Most tourists head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest -- and for good reason. But in a city of superior culinary excellence, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is a multi-day feast for the most dedicated food lovers.The 23rd annual NOWFE, happening May 20-31 this year, is where more than 100 of the city’s most heralded restaurants pair up with over 1,000 wines. From chef and vinter-planned dinners to wine seminars and a boozy live jazz stroll, here are just a few of the must-do events at this year’s NOWFE.
Royal Street Stroll (May 21)
A favorite among many NOWFE veterans, the lively stroll down Royal Street is led by the Krew of Cork -- a wine-themed parade. Here, the street’s famed galleries open their doors to peruse antiques and art, listen to live jazz, and sample pours at each stop.
The Grand Tastings
It’s called “grand” for a reason. The biggest event of the festival is spread over two days and includes 75 of the city’s finest chefs along with 1,000 vintages of wine. Expect wine -- lots of wine.
The Big Gateau Show (May 22)
Hosted by New Orleans’ venerable pastry chef Tariq Hanna of Sucre, this pastry competition doubles as a burlesque show, paring four chefs with a dancer. It’s a must-taste event in true New Orleans’ style.
If you’re interested in learning more from the winemakers, along with New Orleans’ restaurateurs and chefs, seminars offer an inside peek into what’s happening in the food and wine world.
Admission ranges from $50 to $175 per event, and various ticket packages are available. Address: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Boulevard.