Natchez Food & Wine Festival kicks off later this month

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Maybe it’s a glass of simple lemonade, or maybe it’s a perfectly paired wine and cheese combination, but this year’s Natchez Food and Wine Festival will offer plenty of opportunities to tickle the taste buds.

Set for July 29 to 31, the festival will offer foodies the chance to sample tastings from dozens of chefs over the course of several days.

“The whole root of this festival was to create and bring people to town that would not normally come in (late summer), and last year we had over 600 people from out of town come to the Friday night event,” organizer René Adams said.

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“The whole festival is absolutely amazing because of the fact that it was started back when a group of people had a vision of bringing people to the Eola Hotel. To look and see where it has grown and come from is absolutely amazing, because it has taken the entire community to grow this festival. Friday you have some of the best chefs along the river, and the best food that can be served, the best wine that can be poured, and it is all here in Natchez.”

For more information, contact Adams at 601-660-7300. Tickets can also be purchased at 406-408 Main St.

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Events include:

Friday, July 29

• Mae and Friends Lemonade stand, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Started when Mae Holyoak was 5, the lemonade stand’s goal was originally to buy dog beds for the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society shelter. It’s grown to be an annual fundraiser, and has raised $45,000 over the years.

The stand, which sells lemonade, cookies and hand crafts, will be located in front of the Natchez Convention Center.


• Tastings Along the Mississippi River, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

A selection of well-known chefs and vendors showcase specialty items — including food, wine and craft beer — at the Natchez Convention Center.

When attendees arrive, they are given a signature wine glass and can sample wine and brewer tastings.

More than 20 chefs and vendors have confirmed their participation in the event, including among them David Leathers of Forklift, Danie Rodriquez and David Dickensauge with Mississippi Seafood; Kelley McCann of Galatoire’s; Rose Jones of The Castle; Bingo Starr of The Carriage House Restaurant; Karen Carrier of Beauty Shop; Matthew Kajdan of Parlor Market; Sally Stiel of L’auberge – 18 Steak; Alex Eaton of The Manship; D’Evereux Foods; Rolling River Bistro; and John and Malan Parks of Pearl Street Pasta.

Tickets will be $70 in advance and $85 at the door, and the event will be emceed by Walt Grayson, with music provided by Osgood and Blaque.


• Chef’s Party, 9 p.m., at Bowie’s Tavern.

Admission is included with the Tastings Along the Mississippi River.

Entertainment will include Big Al and the Heavyweights.


Saturday, July 20

• Wine and Cheese in the Castle at Dunleith, 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Representatives from the St. James Cheese Company of New Orleans will showcase a number of cheeses.

Tickets are limited to 100 attendees, and cost $50 each.


• Burger, Brews and Bocce,

5 to 7 p.m., at Bowie’s Tavern

Featuring Fat Cow sliders with gourmet fixings, the event allows attendees to choose craft beers, including Tin Roof, Lazy Magnolia and products from Southwest Distributers and Stokes Distributors.

The event also features Bocce bowling tournament.

Tickets are $40


• An invitation to the Natchez Table, 7:30 p.m., at Dunleith, The Elms and The Towers.

Guests chefs will host dinners and wine pairings at Dunleith, The Elms and The Towers.

Dunleith will be limited to 60 tickets, The Elms will be limited to 50 tickets and The Towers will be limited to 40 tickets. Tickets to events in each house are $125 each.


• Pop Dinner at Rolling River Bistro, 8:30 p.m.

Guest chef Alex Eaton — who won the 2016 crown of Mississippi Seafood King — will host the Pop Dinner at Rolling River Bistro. The Speakeasy Full Band will provide music. Tickets are $40.


• In addition to the ticketed events, Saturday afternoon Charboneau Distillery and Natchez Brewing Company will host tours.

The Charboneau tour will run every hour from noon until 6 p.m., while the Natchez Brewing tours will be noon until 5 p.m. every half hour.

The Charboneau tour will end with a complementary cocktail, and the Natchez Brewing Company tour will offer a tasting of the beer produced there.


• The Camp at Natchez Under-the-Hill will also offer an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet in conjunction with the festival from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.


Sunday, July 31

• Jazz Brunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rolling River Bistro will host a Jazz brunch.

The event is limited to 200 tickets, which cost $25 apiece.