Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

The second Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, this past weekend, was leaps and bounds better than last year for those gluten free. I remember being so excited in 2011 when there were a handful of dishes I could eat. This year, there was such a selection that I didn’t know what to do with myself. So instead of rambling I’ll just get right on to the good stuff – here are my best gluten free picks of the weekend – separated into the best of each tasting trail.*

The obvious winner for me was the Fox Bros. brisket. Fox Bros. states all their meats are gluten free. Their sauce contains dairy but the meat alone is still perfect for BBQ enthusiasts.

Tacos and Tamales
I was disappointed to see not one but two restaurants serving the basic taco lineup of beef, lettuce and cheese, buffet style; so Alma Cocina knocked everyone out of the water with their pork tamale topped with pico de gallo.

The Whole Pig          
This was the best section of the tasting tents. Farm Burger was the biggest surprise with their crispy pig ear tacos on handmade corn tortillas (made on site) and a trio of sauces.

Bistro AIX also held their own with Moroccan-spiced pork tenderloin with harissa-marinated watermelon and lentil chip.

Southern Sweets
I was so excited to find French Broad Chocolates from Asheville, NC. This family owned artisan chocolate company makes a whole line of vegan truffles – named the Buddha collection after their son who had a dairy allergy when he was younger. Some of the vegan truffles are also gluten free including the strawberry balsamic truffle with Hawaiian chocolate and crunchy cacao nib coating.
Southern Snacks
Blackberry Farm had a host of goodies including cured meats, pickled ramps, ramp jam and pickled okra. Savannah Bee was sampling honeycomb with fresh apples, blackberries and raspberries.  

One of my new favorites is mezcal - an agave based liquor where the agave leaves are smoked before processing – which had a new presence at the festival this year. Illegal Mezcal showcased their three handmade varieties. Their anejo variety had a great smokey flavor and a perfect smoothness for those a bit timid of tequila. For those accustomed to the taste, the un-aged variety had a refreshing bite. In one of the morning sessions, Greg Best of Holeman and Finch showcased Mezcal in his corn-arita, using un-aged mescal, raw corn milk, lemon and pepper infused honey. 

* In full disclosure I received a media day pass to the festival. 

Fox Bros. brisket

Alma Cocina pork tamale

One Eared Stag beef tongue terrine

Farm Burger crispy pork ear tacos

Bistro AIX Moroccan-spiced pork

French Broad Chocolates

Blackberry Farm spread