The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

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••• At the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Tasting Tents. Akila McConnell, licensed to About.com

In 2016, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is held on June 2 to 5, 2016.

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival showcases the South's biggest and best food talents, bringing in restaurateurs and chefs from Texas to North Carolina.  Though it is the newest festival sponsored by Food & Wine magazine and does not feature television celebrity chefs like Food & Wine's other events, the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival has serious charm and foodie chops.

 In fact, in some ways, we preferred the smaller and cozier environment, because it gives visitors the opportunity to get to talk with chefs and producers in an informal environment.

The festival includes three basic types of events:

Classes:

The classes are split between cooking classes, technique classes, grilling classes, and tasting seminars but the distinction between these blurs, since, at all of these classes, chefs and mixologists teach and prepare food and drinks in front of you.  In most classes, you will taste the end product and learn about the technique and skills involved.  

Classes at the 2014 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival ranged from grilling events like the International Barbeque class to dessert-focused classes like the one on Southern Pastries to a history lesson on George Washington's Grist Mill.  The festival specializes in featuring local Southern cuisine and included classes on "Florida Cracker Cuisine," "Creole and Cajun Through Gumbo," and "Juleps of the South." There are numerous wine and cocktail sessions and the festival got creative in handling Georgia's Blue Laws by providing classes on non-alcoholic beverages and "Sipping Chocolates" on Sunday morning.

In 2016, classes include "A Whole Cow on the Grill," "Migration of Ingredients," a "Vegetable Tailgating," and numerous classes focused on wine, such as "Chardonnay: Your Best Frenemy."  

Tasting Tents:

The Tasting Tents are the *big* event at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, which brings together over 185 chefs, restaurateurs, bakers, and producers to serve up samples of their products in this all you can eat and all you can drink event.

 Check out this slideshow to get an idea of the best tastes at the 2014 Tasting Tents.

Dinners:  

Unlike the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival which hosts multiple dinners each night, there are only a few extra dinners offered at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.  The big dinner of the season is the About South dinner, which brings together dozens of the South's best chefs at the Atlanta History Center.  Tickets to the dinners are in addition to the day passes.

 

The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is held in Midtown Atlanta, which has a huge variety of hotel and restaurant options.  Many participating hotels offer specials during the Food & Wine weekend, as well.

Tickets begin at $100 for the Tasting Tents alone to three day Connoisseur passes for $2,000, which includes all of the Tasting Tents, classes, and dinners, plus access to special classes and a Connoisseur lounge.