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Top view of tasting tents in 2021

Courtesy photo of Rafterman

The 11th annual Atlanta Food and Wine Festival will take place September 15-18 at the Old Fourth Ward, Westside, and restaurants across the city. It may seem like forever, but starting today, discount tickets available for one week only. This year’s theme is “Love Letter to the South”. Chefs, pit masters, sommeliers, brewers and mixologists from all 13 southern states will gather in our city to showcase and share examples of their craft.

Chef and restaurateur Pat Pascarella of Grana, White Bull and Baston will be at the festival for the first time, joining returning chefs Jos Peña (Iberian Pig) and Ron Hsu and Aarons Phillips (Lazy Betty). Expect fares from Aziza, Pie Bar and Hattie B’s, among the many local restaurants.

New this year was the opening party of the indoor and outdoor festival called Cut: AF&WF party in pieces. Taking place on September 15 from 7pm to 10pm at the Guardian Works on the Westside, this event will be an exclusive tasting event with unlimited slices of pizza, chicken pie, quiche, brisket and bread (amongst others), plus beer. wine and cocktails. Early tickets are $95, with prices going up to $125 on July 1st.

Pasta from Atlanta Food and Wine Festival Dinner at Lazy Betty’s in 2021.

Photo by Chris Aluka Berry/Raftermen Photography

Tastes of Hattie B

Courtesy photo of Rafterman

Just as unique Cluck’d: Chicken Cocktail Party, September 16 from 19:00 to 22:00, also at the Guardian Works. Fifteen of the best chefs will knead, fry, fry, fry, bake and grill the famous bird and prepare signature cocktails. Early tickets are $95, with prices going up to $125 on July 1st.

“We try not to go backwards and do everything we’ve always done — we’re trying to be more innovative,” says Brett Friedman, co-founder and managing partner of Agency21, the festival’s producer.

In this vein, AF&WF has discontinued the intimate workshops it used to run at Loews.
Hotel Atlanta. Although Loews will return as the base camp for the festival, no events will take place there.

“We’re doing a disservice if we don’t evolve,” says Friedman. “[The festival] started 12 years ago. Now people are more comfortable on the street, and we want people to be comfortable.”

Drinks at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival 2021 Brunch at Woodall Restaurant

Courtesy photo of Rafterman

Instead, Agency21 decided to include additional cooking and mixology demonstrations in the program. Grand tasting Events September 17-18 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Fourth Ward Historical Park. (Doors open at 1:00 p.m. for VIP ticket holders.) Once again, tasting tents will focus on the barbecue and tailgate, but Friedman emphasizes that with more than 100 vendors, there will be plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. One-day tickets with early booking cost $75 ($110 for VIP). Prices will increase to $99 for general admission and $150 for VIP on July 1st.

Although the festival has the word “wine” in its name, the tasting tents have an almost equal amount of beer and spirits. “Mixology has exploded in the last few years, so it would be a disservice not to include mixologists from all over the South,” Friedman says. “The reality is that every person has a certain taste profile that suits them. Variety discourages overconsumption. It should be everything so everyone can have an amazing experience.”

Games at the Big Tasting in 2021

Courtesy photo of Rafterman

In addition to food, drink, and demonstrations, Grand Tasting has games and lounges. Last year there was even ax throwing.

“It’s all about sensory overload,” Friedman says.

Prefer a more intimate setting? Chef’s brunches and dinners will be announced next month.

Visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com for tickets and more information. All events are restricted to ages 21 and over. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Children of Conservation School Lunch Program, which provides nutritious meals to children in Africa.

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