Austin's annual La Dolce Vita Food & Wine Festival graced the grounds of the beautiful Italian-style villa known as the Laguna Gloria Art Museum on October 24. One of the biggest —and longest running — food festivals in Austin, La Dolce Vita raises funds to benefit The Contemporary Austin’s education programs at the Jones Center, Laguna Gloria and the Art School.
More than 50 local restaurants and wineries were represented at this year’s festival, including the yet-unopened laV, which debuted with a quite perfect bite of bone marrow custard and pickled mushrooms on a thin brioche wafer. Other favorites included Salty Sow’s pork ragu over asiago polenta with basil and Parmesan cheese (Italian comfort food at its finest), Ramen Tatsu-ya’s pork chashu slider with miso barbecue sauce, salted cabbage and mayonnaise on a Hawaiian sweet roll, Swift’s Attic’s apple and lardo with pecan vinegar gastrique and Winflo Osteria’s cavatelli with Italian sausage, crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions, wilted arugula and crema di gorgonzola.
Guests took delight in two distinctly state fair-inspired desserts: savory and sweet funnel cakes by Shawn Cirkiel (Parkside, the Backspace, Olive & June) and cotton candy by Sugar Circus. Represented wineries included Llano Estacado, pouring their Sangiovese-Cabernet fusion called Viviano and McPherson Cellars, who showcased several wonderful whites —most notably their Roussanne and a vermentino distributed by 4.0 Cellars in Fredericksburg.
Per tradition, each participant was given three stickers to vote on: one red wine, one white wine and one food item. This year, all three awards were swept up by out-of-towners. Megg’s Cafe in Temple won for its aesthetically pleasing trio of deviled farm eggs with bacon marmalade and crispy shallots; crostini with Texas field pea hummus, local goat feta and grilled shisito peppers and a cup of their house caramel popcorn. Tranquilo Cellars out of Lubbock swept both the red and white wine awards for their Dead Flowers rose and their Tranquilo Texas white.
Start saving up your appetite for next year’s extravaganza, when La Dolce Vita turns 25!