The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 2016

A couple of weeks ago, the Hubs and I were laying in bed about to doze off when he suddenly said, "Hey, how would you like to go to the Napa Wine, Food and Music Festival"?  Well, I would LOVE that!  Until, that is, I found out it was Memorial Day Weekend and that was only a short time away AND I was pretty sure the flights (and points) would be high if there were any left at all...not to mention being able to find a reasonable place to stay.  So, although that sounded REALLY nice, he searched around and guess what he found?  Our very own state hosts an annual wine and food event too!  Yep...New Orleans was having their Wine and Food Experiencet that very same weekend.  It was within driving distance and there were plenty of rooms available so we made the plan to head that way Friday morning.

Well, it might have only been a three hour drive from our house to New Orleans but the holiday weekend had the traffic jammed up terribly.  That and us getting a little later start that day had me worried that we might miss our first event, which was the Royal Street Stroll.  We actually pulled up in time to check into our hotel, hop in a cab and join the fun down on Royal Street.  There were food and wine venders set up all down the street and along with some music and a little parade, we had a GREAT time!
 Yep, I know it was a "wine" and food event but Stella Artois and a couple other drink companies were there as well.  I don't drink beer but Hubby wanted the glasses so...
 We gave them our tickets and they gave us a wine glass and wrist band, which entitled us to eat and drink to our heart's content!
 Wow was the food ever yummy, too;  It was all provided by local restaurants.  The wines were from vineyards all over and we got to taste some really good ones.  In addition to all of that, the weather was PERFECT for an outdoor event that evening.  WIN, WIN, WIN!

     After we had our fill, we hopped on a bicycle taxi and had him drop us off at our hotel.
As long as I've been coming to New Orleans, I've wanted one of these guys to ride me around on their bicycle taxi and that night I finally got to experience it!  I am truly amazed that these guys can pedal that much weight around...imagine the muscles in their legs!

We called it a night because Saturday was going to be a big day for us.  There were so many events to choose from that we just basically picked a few out of a hat and The Royal Street Stroll was awesome!  Saturday we planned to participate in three separate events, starting with Women, Wine and Wagu.
This event was not just for women, although I wondered at first.  It was the head chef from Brennan's Steak House (a woman) and the sommelier who was also a woman with the local wagu cattle farmer to tell us a little bit about this type of beef and taste some prepared dishes, paired with wines.  As you can see, there were seven different wines we tasted and the beef?  OUT.  OF.  THIS.  WORLD!  Best beef I have ever tasted.  We really enjoyed this seminar and I would definitely do another one like it next year (Yep...I think this is going to be an annual tradition for us!).

Later that evening, we went to The Grand Tasting.  This was held in the convention center and was UNBELIEVABLE!  There were about 1,000 food and wine venders there with SO MUCH for us to taste.  There were tables set up and little lounging areas with live music being played and even a cooking competition going on...
   This backdrop was set up just outside the door before you entered The Grand Tasting Event.
Once we entered the doors, there was so much activity.  Food and wine was set up everywhere and let me just tell you this...you really need to pace yourself here!
           This is dark chocolate covered bacon with nuts on it and a cream filled strawberry.

 Can you see these little plates?  You got another wine glass upon entering this event and this little plate that held your wine glass.  I think I need some of these for my next party!
While I am shellfish allergic and could not try some foods, Hubby could and said they were wonderful.
Here's a shot of the cooking competition.  There was a commentator who spoke while the chefs were preparing dishes.  It was a timed competition and there was seating where one could sit and sip their wine while watching.  Pretty cool since cooking shows are really the "thing" these days.
We made our exit and went back to our hotel (which was just across the street) for the last event we had signed up for:  The Big Gateaux Show.

The Big Gateaux Show was the dessert competition.  It was actually a burlesque show and the cake competition was inspired by four of the dancers.
Each dancer stood on a pedestal next to the cake that was inspired by her.  Then, beside each cake was a table with several cupcakes or cupcake like desserts that we could taste.
                                    This is the cake the above dancer was the inspiration for.




 See that little jar with the coins in it?  Each person entering was given a token to place in the jar of their favorite dessert table.  At the end of the night, a People's Choice Award was given to that pastry chef.

The weekend at The New Orleans Wine and Food Event was great.  Louisiana has so many festivals but I never knew about this particular event that has been going on for years.  I'm really glad that we found it because we now plan to put this on our calendar each year and invite friends along!







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