that I pretend to live by comes in when we talk about the Tasting Tent and Street Cart Pavilion. In the Tasting Tent you’ll fine more than 100 purveyors of wine, beer, spirits and cuisine while the Street Cart Pavilion will be dishing up some of our regions best street cuisine from food carts.
I’m guessing the event is drawing national press, many of whom may not be familiar with such foreign terms as Brunswick Stew, Low Country Boil and collards. So someone felt it necessary to include several items to introduce Southern culture in a What to Expect release given to the press. I read it with the qualified eye that only comes from being a life-long Southerner.
Here are a few I agreed with.
• “Hey” is a common salutation to greet friends and family.
This one is true, despite some teachers in high school who tried to break us of the habit by saying, “Hey is for horses.”
• “Ma’am” and “Sir” are terms of respect. It doesn’t mean you’re old!
Also true, although not as prevalent as when I was growing up.
• When ordering ice tea, indicate “un-sweet” if you don’t want traditional Southern sweet tea.
• Ordering any Pepsi product in Coca-Cola’s backyard will get you in trouble!
This one reminds me of when we took my son to Charleston when he was a child. A truck drove by as we were touring the market and he said, “What does that spell? P E P S I?” At that point I knew I was raising a good southern boy.
As for these words of advice? Definitely not written or translated by a Southerner.
• “Y’all” may be used in plural or singular form.
Y’all is a contraction for you all and is never, ever used in a singular form.
• “Yankee” refers to anyone born or living outside of the South. It is, today, a term of endearment.
The first part is correct. The second part? Just wishful thinking. At best, it’s a neutral term but don’t count on it. But I’ll try to be nice to all the Yankees I meet this weekend. Bless their hearts.
Click here to download a full list of all programs and events.