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San Antonio, more than you think

Rich in Texas history and rich in food and wine

© 2008 by Bonnie McKenna
All Rights Reserved
In the late fall, before the holidays, it is time to think of taking a short trip to San Antonio. Why? If you like to indulge in delicious food and great wine, it is time for the New World Wine and Food Festival. Make it a vacation and bring the entire family; there is something for everyone.
The San Antonio New World Wine and Food Festival is a non-profit organization. It began in 2000 designed to promote San Antonio is a premier wine and food destination as well as a culinary and cultural gateway to Latin America. The foods and wines showcase the regions roots in old world cultures and countries. The festival features the top Texas wine producers, national and international vintners and the hottest chefs in San Antonio.

Each year, the festival explores the wines and cuisine of one new world country. Last year Argentina was the focus of the festival. The 2008 festival will feature the food and wines of Mexico. The festival events vary from family affairs to black tie formal events. The two of the most popular events are The Grand Tasting and Totally Tejas.

The Grand Tasting at The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills is the place to get a taste of everything all in one place. This is a chance to meet, up close and personal, the celebrity chefs and winemakers participating in the festival. This is a casual event; come early and stay late.

Totally Tejas is a fun family event at the beautiful Cibolo ranch. Restaurateurs and vintners are available to discuss and provide samples of their products. There are seminars on the use of herbs, wine and food preparation. Craft vendors help guests get a start on Christmas shopping. The ranch provides hay rides, river cruises, story telling, roping lessons for kids, a silent auction and live entertainment for the enjoyment of all.

The premier festival event, that always sells out, is The Black Tie dinner and live auction. It is a food extravaganza of the featured country. Last year the attendees were treated to the best of Argentine cuisine paired with a variety of excellent Argentine wines topped off with a tantalizing demonstration of the classic tango.

Argentina has become one of the largest wine growing regions in the world since 1990. The malbec is the signature wine of Argentina. The wine is distinctive because of the diversity in soil, water, region and altitude. The same grape variety grown at different altitudes produces distinctively different nose and taste in the wine.

Other events during the five days of the festival vary from the Texas Vintner Cruise, where several of the excellent restaurants along the river walk provide everything from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. There are also seminars and dinner meetings with well known vintners.

Now is the time to make plans and reservations to attend the 2008 New World Wine and Food Festival. With all the activities to choose from during the festival do not forget that San Antonio is city of fun, great restaurants and varying adventures from Six Flags to the River Walk.
A great way to get around the city and save gas is to take the Texas Trolley Hop. The trolley has two 60-minute tours; the uptown tour and the historical tour. Both tours take visitors right to the door of many of the sites. Each rider has the ability to hop on and off the trolleys for the day. Tickets are available at the Alamo Visitor Center next to the Alamo.
No visit to the city is complete without having at least one meal at San Antonio’s landmark restaurant, Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia. The café opened for business in 1941 with three little tables serving breakfast; the restaurant now seats 500 and is still open 24-hours-a day-everyday. This year’s New World Wine and Food Festival will be held Nov. 5 – 9, 2008. For more information, visit www.nwwff.org or call 210-822-9555.
To enjoy the ambience of San Antonio while attending the festival be sure to stay at one of the signature host hotels: The Omni La Mansion del Rio on the River Walk, Watermark Hotel and Spa and the Emily Morgan Hotel across the street from the Alamo. For more information on accommodations, visit www.sanantoniovisit.com.