The questions are coming rapid fire lately. Mel asks me which event might be nice that week for a birthday celebration. Drew is asking me if I can hook him up with freebies (that would be no) and Gelcys wants to know exactly what the River Street Wine Stroll is. Still others who are looking to volunteer are asking which might be the most fun. The good news is, people are interested. Of course they are. This will be the best thing in Savannah’s culinary history since a cookbook publisher ran into Lady and Sons to get out of the rain oh so many years ago.
There is a lot to digest. Certainly. There are a ton of great events coming to the Savannah Food and Wine Festival November 11th through the 17th. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with this types of events will likely have visions of expensive wine dinners with snooty people discussing the finer points of butterscotch undertones. Honestly? There might be some of that, but that is such a small part of this celebration of food in our fine city that you should seriously consider joining in. Cooking classes with celebrity chefs, tastings, and a wide variety of seminars are also part of the landscape that week. Need some tips on how to better use your Big Green Egg? They’ve got that too. Some of them are sold out or close to it. As we get closer, many more will. “We know the final week will see a big spike in sales.” says Michael Owens, President of the Tourism Leadership Council and one of the creators of this week long event. Of course they will. We know Savannah is in large part a drive-to market. If people in Atlanta, or Charlotte or Jacksonville or other areas within a short drive see the weather is going to be great, they will book a trip and come on down. If that happens, expect some of the remaining tickets to dry up. That is why, if you are reading this, you are likely a local. If you have any intention of enjoying any of the activities, I recommend you take a look at the line up and make a decision sooner rather than later.
I’m told ticket sales have exceeded first year expectations. Let’s be honest, this is uncharted territory for Savannah. The debate over whether or not we are a foodie town and how that is defined can continue long after this event is over, but Savannah is responding so far. Some of the celebrity chef events have predictably sold out already, but there is still plenty more out there to enjoy. Have you seen Chef Hugh Acheson on Top Chef? Then you know he’s a hoot and will offer a good time. Do you know what makes Napa Valley wines different than Sonoma? Fair question, there’s a place for you to enjoy that as well. Have you enjoyed Taste of Savannah in the past? The “Taste” experience this year will unlike any Savannah has seen before. With all of that as a backdrop, I am going to give you 3 of my top picks for the week of November 11th through the 17th. It does not for one second mean the other events are less worthy of your time and attention because I personally wish I could attend all of them. Look at them all right now at savannahfoodandwinefest.com
Taste of Savannah. If you know the history of how this Food and Wine Festival, then you know that it was a desire to make Taste of Savannah bigger, better, and a crown jewel for this community that led to the creation of this festival. That said, “Taste” is at the end of the week, but it will be the most popular. By far. Thousands are expected to come to Ellis Square on Saturday afternoon from 12:00pm to 4:00pm. There will be free tastes, waiter races, bartender challenges and events for kids as well. This will be the ultimate celebration of food in Savannah. I can’t wait. If you wait until day of to buy your ticket, you will wait in line. Buy ahead, get your bar code beeped upon arrival and walk right in. There is no other event where planning ahead will be more of a smart move.
Full day of Learning experiences at the International Trade and Convention Center. For one price you can stroll the trade center from 10:00am until 5:00pm and enjoy a variety of classes, seminars, and tastings. It’s your best one stop shop value for the day where you can enjoy anything from a Big Green Egg demo to a bourbon tasting.
Michael Mondavi Family Estate Dinner. Saturday night 8:00pm at The Westin Savannah Harbor. When festival organizers pitched the idea to the Mondavi family, I am told they had them essentially at hello. Well, “hello” and “Savannah.” Rob Mondavi and his family have jumped into this festival with enough passion and excitement to light up Las Vegas. This final dinner of the week is going to be over the top. The family is going to bring some exclusive wines to the table at this event. Very literally. Yes, the price is steep at $225, but I’m told this type of event would sell for much much more somewhere else.
My goodness. Wine dinners at The Pink House, The Mansion, Circa 1875 (that one was described to me and it will be visually stunning), and opportunities to meet some great great Chefs. Some of the best in the South. The bottom line is there is something for everyone all week long. All price ranges, all levels of knowledge. I wish I could enjoy them all. However, Eat It and Like It will be documenting a lot the events all week long for a special 30 minute show on this celebration. It’s coming in December. So, I’l be working here, there and everywhere. It’s going to be a great time, tickets will disappear. Plan ahead and get ready to Eat It and Like It. All week long.
See you on TV.