Tickle your taste buds: 800 fill first night of Food and WinePublished 12:01am Saturday, July 28, 2012
By Kristin Hogans/The Natchez Democrat
NATCHEZ — Taste buds got a warm up Friday night before a weekend of eating at the 12th annual Natchez Food and Wine Festival takes center stage.
Approximately 800 people — including volunteers, chefs and attendees — filled the Natchez Convention Center for Tastings Along the River.
Co-chairs of this event, Lyn Fortenbery and Stratton Hall, said they were excited about the turnout this year. Tickets were sold out by the end of the day Thursday.
Annette and Walter Redden from Jackson said they try to be in attendance at the festival every year.
“I always told people how nice it was and how well planned out it was,” Annette said.
Annette is very interested in the culinary arts, she said, and seeks out events that deal specifically with food.
The six-year winner of the people’s choice award for wine, E. & J. Gallo, came back to defend their title and came out on top once again.
They brought four different types of wine and were ready for the competition.
Codi Graves of E. & J. said they had been coming since it started and that it was a great event.
“No doubt, the best event in Mississippi,” Graves said.
While those in attendance enjoyed the Tastings along the River, the musical styling of Osgood & Blaque Duo Band from Vicksburg charmed them.
Partners Cee Blaque and Greg Osgood said they think people have a lot of fun at the event each year. The group has been the musicians for the event for six years and said they hope to continue if they can.
“If you ain’t coming to have a good time with Osgood and Blaque, don’t come,” Blaque said.
Food and Wine Festival Events will continue today with Biscuits, Beignets and Breakfast at the Natchez Coffee Company at 8 a.m.
A wine and cheese tasting will follow at 1:30 p.m. at the Castle at Dunleith.
Tickets are still available for Brews, Blues and Burgers at Bowie’s from 4 to 7 p.m. today for $35; an Invitation to the Natchez Table at Stanton Hall at 6:30 today for $85; and the Champagne Jazz Brunch at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at The Carriage House Restaurant for $50 Sunday.
Awards handed out Friday night included:
People’s Choice Awards: Wine
• First place: E. & J. Gallo
• Second place: R.N.D.C. Vintage
• Third place: Glazer
People’s Choice Awards: Beer
• First place: Tin Roof Brewery
• Second place: Stokes Distributors
• Third place: Southwest Distributors
Food tasting Winners:
• First place: Fat Cow Burgers & More
• Second place: Sylvai
• Third place: Babalu Tacos and Tapas