Held on the beautiful grounds of Laguna Gloria, La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival is an event I’ve been wanting to try for years. Benefitting The Contemporary Austin’s art education program, more than 40 of Austin and Central Texas’ top restaurants, vineyards and coffee shops come together to showcase their best offerings.
Having recently been to other festivals, with long lines and long waits, we thought it best to arrive early. Not here; getting in was a breeze. Show your tickets, visit the table with the endless rows of wine glasses, grab one, and you are on your way.
As you make your way through the Laguna Gloria’s twelve lakeside acres, there were many delicious samplings, from Swift’s Attic “Devils on Horseback” (candied bacon wrapped figs stuffed with gorgonzola) to the savory pork and beef meatballs from East Side Showroom in a chunky, hearty, tomato sauce. For a fun twist on a Texas classic, head over to Ranch 616’s booth to get their Frito chili pie prepared right in a snack sized Frito’s pack. All the Frito pie goodness you love but cooled off and lightened up with lettuce, pico de gallo and a creamy cilantro sauce. Thankfully there were lighter dishes, from sushi, salads, gazpachos and those delicious roasted red peppers with herbs on a cracker from Travaasa Resort and Spa.
And let’s not forget about the desserts! The ladies of Delish were working hard to keep their table of cloud topped merengue cupcakes replenished, while passing out their unique crispy treats. They had the most beautiful table hands down. The folks at Amy’s Ice Creams were offering a decadent brownie, topped with pumpkin ice cream and candied pralines.
The variety of wine is equally impressive. Along with a substantial presence from Twin Liquors, with French, Italian and Spanish offerings, there were some surprising finds from Texas wineries. My top pick was a smooth velvety Sangiovese-Cabernet blend called VIVIANO from Llano Estacado in Lubbock, Texas. It’s 100% Texas grapes with substantial tannins, and a velvety, smooth finish. The much raved about Becker Raven (Malbec-Petit Verdot blend) was a close second. It’s dry, smooth, and easy drinking to pair well with much of the variety in food samplings.
When you need a break from the delicious bites – and you will – take a glass of wine down to the lake and rest up under the twinkling lights for the next round of tastings.