The 2014 Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, at first glance, was an occasion of delicious, unrestrained consumption.
There were tasting tents galore with all the beer, wine, and spirits one could hold (and if one couldn’t hold a glass, a handy stemware neck holder made things a little less confusing, courtesy of Delta). That’s to say nothing of the food, which was provided by some of the best chefs in the South. There was a great range in types of cuisines, from the highbrow pesce crudo and panna cotta, to the down home air-dried sausage and pimiento cheese.
The real highlights of the weekend were when quintessential Southern flavors were allowed to speak loudest. A powerful current at the festival was the raising up of seemingly low-to-the-ground ingredients and local flavors. The most resonating tastes from this festival were the ones that celebrated Southern cuisines for what they are and what they can be: balanced, uncontrived but sophisticated in character, and imbued with meaning.
A list of the things that kept coming up and impressing us: sorghum, field peas, foraged food like fiddleheads, ramps, angelica and sassafras; broken Carolina gold rice (a byproduct of milling rice, basically the stuff that’s swept off the milling room floor), lard and jowl meat, rabbit.
Read on for 14 highlights from the 2014 Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.
No One Went Thirsty
A volunteer offered festivalgoers shots at noon on Friday at the “Mississippi on the Grill” workshop.
Complimentary Wine Holster
A crucial piece of equipment when both hands are carrying full plates from the tasting tents.