The 21st annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
By Hope S. Philbrick
Your life would be richer if you could visit frequently, but if you could only visit New Orleans, Louisiana, once, for one event, Mardi Gras may seem the obvious choice. But a tastier option would be the Royal Street Stroll, one of the signature events of the annual New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE), which celebrated its 21st anniversary this May 22-25.
Billed as “The Most Unique Wine Tasting in the World!,” the Royal Street Stroll is an invitation to discover the city one sip at a time. The event name is literal: participants stroll along Royal Street in the famed French Quarter and step into various art and antique boutique shops en route to sample wine from around the world alongside Cajun and Creole fare prepared by some of the city’s best restaurants. As the sun dips behind the historic buildings, the Krewe of Cork marches through to infuse the crowd with its bacchanalia spirit. The Royal Street Stroll is a moving feast, an elegant street party, a parade, a wine tasting, and a venue for a wide range of performers, from jazz musicians to mimes, fortunetellers and dancers. It’s fantastic fun and offers insight into many aspects of New Orleans’ personality.
If you can stay longer, do. NOWFE offers many tasting opportunities with an event lineup that includes wine and food seminars that showcase the culinary world’s hottest trends, wine dinners hosted by more than 30 New Orleans area restaurants, a super premium wine tasting called Vinola, and two Grand Tastings during which more than 1,000 wines will be poured from over 175 wineries while gourmet bites are served by 75 chefs. The Big Gateaux Show, now in its 2nd year, uniquely combines spectacular pastries, Champagne and burlesque.
NOWFE is a grownup getaway you can feel good about: it continually raises over $50,000 a year for local charities.
We adore NOWFE and never tire of it: It’s one of our “Three Can’t Miss Taste Fests.”
See you there next year.
Odds of Encountering Children: Zero. All NOWFE events are exclusive to persons age 21 and older.
21 Plus Salute!
Where To Stay: Hotel Monteleone
Where To Eat: This year, we enjoyed a wine dinner at Kingfish, one of the city’s newest restaurants. Award-winning Chef Greg Sonnier impressed with sophisticated fare like seared scallops on a Himalayan salt block with Pernod cream sauce and ginger relish, quail with Korean barbecue sauce, and fresh ice cream with Benedictine sauce. Be sure to stop at the bar, where renowned bartender Chris McMillian serves up a mix of traditional New Orleans style cocktails, such as the Sazerac and the Ramos Gin Fizz, as well as modern creations.
-Photos courtesy NOWFE.com