Apirl 13, 2010 - The 25th Annual Hill Country Food and Wine Festival Returns
     The 25th annual Hill Country Food and Wine Festival returns this week for four full days of epicurean excess - with wine and food tastings, seminars, and gala events scheduled from Thursday through Sunday.  All this week, we'll be bringing you updates and reports from the week’s culinary events.
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     The extremely popular festival - one of the top food and wine events of the year - is almost sold out.  All the Thursday events are full, as are the cooking seminar with chef John Besh at Whole Foods and the Great Escape Cocktail Throwdown at the Driskill Hotel.
    The incredible Stars Across Texas tasting event, taking over The Long Center on Friday night with more than 100 restaurants and wineries offering samplings, is almost at capacity as well.  An annual pilgrimage for foodies and wine lovers alike, the event features dozens of Texas restaurants and celebrity chefs serving up gourmet edibles, while wineries from across the nation pour their best vintages.  It is an event not to be missed - at any cost.
    To accommodate the demand for tickets, two new events were recently added to the festival line-up.  Max's Wine Dive will host Austin Hope, winemaker of the acclaimed Treana Winery and Hope Family Wines, for a Friday afternoon retrospective tasting of Treana Vineyards Central Coast Wines.  On Saturday, wine educator and writer Karen MacNeil and winemaker Gwen McGill will host a tasting of Quintessa Reserve vintages - medium to full-bodied red wines from the Napa Valley - at Sullivan's Steakhouse.  
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    Founded in 1986, the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival is one of the country's largest epicurean events, attracting thousands of people to celebrate the multi-cultural, culinary and agricultural achievements of Texas.  Guest chefs and speakers have included Wolfgang Puck, Tyler Florence, Todd English, Joshua Wesson, Alton Brown and local legends Tyson Cole, Jeff Blank and David Bull.
    The festival culminates each year with the Sunday Fair.  Central Texas restaurants and regional wineries share the spotlight in an outdoor tasting festival, accompanied by live music.  This year, the fair returns to The Vineyards at The Salt Lick from noon to 5 p.m., and tickets are a bargain at only $45.
    The complete line-up of events can be found online at www.TexasWineAndFood.org.  Check back all week, as we bring you updates, news, and reports straight from our tastebuds.