Fort Worth is a city known for many great things in its history, and it looks as though the city has begun to make its mark on the food festival scene Touted as the largest consumer wine event in North Texas, The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival offered guests a tasty tour of the city with six events showcasing everything from chef-driven canapés to amazing brunch offerings, Juicy burgers and great music.
During my trip to Fort Worth, I stayed in The Texas White House, a century-old bed & breakfast that boasts beautiful modern touches and delicious food of its own. I stayed in the Tejas Suite, and just fell in love with the place. It was definitely a warm welcome to cowtown, and felt like being back at home. The Texas White House is chef-owned and as such, the breakfasts were fantastic. My room was a great size and had everything that I could ask for. Their attention to detail really helps make each room stand out and have its own personality.
The first event I went to was the Barbecue Showdown at the W.R. Watt Arena, and they needed every inch of the arena to hold all of the excitement. Pit-masters from across the state made the pilgrimage to Fort Worth to showcase their skills before a panel of judges and a hungry crowd of barbecue lovers ready to treat their palates. Alongside the pit-masters were some of the best wineries and vineyards Texas has to offer. The wines were flowing freely for guests to taste and learn about, and most were well-received. My personal favorite wine came from Llano Estacado Winery, but I was most pleased by the tequila varieties presented by Dulce Vida — pair that with the mouth-watering barbecue creations across the arena and you’ve got it made. The winning pit-masters of the evening were Costt Gottlich and Matt Dallman who came over from Dallas representing 18th and Vine BBQ, and their dish deserved top honors.
The next night, I ventured to #latenight Desserts After Dark to get a look at the next competition. In this event 12 pastry chefs and 12 mixologists created special treats and drinks with one catch — they had to incorporate Firestone & Roberson’s TX Blended Whiskey in their creations. This event was definitely a highlight of the festival, with guests of all ages socializing and having a great time dancing and trying the treats.
This time around, guests could also vote on their favorite dessert and favorite drink and scores were counted near the end of the event. The crowd favorites — and rightfully so — were from Reata and The Worthington Renaissance Hotel. Once the winners were announced the party really kicked off! I was thankful to have a comfy bed to look forward to after a night of dancing and desserts.
The final competition of the festival that I checked out was the Burgers, Brews & Blues out at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork, and this contest did not disappoint by any means. The music was lively wit a talented lineup, but the headliner of the day had to be the burgers. Simply put, this was burger heaven. More than 10 chefs grilled up slider-sized bites to satiate guests’ cravings. Coupled with more than 20 craft breweries from across the state, it was the perfect way to spend the day. Celebrity judges chose their favorite burgers, while guests could vote on the crowd favorite as well. The announcement touted Freds Texas Café as the judges’ favorite and Grace/Little Red Wasp as the crowd favorite. Personally, I fell in love with the burger from Fort Worth’s own Rodeo Goat. I just had to try it twice.
All-in-all, Fort Worth is creating an amazing festival with this idea, and I was impressed with how well everything was planned, coordinated, and executed. There’s room for growth, and if this year’s turnout is any indication of the future then next year’s Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival will only be bigger and better. If you want to see more highlights from the festival, then check out our Facebook photo album.