Mississippi artist to paint unique artwork during festival

Published 12:05 am Sunday, July 19, 2015

Photo illustration by Ben Hillyer

Photo illustration by Ben Hillyer

NATCHEZ — For years, the Natchez Food and Wine Festival has been a great experience for those with a taste for the finer things in life.

It has always offered a myriad of wines and delectable dishes, but this year, coordinator Rene Adams promised it will surpass previous standards.

Adams said she is looking forward to Friday night’s festivities.

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“Friday night is just so big,” Adams said. “I love seeing everyone.”

During its Friday night Tastings Along the River event, more than 30 restaurants will present dishes to about 800 festival patrons in hopes of being voted one of three winners in either a judges’ choice or people’s choice competition.

And if 30 restaurants serving all sorts of decadent delicacies are simply not enough options, there are 11 other events happening throughout the weekend.

Saturday Chef Robert St. John of the Purple Parrot Café in Hattiesburg and artist Wyatt Waters will have a special presentation. Their presentation will include a four-course meal and something unexpected.

Diners will get to see St. John prepare a dish and watch Waters paint a one of a kind watercolor painting.

The duo has been working together for approximately 15 years according to Waters, and they have completed three cookbooks together, including one all about Italian cuisine.

“Robert is my best friend, and we love hanging out together,” Waters said. “We don’t really know exactly what is going to happen because it’s not a scripted thing.”

The $100 ticket for the presentation covers the four-course meal with wine pairings and a raffle ticket to potentially win Waters’ painting.

If you’re looking for something a little more laid back to do for lunch Saturday, there will also be a progressive lunch for $90 per person. It will start at Under-the-Hill Saloon with Mississippi cheese straws, toasted pecans, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers on the menu.

Participants will pop next door to The Camp during the second stop for their signature hamburger sliders, French fries and Natchez Brewing Company products.

After feasting Under-the-Hill, ticket holders will hop on the Natchez trolley to King’s Tavern, the oldest building in the Mississippi territory. It was built in 1769 and recently got an updated menu.

The menu includes garden greens with shaved apple, parmesan and crispy prosciutto chopped artichoke with preserved lemon vinaigrette, muffaletto flatbread and shrimp flatbread with roasted corn salsa, Charboneau rum punch and almond iced tea.

The lunch will wrap up at Steampunk Coffee Roasters for hot and cold traditional espresso based drinks, pour-over brewed coffee and a dessert trio of peach basil sorbet, almond biscotti and mini chocolate brownies.

Owner Dub Rogers said he is excited for the event, just as he has been in years past.

“We look forward to it every year,” Rogers said. “Trying all the food and meeting people, what’s more fun than that on a lazy, hot summer night in Natchez?”

Rogers also hinted there may be an extra surprise waiting at the end of the progressive lunch, but wouldn’t divulge the secret.

Adams said some of the profits will go toward putting on next year’s festival, but the majority of proceeds will go to the Guardian Shelter.

For more information on the Food and Wine Festival or to purchase tickets, visit natchezfoodandwinefest.com.