by Rosie Carbo, Wandering Educators
Forget the bluebonnets and the azaleas; I know spring has sprung in the Lone Star State when the first wine and food festivals begin. That’s when wine and food enthusiasts like me, keep their calendars handy.
Savor Dallas, which kicked off its 10th anniversary this week at the 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens “Dallas Blooms,” leads the pack of viticulture and epicurean festivals.
The festivals, some laid back and some formal, offer something for everyone. But in reviewing seven annual Texas food and wine festivals, I discovered that each one is different and unique in its own way.
Take Savor Dallas, which began Thursday and ends Saturday. It’s unique because in addition to the Dallas Arboretum, attendees get a chance to sip and stroll amid the architectural splendor of the world class Dallas Arts District.
Here, the Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, Meyerson Symphony Center, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, Winspear Opera House, and landmark Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral form stellar backdrops for showcasing haute cuisine prepared by the city’s best chefs and best Dallas restaurants.
“When we started this all those years ago, our mission was pretty straightforward. We wanted support the city we love, and give upscale food and wine lovers the kind of experience they deserve,” said Jim White, who founded Savor Dallas with his wife, Vicki Briley-White, in 2004.
In addition to Thursday’s first event, “Savor the Arboretum,” other venues include the Omni Dallas Hotel and Resorts and the adjacent Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. During the three-day festival, guests will indulge on craft beer, spirits, and more than 400 premium wines. Saturday’s daytime activities include a winemaker tasting panel and modern mixology seminar.
While Savor Dallas draws some 5,000 people annually, it’s not the largest nor the oldest food and wine event in Texas. But this festival-a favorite with visual arts lovers-may be one of the most affordable. Individual tickets run $20 to $150. A weekend pass is $375. An added plus is an engraved wineglass guests keep as a souvenir. For tickets visit www.savordallas.com
“It all started with the city of Grapevine; they started GrapeFest nearly 30 years ago. Now there are so many food and wine festivals in Texas each weekend, that it’s hard to decide which one to participate in,” said Paul Bonarrigo, who with his wife, Merrill, founded Messina Hof Winery in 1977 in Bryan, Texas. The winery is one of seven Texas wineries showcased at Savor Dallas this year.