It may have been over a month ago, but I’m still musing about the great finds this year from the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival which brings together some of the best chefs from around the state for a weekend of festivities. If you haven’t been before, it’s like a statewide holiday for foodies full of cooking classes, tastings, dinners and tours of the Hill Country Wineries. It’s enough to overwhelm the best palates. I was fortunate enough this year to participate in the Stars Across Texas event on Friday night at the Long Center and Sunday Fair at the Salt Lick.
At the Stars Across Texas event on Friday night, we tasted lovely bites from our Austin favorites, but I was most excited to talk to chefs from other cities who were cooking with local ingredients. Chef Jason Dady who has five restaurants in San Antonio (The Lodge Restaurant, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros BBQ Market and Restaurant Insignia) spoke with enthusiasm about integrating local ingredients in his menus. Whether its the game at The Lodge or the market pizza at Bin 555, he’s doing his best to work farm fresh produce into his dishes.
Of course, nothing topped the news that Chef John Besh, the famed Executive Chef and owner of August, Domenica, La Provence and others, is opening Luke in San Antonio this fall. Chef Besh and Chef Stephen McHugh represented the new restaurant with enthusiasm throughout the festival.
Delysia Chocolatier made their wine and food festival debut as well, profiling their award winning chocolates, particularly their chocolates made with Texas wines.
The day was brought home by a cooking demo from Chef David Bull, who has most recently been working with Bolla in Dallas, and is enthusiastically opening two new restaurants this fall at the Austonian. As he prepped his Texas quail for the Sunday Fair audience, he reminded us all the home cooks of the importance of using fresh local ingredients to capture the best flavor in the dish. He definitely brought the flavors home with his Green Chili Buttered Bandera Quail with Corn & Monterey Jack Fondue. It was beyond finger-licking good.
Click here for the full photo set of food artisan products.