NEW ORLEANS--The Royal Street Stroll brings thousands of foodies and wine lovers to the heart of the nation's largest living architectural treasure, the French Quarter in New Orleans. Its a night of experiencing fine wine, great local cuisine, rare antiques and fine art all amidst stunning historic architecture.
The stroll begins at the very doorstep of the Hotel Monteleone, one of the city's oldest hospitality landmarks, which once housed the likes of the legendary playwright Tennessee Williams, whose tome, "A Streetcar Named Desire" put the French Quarter and its many haunts on the world's literary map. Each stop along the way, food stands with outdoor "field kitchens" manned by New Orleans top chefs from such renowned restaurants as Brennan's, Galatoires, The Pelican Club, Broussard's, Commander's Palace and Arnaud's, will offer savory bites, while winemakers from around the globe will personally pour their outstanding wines. Live jazz music fills the air as revelers are joined by the Krew of Cork, who will parade down Royal Street in full Mardi Gras regalia with a "Second Line" brass and drum band and line dancers in tow. It's a colorful and joyful display that happens only in New Orleans!
The "stroll," as it is affectionately known, is the prelude to the 2015 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a three-day celebration of everything that makes New Orleans the culinary capital of the country. Besides the Grand Tastings, which feature 75 chefs and 1000 vintages of wine selections from around the world and live jazz from Louisiana's best musicians, seminars will feature chef demonstrations and wine and champagne tastings. Seminar leaders include the likes of Chef Nathan Richard from Kingfish and Bar Chef Abigail Gullo from SoBou and varied Champagne styles from Thomas Henriot, CEO of Champagne Henriot of France. Also showcased this year are the Wines of South America, in a tasting seminar led by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, author of "Wines of South America; The Essential Guide" paired with cuisine by Edgar Caro from Baru Bistro and Tapas of New Orleans.
The "King of Louisiana Seafood" will be crowned at the eighth annual Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off, hosted by the LA Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. Ten chefs from across the State of Louisiana will compete for the coveted title with the winner representing the Louisiana Seafood Industry at events throughout the year. This year, participating chefs include Lynn Broussard of Jack Daniel's Bar and Grill, Ryan Gaudet of Spahr's Seafood and Mike Nelson of GW Fins in the French Quarter.
Rouses Market and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum will be the venues for a unique offering at this year's NOWFE, a "moving" seminar, called Makin' Groceries will have participants accompanying chefs Nathan Richard of Kingfish and Bar Chef Abigail Gullo of SoBou to Rouses Market in the French Quarter to shop the aisles and pick up food supplies to be brought back to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum to be transformed into a sumptuous 'cook-it-yourself' lunch to be enjoyed with wine pairings. Later that day, attendees will get to play Sommelier for a day when they blind taste a variety of wines and see how their opinions compare with those of top wine writers, sommeliers and critics in the "Ratings Battle" at the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at Convention Center.
At "Bean to Cup: Micro-Roasting Demonstration," participants get to watch green coffee beans transformed into a steaming cup of coffee at Geoffrey Meeker's micro-roasting French Truck parked at 1200 Magazine Street in the Warehouse District. Food historian Liz Williams of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum will explain the historical importance of coffee to New Orleans' heritage. Everyone will take home a signature roast of their own creation.
New Orleans' Grande Dames of Creole Cuisine take center stage in a seminar focusing on the city's endearing and enduring old-line dining establishments-Antoine's, Galatoire's and Arnauds with tall tales and samples from each, also at the Convention Center.
Finally, it all wines up with Rise and Dine: Brunch at Broussard's, the revitalization of this French Quarter legend. Founded in 1920, Broussard's chef Neal Swidler has made this landmark restaurant a 'must-visit' dining destination with his reinterpretations of New Orleans culinary treasures and classic cocktails. He'll whip up a morning feast while previous owners of Broussard's regale the diners with tales from the restaurant's storied past.
There's something for everyone at this year's 2015 New Orleans Wine and Food Experience and many ways to get involved and work up an appetite and a thirst for the best food and drink to be had anywhere on the planet.
(below) Crawfish Etouffee
Some New Orleans culinary and cultural legends