The City of Houston may lack a food festival on the scale of Austin's annual Food & Wine bash, but Sugar Land is throwing a major food festival this weekend. At the 11th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, attendees can experience the work of some of Houston's best chefs, along with three premier chefs from Mexico, and bartenders while sampling wine, beer and cocktails from around the world.
It's a something-for-everybody approach designed to appeal to hardcore food enthusiasts and those who just want to try something new.
Here's a breakdown of the various events taking place over the festival's five days. Want to attend? Act fast. Organizers predict all of the events will sell out.
At this sold-out event on Wednesday (April 23) at the Museum of Natural Science — Sugar Land, attendees will recreate the famous Judgment of Paris competition from 1976 when California wines beat their French counterparts and shocked the world. Instead of Alan Rickman and Dennis Farina, food writer John DeMers will lead the experience. Attendees will taste both old and new world wines throughout the five-course dinner, then vote on which ones are the best.
On Thursday (April 24), five Houston bartenders will compete to determine who can make the tastiest drink using Hendrick's Gin. A panel of five judges will award the winner a $1,000 cash prize, and the winning drink will be featured at Friday's Grand Tasting. The competitors are Leslie Ross from Triniti, Sheridan Fay and Luis Villegas of El Big Bad, Nathan Reffell from Lei Low and Blake Jorgensen from Prohibition. A $40 ticket buys access to try the drinks, sample light bites and stroll among the private planes housed at the Sugar Land Regional Airport’s Anson Aviation Hanger.
Wine, Tequila or Whiskey Seminars
Ahead of Friday night's Grand Tasting, attendees can learn a little more about their favorite spirits. At the Battle of the Sexes wine seminar, wine professionals James Watkins and Monique G. Studak will lead a discussion that explores the stereotypes about the different kinds of wine that men and women enjoy while sampling six different wines. The Herradura tequila seminar will explain production methods while sampling spirits.
Finally, Tullamore Dew brand ambassador Maurice “Mossie” Power will introduce the trendy Irish whiskey with a spirit tasting. Choose from any of the three for $50.
The festival's signature event brings together some of Houston's best chefs with a few high-profile guests for a memorable evening of feasting and drinking on Friday (April 25) at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. Participants include Haven's Randy Evans, Cove's Philippe Gaston, Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616 in Austin, Brian and Shanna O’Hea of The Kennebunk Inn in Maine and three chefs from Mexico: Arturo García Mogollón, Yolanda Yanar and Isaac Esparza.
Tastings from over 20 wineries, along with a variety of spirit and craft beer options, are also included. Tickets are $125.
Enjoy food from over 20 restaurants, wine from across the country and a beer garden with 100 selections from 25 breweries at the Sip & Stroll on Saturday (April 26) at Imperial Sugar Land. Located on the grounds of the historic Imperial Sugar factory, attendees can also meet local authors at the My Table magazine book signing event. Tickets are $65.
Sunday April 27: Bistro Brunch
The festival wraps up Sunday morning at Sugar Land Town Square. Enjoy a variety of global and American cuisine while imbibing on Bloody Marys, mimosas, beer and wine. Tickets are $50.
Planning to attend The Grand Tasting, Sip & Stroll and Bistro Brunch? A combined VIP ticket is $200, which saves $40 over buying all three separately. Click here for information.