Top Bites from 2019 Memphis Food & Wine Festival

October 30, 2019

As you enter the lush botanical gardens with soft music playing in the background you are handed a real, full-size wine glass and you know you're in the right place. The massive trees, a painted sunset and cool fall evening set the tone for a wonderful night.

memphis food and wine festival 2019
Memphis Food & Wine Festival 2019 at the beautiful Memphis Botanic Garden

This being my first time at the Memphis Food & Wine Festival I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I ended up very impressed. It was an elegant and sophisticated event. The setup was really nice with all the vendor booths in a large circle, and over a dozen tables with seating in the middle.  On the far end was a massive stage bookended by two enormous TVs.  

painted black cod
Painted Black Cod, Watercress, Mango from Chef Erling Jensen at Erling Jensen
cornbread and foie gras torte
Cornbread & Foie Gras Torte with Seared Wild Mushrooms and Mediterranean Olives from Chef Miles James and Chef Walt Hefner at MJ Pizzeria
tortilla shooters
Tortilla Shooters with Amarillo potatoes, confit chicken, achiote orange vinaigrette, cilantro, sunflower sprouts, queso fresco from Chef Deb Paquette at Etch and etc.

You could tell that the food was the focal point of the evening, and wine was the perfect accompaniment. Every other booth was wine and food and wine and food. There were no white claw or liquor vendors in sight. Contrary to popular opinions on instagram, that’s a good thing.

The festival was more than just about offering great food, great wine and good times, but it was all for a great cause with donations going to FedEx Family House. It's great seeing the proceeds going to a great cause benefiting families with sick kids.

picadillo with black beans
Picadillo with Black Beans, Plantains and White Rice from Chef Raymond Jackson at The Cafe at Crosstown Arts
Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke with Shrimp Chips from Chef Ben Smith at Tsunami

My strategy was to grab a bite of food, hit the neighboring wine booth, then grab a couple more bites and go for another refill. The plates and silverware were high quality and recyclable, which added to the experience (see examples above).

Although you didn’t see the ‘celebrity’ chefs that you might find at other food festivals, the lineup was peppered with top-notch award-winning chefs with accolades that included French Master Chefs, Michelin-Starred restaurants and James Beard Foundation winners.

display of edible chocolate coffee cups
I loved this fully edible dessert!
edible chocolate coffee cup
edibile chocolate coffee cup
inside of edible chocolate coffee cup
inside of edible chocolate coffee cup

At many food festivals, dessert isn’t much of a focus. At The Memphis Food and Wine Festival I found a number of amazingly excellent desserts that all stood out in their own right. Being the proud owner of a giant sweet tooth, I thoroughly enjoyed all the delicious offerings with my favorite bites being from Interim Restaurant Executive Pastry Chef Frank Oysel and The Peabody Hotel Executive Pastry Chef Konrad Spitzbart.

The Top Bites for me that evening were the following:

Main Lobster with whipped ricotta
Main Lobster, whipped ricotta, citrus, candied walnut from Chef Michael Kramer at Table 301
Skatewing Sicilian style
Skatewing Sicilian style from Chef Ken Vedrinski at Trattoria Lucca/Coda del Pesce
Cured and smoked Duck with Foie Yoghurt
Cured and smoked Duck with Foie Yoghurt, Roasted Pistachios, Toasted Brioche from Chef Patrick Reilly at The Majestic Grille
Squid Ink Radiatore with crab
Squid Ink Radiatore, East Coast Crab, Spicy Marina Sauce from Chef Michael Smith at Extra Virgin

Additional details to offer guests a great experience and extend their evening’s enjoyment,  were at least four big screen TV’s that I saw playing the prime time college football games with comfy seating and tables for standing.

BBQ Gulf Redfish Cake with Ravigote Creole Tomato Sauce "Piquant" Herb Salad from Chef Tory McPhail at Commander's Palace
gnocchi with duck confit
Gnocchi with Duck Confit, Mushrooms and Smoked Potato Sauce from Chef Wally Joe and Chef Andrew Adams at Acre
foie gras mousse tartlet
Foie Gras Mousse Tartlet, Cognac Cream, Morel Powder from Chef David Frog at Dory

The Memphis Food & Wine Festival was a fantastic evening and offered quite the experience.  It was such an enjoyable time with a beautiful blend of amazing food and wonderful wines. I can’t wait to return next year.

The Moody Foody

From Nashville. I like food, traveling for new food, and taking pictures of food.

Related Posts

Stay in Touch

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form