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by. Misha Morê
The Grand Wine & Food Affair is one of the largest celebrations of epicurean delights in Texas and The Grand Tasting is its signature event.
On April 07, the ballroom of the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square was transformed into a food connoisseurs oasis. The culinary superstars showed off their wares alongside some sought-after wines.
The Grand Tasting hosted The Grand Auction, a silent auction that featured collectable wines, weekend getaways, vacations, winery tours, art, and exclusive dining experiences and helped raised money for the Grand Wine & Food Affair Scholarship Endowment at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.
The Grand Tasting, a cocktail lovers party inside Sugar Land’s Marriott Town Square is where the wineries poured their best varietals alongside chefs looking to impress with their culinary creations. The Grand Tasting also featured 45 wine tables serving up to six varietals each.
New this year, the Bartender’s Challenge became part of The Grand Tasting as three finalists selected from over 50 plus submittals mix specially crafted cocktails using specific liquor requirements decided on by Hendrick’s Gin and named the official cocktail of this year’s Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair.
Some offerings were unexpected — sausage roll wrap puff pastry from The Sugar Refinery Grub & Grogs, the savory shrimp and cheese grits from Marriott’s The Burning Pear, scallops with creamy chipotle dressing from Santacafé in Santa Fe, NM and black barrel paloma cocktails from Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila.
Other favorites: St. Regis chipotle-braised beef shortrib sweet potato saffron risotto, cardamom honey roasted carrots at Riel was flavorful and crunchy, lobster mini pizzas at Academe at The Kennebunk Inn, foie gras ganache from Rooster & The Till and a delicious tuna avocado bhel at Lehja in Richmond, VA.
It was a food, wine and booze-filled night to remember and most guests seemed to leave the ballroom reluctantly.