The Weekend Gourmet: San Antonio's Culinary Food & Wine Festival #culinariasa F

Saturday, June 4, 2016

San Antonio's Culinary Food & Wine Festival #culinariasa

The annual Spring Culinaria Festival Week was held here in San Antonio May the week of May 19-22. Culinaria Festival Week is a popular food and wine festival that features multiple food and wine events over the course of four amazing days. With everything from casual food to upscale, gourmet cuisine...and beer to champagne...Festival Week truly offered something for every kind of foodie to enjoy! Michael and I attended two Culinaria events held at La Cantera Resort during Festival Week this year. We enjoyed the upscale casual Tacos and Talk (and Tasting) event, and the more formal evening Grand Tasting (Reimagined). Both of these great events featured lots of tasty food from local restaurants and premium wine and cocktails. Add it all up, and you have a one fabulous time! Wait until you see all of the pictures of the great food and drinks we sampled... 

Tacos and Talk (and Tasting) on Saturday afternoon featured lots of great tacos served in a gorgeous outdoor location at La Cantera Resort. It also featured a variety of informative wine and cocktail information sessions and tastings. I attended a wine session to learn about  Texas Tempranillo wines. A panel of Texas winemakers told us about their Tempranillo wines, and we were able to sample each one. If you've never tried this red wine varietal, you should definitely seek it out. Tempranillo grapes are typically grown in Spain and Portugal, but the climate here in Texas is also ideal for growing this grape too. It was interesting to note the range of flavors of each winery's offering, we each had our personal favorites. Tempranillo is a perfect match for the spicy foods that we tend to like in Texas...like tacos! After the wine class, we headed out to explore the taco offerings.

We sampled tart seafood ceviche, festive tequila-based cocktails, and lots of tasty tacos. One of the most creative tacos we sampled that afternoon were the shredded pork tacos with a jicama "tortilla." It was really good, light and refreshing -- perfect for our hot Texas Summers! It paired nicely with chips, guacamole, and salsa. 
The taco event overlooked sweeping vistas of the surrounding Hill Country from La Cantera's outdoor patio. It was a warm day, but the amazing food, cool cocktails, and entertainment ensured everyone had a great time! My favorite cocktail featured tequila, pineapple, and fresh basil. It was fruity, slightly sweet, and had a nice herbal punch from the basil. My favorite taco of the day was a grilled shrimp taco that featured a mango salsa and tangy pickled onions. It was light, yet filling...and it paired perfectly with my tequila cocktail. As we enjoyed our tacos, we enjoyed a performance from a Mexican dance troupe. Tacos and Talk (and Tastings) was a great way to spend an early Summer afternoon. 
Thanks to frequent shuttle buses, parking at the free offsite parking lot was easy and quick. Before we knew it, it was time to head home to relax a bit and get changed for The Grand Tasting later that evening!

The Grand Tasting is the signature event of the Culinaria Festival Week. It features live music and dancing, delicious food from some of San Antonio's best chefs, and lots of great wine and cocktails to taste. This year's event was held in one of La Cantera Resort's large ballrooms. We took our time walking around the perimeter of the ballroom, where the food stations were positioned. There was a wide range of tasty food to sample. We especially enjoyed the large cheese and charcuterie display that local grocery store H-E-B presented -- it was creative and very tasty. Speaking of creative, one of my favorite offerings was from Chef Jason Dady. He offered a fun interactive dish. Cucumber, cilantro, a creamy sauce, and hamachi was stacked on top of lime halves. To eat, we squeezed the limes to release the juice and popped the toppings into our mouth...an explosion of flavors!
My favorite sweet bite was the fun smores cupcakes from the Omni Colonade chefs. The cupcakes featured a crispy graham cracker base, a fudgy cake layer, and a torched marshmallow cream topping. It was a childhood favorite given the gourmet treatment...so good that I had two! This fun event featured tastings of amazing food, tastings of great wines, and other tasty bites. We had a great time sampling all of the yummy offerings. 
Before we knew it, the Grand Tasting was over. We hopped into a convenient air conditioned shuttle bus that was located just outside the venue. We were quickly taken to our car in the satellite parking lot up the street, easy peasy. Michael and I made our way home, commenting that we're already looking forward to next year's Grand Tasting event!

Disclosure: Culinaria provided me with complimentary tickets to Tacos and Talk (and Tastings) and The Grand Tasting to facilitate this article. All opinions provided are solely my own.

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