How to survive a Food and Wine Festival
I was recently talking to a friend and food blogger who was attending the Atlanta food and wine festival for the first time. She had started early and finished late, tasting everything that was offered. This resulted in her having “Charlie horses and Hangovers” the next day. This caused me to start reminiscing about all the different food and wine festivals I have attended and the lessons I have learned along the way.
Lesson #1 Its a marathon , not a sprint
Our first festival was the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. We started going to this festival when it was first picked up by Food and Wine Magazine. This was the golden age of food and wine festivals, when sponsors had gracious budgets and a 6oz pour was the norm. I swear it was really hosted by the Greek god Dionysus and we knocked Gluttony off our 7 Deadly Sins list. We were green novices when it came to festivals. We knew not what we were doing and lost our damn minds with table after table of premium spirits, wine, and food. Hell, even the free water was Panna (and I was drinking that in a water goblet). Let me put this in context for you; every table was offering either Kobe beef, lobster, shrimp, reserve wines or craft and boutique spirits.
PRO TIP : PACE YOURSELF
[would you recommend getting a lay of the land first? Scope out all the vendors and make a plan of attack? Do you identify your “must try” vs. “If I haven’t exploded or passed out” picks?] I know it’s hard to say no to a fried chicken slider, but the next table has a Kobe beef slider! Do you eat the shrimp or the lobster? Do you really eat the cake, Anna Mae? What are you going to choose? The chicken or the beef? Your stomach can only hold so much so choose wisely. A great food and wine festival is like a premium Golden Corral buffet, but longer and with booze. Barseatwithrsc is here for all of it.
Lesson #2: Hydrate = drink lots of water
The rule of thumb is for every cocktail that you drink you should also drink a glass of water. We learned this lesson the hard way by choosing a grand tasting that started at 11am. We had a light European breakfast of a slice of bread and a sip of orange juice. We came suited and booted to eat and drink our body weight and no one was going to stop us. Well… we made a series of bad decisions that came down like a row of dominoes. We did not eat enough before we left. We started very early. And we did not HYDRATE. This food and wine festival had two separate tents, remember EXTRA LONG BUFFETS at each. Because I did not hydrate, my behind was 18 sheets to the wind and ended up falling asleep in the sand between tent 1 and tent 2. Not a good look. My husband left me there because I was not going to rain on his parade.
Lesson #3: Dont over load your schedue
Food and Wine festivals will often have multiple events that are going on throughout the day. If this is your first rodeo, then don’t try to go to every event. I promise It will be okay. You always have next year to find out how to make craft beer using kitchen scraps. There will usually be classes or seminars earlier in the day that cover a variety of topics from “home bar essentials” to “the food and wine of Argentina”. If you’ve paid $125 for a ticket then you want to get your money’s worth. I get it. However, “Don’t even up to intoxicated to finish out your day”. The seminars are usually pouring high priced wines that may never grace your own table. I once went to a Rothschild tasting that had 6 different pours. Do you think I left a damn drop in any of the glasses? Hell Naw. The same applied to a Bourbon tasting that featured Pappy Van Winkle and Willett bourbon. I drank every drop like it was the giver of life. I then gave myself 3 hours before my next event to allow for digestion and recovery. #POW I was grand tasting ready after that.