Eat, Drink and Be Merry at Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

This celebration of Southern cuisine is four days of food and fun. Follow our guide to find the best of the fest.

With more than 100 seminars, demonstrations and panel discussions from a who’s who of culinary talent (250 from 14 states), the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is three days of foodie heaven. The brainchild of Dominque Love and Elizabeth Feichter, who hit on the idea after attending the famed Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, the event is the only food festival in the country to celebrate the South all its culinary bounty. Here’s the low down on filling up.

Classes & Demos:

The wines of Portugal, Missississippi on the grill, culinary-inspired beers, BBQ crab, free-range duck, raw chocolate desserts from Patagonia and Florida “Cracker” cuisine (derived from Scottish-Irish settlers in the back woods of Florida in the 1700s) are just some of the unique classes you can sign up for this year. Also on the agenda: cocktail demonstrations, technique labs and blind tastings.

Chefs (and brothers) Kent & Kevin Rathbun
Chefs (and brothers) Kent & Kevin Rathbun light up the grill (photo courtesy Atlanta Food & Wine Fest)

Tasting Tents:

Enjoy food and drink from more than 100 award-winning chefs. Themed tasting “trails” are designed to take guests on a culinary exploration of the South. Examples including craft beer, bourbon, chicken, seafood, pork, sandwiches nad more—just pick a path and dig in. Friday from 3-6 pm, Saturday from 2:30-5:30 pm.

Connoisseur Experience:

Geared to serious foodies, this program offers reserve food and beverage classes and tastings, and access to a super-fancy Connoisseur Lounge created by award-winning Atlanta designer William Peace. It's pricey, but worth it. 

More Foodie Fun:

When the tents are closed, the celebration continues at dinners and Southern-style soirees. On the calendar are Pig Out: Coastal Style, a seafood feast at JCT Kitchen & Bar May 29; an About South dinner at the Atlanta History Center May 30; A tribute dinner to Southern Farmers May 31; and Rathbun’s Watch List Party May 31.

Guests toast good times
Guests toast good times at one of the festival's after parties (Courtesy Atlanta Food & Wine Fest)

Tickets & Info:

The festival is May 29-June 1 in Midtown. Key Locations include the Loews Atlanta Hotel (11th and Peachtree), site of all classes and the Conoisseur Lounge; and Tasting Tents (12th St. & Peachtree Walk). Admission to the Tasting Tents is $100; festival day passes start at $185. The Connoisseur Experience, aimed at serious foodies with special food, access, classes and a Connoisseur Lounge is $700 a day. Guests must be 21 or older. All events take place rain or shine.