The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) kicks off this Thursday and runs through Sunday, May 25-28, with a wide range of wine and food events including wine pairing dinners, tastings, excursions and more.
It's all for a good cause too— NOWFE has raised over $1 million for local non-profit organizations over the past two decades. Now in its 25th year, the festival will donate 100% of proceeds to Nunez Community College Culinary Arts Program.
Here's everything you need to know about May's hottest food event.
The Kick Off: A slew of incredible wine dinners kick off NOWFE feasting on Thursday, May 26. Menus for each dinner available here. $95-$175/person. A couple have already sold out, but some great ones have a few seats left. Cavan, Caribbean Room, and Avo are among them. Call the restaurants directly for reservations.
The Hallmark Event: NOWFE's famous Royal Street Stroll rolls on Friday, May 26, at 5:30 p.m. along the 200-800 blocks of Royal Street. Enjoy wine, food from local restaurants, a parade led by the Krewe of Cork — and of course tons of galleries and shops are open for perusing. Held rain or shine, wine-themed costumes are of course encouraged. This is a fun, casual event that pretty much embodies the epicurean marathon that is NOWFE, and a good choice if it's going to be your only NOWFE event. But watch out: It gets insanely crowded. Getting there early is your best bet. Entrances to the event include the corner of Royal and Conti Street as well as Royal and Dumaine Street. Tickets are $109/person.
The Field Trips: Hook, Wine, and Dine takes you fishing on the bayous of Louisiana with Chef Andrew Curren and Master Sommelier Craig Collins of the Elm Restaurant Group (Austin, Texas). The fishing excursion ends at Press Street Gardens, where your catches of the day will be prepared for a dinner al fresco with wine pairings selected by your Master Sommelier. May 26 from 5 am to 9 pm. Tickets are $500.
The Get It While You Can: The Vinola Tasting (on May 26 at 2 p.m.) has not yet sold out, but at $175 per person it will, as it always does. Why? Two hundred wine enthusiasts get to schmooze with notable winemakers, sample rare and highly-coveted wines (each worth over $75), while also experiencing some of city's best restaurants.
The Informative Side: In NOWFE's seminar series, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (May 26-28) local chefs discuss what's going on in the food world, with food samples/wine pairings as well. Several have already sold out, but a seminar about the natural movement in wine and one about the German wines of the Rhine still have a few spots left.
The Main Attraction: NOWFE's Grand Tasting gets a new location at Mardi Gras World this year. is exactly what it sounds like... food and wine tastings served in a pretty grand way. Seventy-five of New Orleans finest chefs will sling dishes, and 1000 vintages will be paired during the grand tasting one one day only this year— Saturday May 27— $119/person.
The Sweet Side: The Big Gateaux Show is NOWFE's after party/pastry chef competition, hosted and judged by celebrity chefs with performances by Trixie Minkand Bella Blue on May 27 at 9 p.m., along with lots of desserts paired with bubbly. The winning pastry chef gets a $5000 prize. $75/person for general admission and $150/person for VIP admission (reserved seating, bottle service, photo with burlesque star, extra vote for people's choice award)
The Free Stuff: Lifeway presents "Bounce Ya Brass" because you’ve always wanted to learn some bounce moves and also traditional second line moves. Free and open to the public, Lifeway foods will provide snacks.
The SOLD OUT Stuff:
- Tickets — Connoisseur and VIP Connoisseur ticket packages have sold out. The tasting package, with admission to the Royal Street Stroll and the Grand Tasting at $185, is still available.
- Seminars — Only two seminars have tickets left. Hurry. Hurry.
- Wine Dinners — These are going fast. No spots remain for Mr. B’s at this point.