Texas Hill Country Food and Wine

Held every spring, the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival is a celebration of the rapidly expanding food and wine culture to be found in Central Texas. This 501(c)4 non-profit organization was founded in 1986, and their annual festivals have become one of the hottest tickets in town. Held over a four-day span, and featuring a multitude of events scattered throughout the greater Austin area, this festival highlights the cutting edge chefs, writers, food and wine producers who have elevated Texas into the culinary firmament.

The festival is concentrated in some of downtown Austin’s most revered establishments, from the posh haute cuisine of the Four Seasons, to Austin’s own Spanish tapas restaurant, Malaga. The events radiate out from this locus, including other Austin institutions such as Central Market, and spreading out into the Hill Country wineries including Fall Creek, Becker and Spicewood. The festival culminates in an all-day fair, often held in San Gabriel Park near Georgetown.

The events run the gamut from the frenetic heated battles of Iron Chef-style competitions, to Hill Country luncheons held amid the spring wildflowers at one of the participating wineries. Film and food are combined in events held at the Alamo Drafthouse, and music and food are combined in events such as Uncorked and Acoustic, featuring some of the finest talent Austin has to offer playing acoustically while participants enjoy food prepared by Austin’s finest food talents. Bat cruises, reserve tastings, winemaker dinners and much more round out the weekend’s offerings.

The premier event is the festival’s Grand Tasting. Fittingly known as Stars Across Texas, the celebrated chefs featured here are from the hottest restaurants in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, the Hill Country and beyond – all bring their best to this unique event. The chefs and winemakers circulate throughout the event, giving participants the change to mingle and speak with these artisans in a unique milieu. With more restaurants, chefs, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, viticulturists and winemakers present than at any other event, this is truly the crown jewel of the festival.

The Sunday Fair is a less structured, more family-oriented event during which participants can sip and sample their way through a myriad of tents. Vendors include wineries, food artisans and restaurants from Texas and beyond, all proffering their specialties. Renowned chefs provide cooking demonstrations, discussion and panels are held on different food and wine-oriented topics, and since it is Austin, after all, you can count on some of the best live music from some of Austin’s favorite musicians.

Throughout the four days of the festival, over thirty individual events are held, highlighting the products of more than one hundred restaurants, and at least sixty wineries. Although most speakers and presenters are Texan, guests are invited from other parts of the country, and the world, to illuminate Texas’ impact on food and wine across the globe. The Festival is a affiliated with the prestigious James Beard Foundation, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN program, the Texas Restaurant Association and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas.

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