Pride overflows as the Alamo City celebrates its tricentennial. The country’s seventh largest city is embracing its distinguished past, while looking forward to an even brighter future, with a collection of official celebrations. The famed Culinaria Wine and Food Festival was one of the most anticipated.
Culinara, an independent, not-for-profit organization, committed to celebrating the city of San Antonio as a first-class wine and food destination, recently held their annual multi-day Wine and Food Festival. The weekend of events attracted thousands and was held at La Cantera Resort & Spa, a 550-acre oasis with sweeping scenic views of the Texas Hill Country.
The 19th annual wine and food festival kicked off on Thursday evening, May 17th, with Bubbles at Topaz, the exclusive adult pool at La Cantera Resort and Spa. The beautiful sunset backdrop against the sparking water of the infinity pool set the stage for guests to enjoy an exciting evening of sipping sparking wines and enjoying light bites from local eateries. Guests got even more excited when they heard that Bravo television cameras were at the champagne-filled evening to film with a group of ladies slated to be part of the ever growing ‘Housewives’ franchise of reality television shows.
Texas Grand Tasting, the extravagant wine-paring event, took over the Grand Ballroom on Friday evening with a bevy of food from local chefs, beer, spirits and— of course—lots of great wines from all over the world. Those in attendance danced the night away to the live band while enjoying small bites and sips under twinkling chandeliers.
Saturday at Culinara has historically been an evening dedicated to highlighting the city’s beloved Mexican-style cuisine, aka Tex-Mex. This year, event organizers decided to mix it up a bit by rebranding the afternoon as the Texas Taco Showdown. Taco shops from across the state came to battle with local taco giants to determine which would be crowned the best in the state, affording the winner bragging rights for the next year, along with a cash grand prize.
While attendees strolled from table to table, sampling tacos, beer, wine, and spirits, more than a dozen taco aficionados offered up their palettes, including yours truly, to judge offerings from each kitchen in the competition. Attendees also enjoyed food seminars, demos, and shopping at the Culinary District with pop-up restaurants. When all of the judges’ scores and notes were in, El Ultimo Taco Taqueria of Brownsville won the contest.
The weekend wrapped with Sunday’s much-anticipated event, Burgers, BBQ and Beer. Attendees enjoyed the fun backyard party concept overlooking the beautiful Texas Hill Country as chefs serving up inventive burger creations and plenty of smoked meats, along with some final food seminars and demos, wine, cocktails and last-minute shopping at the Culinary District.
Lead by a volunteer board, Culinara seeks to enrich the next generation of culinary stars by finding opportunities and scholarships with the proceeds from the events they produce. They have an endowment fund with the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management – San Antonio and give funds to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). With a worthwhile mission like that, yours truly can’t wait to support Culinaria 2019!