Travaasa Austin, the spa and resort on the edge of the Balcones Canyonland Preserve, unveiled its 10-acre farm on Saturday at a BBQ Bash hosted by Executive Chef Ben Baker that featured several of the best barbecue restaurants from around the state.
“We pulled together an amazing list of vendors for this event, including Snow’s BBQ, which was ranked as one of the top four best barbecue places in the state in Texas Monthly’s famous Top 50 Texas BBQ list,” says Chef Baker.
Under a lush green canopy of trees on the banks of Cypress Creek, guests enjoyed juicy ribs, brisket, sausage and sides from Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Killen’s BBQ in Houston, The Granary ‘Cue and Brew from San Antonio and local favorite The Salt Lick. "We jumped on board to participate in Travaasa's BBQ Bash because we love the idea of bringing the best Texas barbecue restaurants together for a memorable evening," says Scott Roberts of The Salt Lick.
Travaasa showed off its harvest from the farm with a fresh green salad, luscious deviled eggs and refreshing slices of watermelon. The stellar food was paired with Texas craft beers from Hops & Grain from Austin, Rahr & Sons from Fort Worth, St. Arnold’s Brewing Company from Houston, The Granary in San Antonio and cocktails from Austin’s Deep Eddy Vodka.
After dinner, guests danced to the tunes of The Marshall Ford Swing Band while the farmers from Travaasa led tours of the farm’s 2,300-square-foot garden and its more than 80 varieties of vegetable crops. The farm also features perennial fruit orchards, native pecans, edible flowers, culinary and medicinal herbs and 100 laying hens, all of which are used in Jean’s Kitchen, the restaurant at Travaasa, as well as in treatments at the spa.
Chef Baker and team will also be serving the farm products in dishes from their food truck at the Sustainable Food Center’s Downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings. The menu will vary weekly and highlight produce from Travaasa and other area farms.
The BBQ Bash benefited Foodways Texas, a nonprofit that works to promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the state through oral history projects, documentary films, recipe collections and scholarly research. The organization has focused this year on exploring and chronicling iconic barbecue establishments across the state like Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston and Southside Market in Elgin. The BBQ Bash provided the opportunity to bring together some of Texas’ barbecue stars and highlight this work.
"When Foodways Texas director Marvin Bendele told me about the Travaasa BBQ Bash, it seemed like such a cool opportunity,” says Tim Rattray, chef/owner at The Granary 'Cue & Brew. “We believe very strongly in the work that Foodways Texas is doing. To be able to help support them, while being in one of the most beautiful and scenic places in Texas Hill Country, was a no-brainer."
Travaasa stayed true to its commitment of authentic regional experiences, hosting a lovely evening full of true Texas flavor to inaugurate the new farm, while helping an organization committed to preserving our unique food culture for generations to come.