by Andrew Chalk
You might describe it as “Savor San Antonio“ or the “San Antonio Wine and Food Festival”. Whatever term you choose, Culinaria is five days of wine, spirits, beer and the best restaurants the city has to offer, all set around the most vibrant downtown in Texas. And don’t overlook how much San Antonio’s gourmet scene has improved in recent years. As well as national quality restaurants, there is one of the country’s best cocktail conferences and cocktail bar scenes. Culinaria is simply where that all comes together.
The events, which benefit culinary students and food-related aid organizations, run every day from Tuesday 14th through Sunday 18th with the biggest concentration at the weekend. Wine dinners take place all over town on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th May. The 15th also sees the HEB sponsored food truck event.
Friday 16th starts at lunch at nearby Becker Vineyards, where four San Antonio chefs pair their courses with wines by guest winemakers. That afternoon, head to Tuk Tuk Taproom (beer and Vietnamese food!) to hear the story of Dallas native David Gilbert’s journey from Big D to San Antonio via southeast Asia and a James Beard nomination. There will be food, beverages and a discount on his autobiography Kitchen Vagabond to see you on your way.
That evening the first biggie event of the festival kicks off with The Best of Mexico at The Shops of La Cantera north of town. Taste food from Oaxaca, Veracruz and other parts of Mexico to the accompaniment of live entertainment.
Saturday 17th get up bright and early for informative and fun classes on wine, wine tasting and spirits. Then, at 6pm, head to a high-end champagne and spirits tasting at the Grand Tasting Bubble Room.Tickets are being tightly limited in number to prevent crowds. Plus, that ticket gets you into the much bigger Grand tasting at 7pm. This is where the city’s best chefs appear, each with their own station, along with wine, spirits, live entertainment and a silent auction. If you still have energy left at the end, head to Tre Trattoria for a private after-party (purchase of a VIP or Bubble Room ticket gets you in!).
Sunday 17th offers brunch at Casa Hernan, and Burgers, BBQ and Beer at The Pearl starts at 1pm. At the Pearl the cocktail room is open at the same time at which some of the city’s best mixologists come together to show you their craft. If you are staying late, the after party starts at 4pm.
Tickets are available here.
Oh, getting to San Antonio just got a lot easier last summer. Skip the I-35 crawl starting at Georgetown by taking the Austin Autobahn and cutting the journey time to about four hours. Of course, frequent Southwest flights only take about an hour.