The Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival (FWFWF) returned this year bigger and better than before, with a full plate of events and activities for food fanatics to get their fix. With six different events to tantalize the taste buds or foodies from all over the state, this year’s festival sets the bar high for the entire state.
We stopped by the festival to check out the Culinary Corral, an expanded re-imagining of Rise + Dine from previous years, and FWFWF didn’t disappoint. With more than 15 participating vendors, the Culinary Corral served up brunch time fare beyond our expectations, highlighting some of the best of Fort Worth’s food scene. From Crème brûlée french toast to seared scallops, the Culinary Corral brought out an amazing variety of style, flavor, and creativity from local chefs including a couple of highly talented high schools that showed they could hold their own.
Despite the rain, roughly 900 guests showed up in droves to enjoy the Corral and partake in food and drinks on display from artisans from across the state and beyond, including Rancho Loma Vineyards of Coleman, Texas and Katy Trail Vodka coming in from Dallas. FWFWF was prepared for wet weather with tents to protect the event and plenty of hay to combat the mud. Highlights from foodie fanfare include the chicken and waffles from FnG Eats, the carnitas tacos on Texas tortillas from Granbury High School, and the crème brûlée french toast from Fort Worth’s own Brewed. Lake Worth ISD’s Bistro 4210 impressed guests with their key lime bites prepared by Jordan Gardner, Dakota Bogart-Cates, Bailey Grimes, Tyasia Davis, Morgan Quiet, Mareah McMahan, Rebecca Haynes, Elisa Herrera.
Two of this year’s elements that made the Culinary Corral unique were the Phone Food Photography pop-up and the Parm Porn Pop-Up. At the photography pop-up, guests were invited to learn five simple tips for taking better foodie photos straight from their phones with instruction led by food photographer Nancy Farrar. During the Parm Porn, guests were given a creative demonstration as the chef whipped up pasta inside a massive parmesan cheese wheel, along with sauce flamed with Nonino Grappa Chardonnay. Hopefully, both events will make a return to next year’s festival.
Later that evening, Burgers, Brews, and Blues brought the party back to Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork with nearly 15 chefs throwing down for the title of best burger alongside more than 20 craft breweries. With clear weather and crowds dancing to the sounds of Miss Marcy & her Texas Sugardaddy’s, the festivities were well under way with an even larger crowd of approximately 1,100 attendees. For three hours, patrons got their fill of ales, stouts, and IPAs alongside delicious burgers.
One element that makes Burgers, Brews, and Blues standout among other Food festivals is how well organized their voting system is. Celebrity guest judges select their pick for the best burger, and guests are able to text in their votes for the people’s choice, and the winners get solid bragging rights for the year. This year’s winners are: Judge's Award: Knife Burger (my personal favorite) People's Choice Best Burger: Kincaid's Hamburgers (delicious, but I’m a baby when it comes to heat, and their combination of Jalapeño Cream Cheese and Habanero Infused Honey was too much for me to handle) and People's Choice Best Beer: HopFusion Ale Works. I was a bit surprised by the people’s choice, because Hooker’s Grill had a massive line, with many fans going back for more — but I guess that’s why voting is important. Melt Ice Creams deserves an award of their own for the amazing ice cream they had available, which provided the perfect pop of sweetness to the event overall.
All in all, this year’s Fort Worth Food + Wine festival was a massive success from what I was able to see. Hopefully, next year I’ll be able to cover more of the festivities.
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set unafraid to take on topics head on. He now resides in Austin, TX and continues to create content on a daily basis.