It’s that time of year again! Farm Flavor editor Rachel Bertone attended the fifth annual Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville, Tenn., held Sept. 15-17. See some of this year’s best bites below:
Music City Food + Wine, Day 1
This year, the format of the festival changed, and Day 1 began on Friday night. I actually enjoyed this a little more, as the nighttime session was cooler and a bit less crowded – but of course, just as delicious. I definitely have a sweet tooth and some of my favorite bites were in the form of desserts. Le Sel restaurant offered an amazing Chamomile Crème brûlée, testing my will power to go back for seconds (and thirds). Olive and Sinclair Chocolate company highlighted their Seersucker line of candy with Muzzle Loaders, tasty morsels of chocolate filled with liquid bourbon salted caramel. (I’m still drooling.) I also enjoyed a sweet bite from Prima in the form of Duck Fat Cracker Jacks, which they serve as a bar snack at the restaurant.
On the savory side, one of my favorite Nashville restaurants, 5th and Taylor, provided one of my favorite bites – wood-fried pork shoulder with fall squash and apple cider. And of course, Martin’s BBQ and Friends were dishing out delicious chicken, pork, ribs and more.
Music City Food + Wine, Day 2
The party kept going on Saturday with the sun shining in Music City. I’m a carnivore, but plant-based Nashville restaurant Avo won me over with its Mushroom Tartare, featuring cashew cream cheese and mustard seed relish. Sinema restaurant served an amazing agnolotti with dried tomatoes, fried capers and King Trumpet mushrooms. And I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy delicious buttermilk fried chicken from Margot Cafe that wasn’t hot chicken – a rare find in Nashville. We enjoyed an informative – and entertaining – demo from Chef Tim Love on the methods behind cooking “chop” cuts of meat, including lamb chops and venison.
After the day’s delicious festivities, there was still Harvest Night to look forward to on Saturday. The event brings together signature dishes from 17 world-famous chefs including Jonathan Waxman, Hugh Acheson, Andrew Zimmern, Sean Brock and more. My favorites came from Chicago-based chef Jimmy Bannos and Tim Love. Jimmy Bannos served a mouthwatering shrimp and grits, which also featured roast beef “debris.” Don’t let the name fool you though – it was far from garbage. Tim Love offered smoked pork belly sugar cane skewers with avocado pipian (a type of mole usually made from pumpkin seeds). Despite being super full, I found room for Jonathan Waxman’s seasonal fruit crumble for dessert while grooving to the funky tunes of The Family Stone.
And with that, we’d call it another great success. Our stretchy pants got lots of use, too! See you next year!