Austin Food and Wine Alliance Wine + Swine

The Austin Food and Wine Alliance is “dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community…”  At the 2nd Annual Wine & Swine they certainly made everyone aware of all things pork with 18 chefs flexing their culinary muscles.  At least half of them had whole hogs spit-roasted overnight while others worked pork into tacos, soups, and desserts.  As if that wasn’t worth the entry fee, I was generously given a free media pass that included an invitation to a VIP party.  We bought a ticket for Ev, put on our stretchy pants, had a small breakfast, and were on our way!  (Warning: several whole-roasted pigs appear in photos below)

Welcome to Wine and Swine

Our VIP party meant an hour of special access to cured meats from Salt and Time, cocktails from Twin Liquors, wine from Whole Foods, and chocolates from Delysia Chocolatier.  In VIP House Number One, Salt and Time blew us away with their spreadable sausage called N’duja, though their other salamis were nothing to scoff at.  This, along with most dishes throughout the day, was served on Easy Tiger breads.  Man, they know their dough.

The men of Salt and Time

The Three Charcuter-teers

Spreadable N'duja from Salt and Time

The Precious… N’duja

Twin Liquors featured three cocktails showing off Maker’s Mark, Waterloo Gin, and Starlite Vodka.  I usually steer clear of vodka, but when mixed with a cacao liqueur it, won me over.  Of course the Maker’s Mark drink (a spin on an Old Fashioned) was great, and the Waterloo Gin was mixed with fruit juices for a refreshing opener to the upcoming meatfest.

Waterloo Gin cocktail from Twin Liquors

We moseyed over to VIP House Number Two and found the chocolate and wine.  In fact, Delysia covered both bases with a Cabernet-filled chocolate.  They also had a coffee flavor and a bacon jalapeño.  Naturally.  All three were incredible.  Whole Foods poured us a light white wine that neither of us particularly cared for.  In fact, we didn’t have very much wine at all, mainly because the beer and cocktails fit better with the unseasonably warm November afternoon.

Display of Delysia chocolates

Cabernet-infused chocolates made special for Wine and Swine

Just before the main event opened up, the Whole Foods tent brought over two of three of their porky presentations: a rillette (a layering of pulled pork and pork fat in a jar) and a pork belly biscuit.  Rich and delicious and a great taste of things to come.

Pork Rillette with Easy Tiger baguette

Whole Foods Pork Rillette with a baguette


Pork belly biscuits from Whole Foods

Passing pork belly biscuits

And then we got serious.  After a brief tour of the soon-to-open tents, we went on a tasting frenzy.  Of the eighteen chefs, we only tried seventeen.  We’re not gluttons!

Not. Gluttons.

Like I said, at least half roasted whole pigs, and those pigs were front and center at their tents.  Some were being finished over the grill, like by Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants.

Jason Dady working the grill

Jason Dady with loins, legs, and ribs

Rebecca Rather from The Pink Pig in Fredericksburg had her pig out in front of her tent.  Grab a plate of fry bread and veggies, then turn around for the meat.

The Pink Pig cutting pig

And Andrew Wiseheart from Contigo had his pièce de résistance front and center serving the food.

Contigo's whole pig

However, the first tent that was ready to serve the crowd ended up being, without question, the best of the group.  Executive Chef Josh Watkins of The Carillon shared the most phenomenal ribs I’ve ever had.  Watkins is outgoing, friendly, and just has fun with food.  I mean, he plated the ribs on the pig.

Watkins plating pork on pig

Speaking of fun, as others asked for him to take a picture, he suggested this look:

Watkins having fun with pig

We picked up several drinks from Deep Eddy Vodka, Jester King Brewery, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Hops & Grain Brewery, White Hat Rum, and Dulce Vida Spirits to keep us cool.  Lots of day drinking by all!  Ev enjoyed the two vodkas while I preferred the Farmhouse Noble King IPA from Jester King and the Alt from Hops & Grain.  We were both blown away by White Hat Rum.  They first gave us a taste of just the rum, and then a spiked blood orange soda with mint.  Hands down the best rum you can buy.

Wine and Swine Jester King

Wine and Swine White Hat Rum

With drinks in hand we check out the father-son Gilmore tents.  They roasted a pig together and used it in their own presentations.  It was actually Bryce (son, and of Barley Swine) whose food we didn’t try.  Jack (father, and of Jack Allen’s Kitchen) had a tasty pork and grits.

Jack and Bryce Gilmore preparing pig

Jack on left (overalls), Bryce on right (trucker hat)

Jack Gilmore plating pork and grits

Even dessert wasn’t safe from the pig.  Swift’s Attic’s Zack Northcutt broke the salty meat trend with bacon ice cream topped with foie gras whipped cream.  Almost savory, but an especially great treat in the warm sun.

Swift's Attic Bacon Ice Cream

Bacon Ice Cream with Foie Gras whipped cream (and sprinkles)

Before leaving I had to grab one more bacon jalapeño chocolate from Delysia.  The lesson here is it will melt in your hand if you lollygag trying to take pictures, so just eat it already!  The perfect end to the porktacular event.

Delysia Bacon Jalapeno Chocolate

Wine and Swine showcased some of Austin’s top chefs using Texas’ “other” meat.  While beef may be king, pork certainly felt like royalty today.  A big part of the fun comes from interacting with the chefs.  For them it’s a time for them to show off their creativity in a fun event for a good cause and see people enjoying their food firsthand.  For guests it’s a unique experience to have direct access to some of Austin’s best chefs and try something you can’t get anywhere else.  We had a great time and I’m impressed by the quality of the event put on by the Austin Food and Wine Alliance.  I can’t wait for Spring to get here when they’ll put on Live Fire again!


9 thoughts on “Austin Food and Wine Alliance Wine + Swine

  1. Great post! I’m so impressed that you got this up so quickly. Really enjoyed seeing you two!

    “The Three Charcuter-teers” – LOVE IT. Also, I totally agree that the N’duja was The Precious. Dang, that was some tasty stuff.

    • Mike says:

      We got home, went for a walk to try to resist the meat coma, and finally succumbed, so my only option was to sit and blog. Great seeing you again and thanks for the kind words 🙂

    • Mike says:

      Thanks Betty! With so much going on, the only thing to do is take pictures and curate. Definitely try to get there next year. Lots of fun for everyone!

  2. Nice recap! I was there volunteering, and being out in the sun all day made me a bit overheated, so I didn’t make it around to all the booths. I can feel the chocolates melting vicariously through you! 🙂

    • Mike says:

      We thought the same thing, that being in the sun could be a little warm, but moving from tent to tent or finding some shade provided just enough relief. Thanks for reading and thanks for volunteering!

  3. Hey Mike,
    Got a big ole sunburned face after standing in that sun volunteering with Suzanna, and by the time we got free, some of these goodies had been gobbled up, but what we made it around to, we loved, and seeing so many favorite familiar faces was just lovely. I roped by husband, Tom, into volunteering, too, and though we were worn out by the end of the day, we were well stuffed and a tad buzzed, promising to do it again in the Spring. The chefs and vendors, by and large, brought their best efforts. Missed a few of the faves, here, as it seemed they were the rest of the crowd’s faves, too, and were snatched up by our shift’s ends. The crowd all looked like they were having a great time–I heard not one grumble from anyone. Tom’s favorite was Olivia/Lucy’s pork stew, and mine was Contigo’s pork sandwich, although Jack makes some damned fine grits!

    Big applause goes to the Alliance for a smashing success! Any idea who won the crowd favorite vote?

    Nice to share a fun day with you via post! This comment is as long as one…lol

    • Mike says:

      Well definitely tell them to schedule being sick around it next year. There were lots of wines just asking to be tasted, but like I said, for me it was just too warm. Thanks for reading and hope you can make it next year!

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