Torrential downpours did not stop festivalgoers from coming out to Bicentennial Capitol Mall and checking out the Music City Food + Wine Festival. Attendees doubled up with umbrellas and ponchos and made their way through the demonstration and grand tasting tents. The muddy grounds and rain didn’t seem to dampen any spirits as the wine and cocktails were flowing freely and there was an endless sampling of bites from some of the best chefs around.
By far this is one of my favorite events of the year. Not only do we get to see what new tricks chefs like Tim Love and Michael Symon have up their sleeves, but the collaboration between the chefs is always a treat. I talked to people from Chicago, Ft. Worth, and Minneapolis and asked why they chose Nashville and the response was overwhelming. “Nashville just has that chill vibe and we love the southern hospitality. It’s hard to put our finger on it, but there is just something about this city.” I agree gang – there is something about this city and this festival. Pretty sure that Nashville is one of the few that concludes the two-day event with a dance party where Kings of Leon, Tim Love, and Aaron Sanchez pass out tequila and rose to festivalgoers.
While I had MANY favorites and took loads of photos, here are my top five standouts of the festival:
1. Seersucker Southern Craft Confections: Scott Witherow, owner of Olive and Sinclair Chocolate ( totally one of my guilty pleasures) decided to expand his creativity beyond the bean to bar chocolate and Seersucker Candy Company was born. There hasn’t been a piece of candy that Scott has made that I haven’t fallen head over heels for, but these Cherry Bombs BLEW ME AWAY! Rest assured, you haven’t had anything like this before. Each Cherry Bomb is filled with pickled maraschino cherries dipped in buttermilk fondant and dark chocolate. Your mouth will enjoy every decadent bite.
2. Virago: This is one of my favorite places in Nashville and I recently highlighted their Brunch with a View on blondevoyagenashville.com. Chef Andrew Whitney knocked this one out of the park, yet again. He created a lovely sashimi of Kentucky Silver Carp paired with a small bite of red pepper and cilantro. Don’t judge a book by its cover, this delicate bite packed one heck of a flavorful punch! Confession: I may have used the excuse of getting out of the rain multiple times so I could swing by and grab another one of these beauties!
3. Hattie B’s: How could I talk about Nashville food and not mention hot chicken. While I loved their Hot Chicken Jambonette, served bone-in on a bite of white bread and topped with a pickle, it was the Hot Quail Leg with Pimento Cheese grits that stole my heart. You read the description… need I say more? The creaminess of the grits lighted up the heat on the quail leg. I do hope this is one they will consider adding to the menu.
4. Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company– Pumpkin Hunter: I adore craft beer, so when I was introduced to the lovely folks of Devil’s Backbone, I was pleasantly surprised. These brewers came to play! Located in Roseland, Virgina, their brews are becoming more and more popular throughout the country, especially in the Southeast. Being totally basic, I opted for their fall choice and had the Pumpkin Hunter. Forget the pumpkin spice latte, this is where it’s at! The flavors are such that you feel like you are having a piece of pumpkin pie! They have a great tool on their website that will help you find a local retailer. Stock up on the pumpkin, it’s only here for a limited time and you don’t want to miss out!
5. Pat Martin + Friends- Open Hearth Cooking: I can’t imagine the Music City Food+Wine festival without Pat Martin and his open hearth cooking. Each year seems to surpass the last. The “pitmaster’s playground” had a variety of proteins from whole hogs, goat, chickens and even octopus to feed the masses. It definitely worth the wait in line for these goodies. Scrumptious.
I tried to keep the list short and sweet, but if you are looking for more scoop on the festival, check out my Instagram @blonde_voyage_nashville where I will be posting more of my favorites throughout the week!
Even though the dates haven’t been announced for the 2017 festival, keep an eye out on their website, http://www.musiccityfoodandwinefestival.com/ for details. I hope to see you next fall!