Love good food? New Orleans has it all – Cajun, Creole, New American, classic French… there’s even Shaya, a James Beard Award-winner that features Israeli food. And when you pair such excellent cuisine with top wines from four continents, you get The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a four day event that takes place each May.
NOWFE (as the locals call it) got its start in 1992 when a number of the city’s gourmands, restauranteurs, and wine aficionados got together to showcase local cuisine for selected charities in the arts, education, and culinary industries. In the past two decades NOWFE has raised over $1 million for area charities.
Typically, NOWFE week kicks off on Thursday, with wine dinners hosted by top vintners at some of New Orleans’ flagship restaurants. Yes, even the “grande dames,” i.e. Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, Broussard’s, and Galatoire’s take part. Friday sees the exclusive “Vinola” wine tasting, with only 200 tickets sold and all the wines having retail prices starting at $75, as well as the casual “Royal Street Stroll,” where attendees sip while checking out the wares in the French Quarter’s antiques shops.
Saturday sees the Grand Tasting, featuring over seventy-five local restaurants and culinary training programs, and over 1000 wines being poured. The festivities finally come to a close with “The Big Gateau Show,” featuring live entertainment, the country’s best pastry chefs, and of course, more wine.
The major events are interspersed with food and drink seminars, which feature lectures (and samples, natch) of wines from particular regions, as well as hands-on training and tours of top restaurants and cellars.
The 25th edition of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience will take place May 25-28, 2017. More information can be found at www.nowfe.com.
Pete Shipley, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Celebration Specialist and Wine Consultant – Gainesville
Attachments are: “The Louisiana Duck Experience” from L’Auberge du Lac, Selected wines at the “Grande Dames of Creole Cuisine” seminar