Some may love the return of spring because of the wildflowers suddenly blooming or the longer daylight hours, but for San Antonio foodies, the season is most exciting for one thing: the arrival of the Culinaria Food + Wine Festival.
Tickets are now on sale for the annual celebration of Alamo City’s brightest culinary talent. Now in its 19th year, the festival brings together top chefs and beverage pros for a long weekend of tasty activities running May 17-20. The festival serves as a fundraiser for the namesake organization's nonprofit arm, which provides education and promotion of San Antonio’s food scene and is developing an urban farm.
Like last year, the festival hub will be the La Cantera Resort & Spa, taking advantage of the gorgeous Hill Country views. The weekend kicks off May 17 with a sunset party at Topaz, the resort’s poolside restaurant. There, guests will pop their corks for a Champagne tasting accompanied by light bites.
A few lucky guests will then head out to Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg on May 18 for a wine pairing lunch with chefs Geronimo Lopez (Botika); David Yokuty (Tribeca 212); Lisa Astorga Watel (Bite); and Stephanie Norcio (Supper at Hotel Emma). In addition to Becker, Texas, winemakers Lost Oak Winery, Llano Estacado, and Haak Vineyards will also be on hand.
The marquee evening event on May 18 is the Texas Grand Tasting in the San Antonio Ballroom at the resort. The sip-and-stroll features plenty of wine and bites from some of San Antonio’s rising culinary stars. The VIP ticket includes access to exclusive beverage tastings and a dedicated chef and restaurant. The organization also plans to announce a few extra perks in the coming weeks.
On May 19, festival-goers can cheer on the competitors of the Texas Taco Showdown as homegrown talent battles it out with kitchens from across the state for bragging rights. “We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, so we’re very pleased to finally bring this unique taco championship to San Antonio,” said Culinaria president and CEO Suzanne Taranto-Etheredge about the new event. “We can’t wait to see and taste the imaginative and traditional presentations of one of the beloved staples of Texas cuisine.”
While letting their stomachs settle for the next round, guests can attend a variety of food seminars, activations, demos and pop-ups at the Culinary District — or keep the party going by visiting one of the pop-up restaurants from Grayze on Grayson Street, La Cantera Resort & Spa, and Baklovah and Pasha Mediterranean Grill. Throughout it all, wine, beer, and cocktails will be flowing.
Rounding out the fest's activities will be a huge outdoor party called Burgers, BBQ, & Beer. Local chefs will be cooking over live fires at the site as guests prepare to be induced into the ultimate food coma.
A variety of ticket packages are available now. Guests looking to stay near the action can use the code CULINARIA18 for special rates at La Cantera.