April 16, 2010 - The 25th Annual Hill Country Food and Wine Festival: Day Two

Noon Update:  Stars Across Texas  is 98% sold out , so let me repeat: buy your tickets now!

    It's no secret that one of my favorite events of the entire year is the annual Stars Across Texas - a culinary experience that makes gluttony seem fashionable.  The evening under the stars at The Long Center - while savoring signature dishes and wines from the best restaurants and wineries in Texas - draws a sell-out crowd every year, enjoying the chance to rub elbow with the top chefs in the state while they feed you their latest gastronomic
    For foodies such as myself, it's three hours of pure bliss.  Buy your tickets now.  
    Last night's "Texas25" event at Whole Foods had to be cancelled due to the rain.  Stars Across Texas is weather-proof, so expect to see brisk ticket sales today for the almost-at-capacity trip to heaven.  Again, buy your tickets now.  You have been warned.
    This year, the Wine & Food Foundation's Rare and Fine Wine Auction - the largest and most significant wine auction in the Southwest - also celebrates its landmark 25th year.  Following a long tradition, the auction will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin on Saturday the 17th.
    Auction festivities begin at 6 p.m. with a champagne reception, silent auction debut and dinner created by Four Seasons’ Chef Elmar Prambs, followed at 7:30 p.m. by the loud, fast-paced - and always competitive - auction of more than 100 rare and collectable wine lots.
    It's interesting to note that both the Wine & Food Festival and the Rare & Fine Wine Auction were co-founded by Austin wine connoisseur and collector, Larry Peel.  Along with wine-loving friends Susan Auler, co-owner of Fall Creek Vineyards, Leon Cikota with Republic Beverage, and culinary aficionado Helen Baxter, Peel and several others hosted a small wine auction 25 years ago to benefit KLRU-TV, Austin's public television station.  
     Since that inception, the all-volunteer Rare & Fine Wine Auction has raised several million dollars to support charitable endeavors by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas - including one of the largest culinary scholarship in the country.
   This year's landmark event features stellar lots that include 2007 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma, a Salmanazar (9 liters) etched bottle signed by owner Steve Pride, dinner for four at the home of Texas music legend Jerry Jeff Walker, and much more.  For an ongoing, updated list of lots and values, visit the Foundation website at www.WineFoodFoundation.org.