In a town where foodies and festivals abound, there are several occasions to wander from sample to sample. I have attended and enjoyed several, but none as much as The Tour de Vin this past Friday at the W Hotel. The Wine and Food Foundation has created an elegant, festive event which features Austin’s best chefs and more fabulous wine than I could sample. How do you begin to adequately review an event such as this? I have been asking myself that all morning.

Before the main event, my husband and I were graciously invited to attend the VIP Wine and Cheese Tasting hosted by Shawn Croft of Gusto Tasting and Marie-Louise Friedland of Henri’s Cheese Shop. They put together four amazing and unique pairings. The highlights for me were the most elegant Goat Cheese (with Brie-style rind) that I have tasted, a Chilean Pinot Noir in which I could taste the vine, and a Viognier and Bleu Goat’s milk pairing that sang. The Bleu is made locally at Pure Luck Dairy in Dripping Springs.

Upon entering the Tour de Vin, each guest was given a “passport” which gave information about the country represented in each room, the participating chefs, and a description of the wines being sampled. This information was also clearly labeled at the tables. Great organization. There were too many wonderful dishes to mention (or try), and too many wines to sample but my favorites were as follows.

Favorite Dishes:

1) Curry Rubbed Ahi with Fennel Rhubarb Kimchi and Basil from Chef Shane Stark of Kenichi

2) Pimentos Rellenos de Queso de Cabra from Chef Jed Holdredge of Tapas Bravas

3) Smoked Beef Tongue with Pickled Yellow Mustard Seed and Fruit Compote by Chef John Bates of Noble Pig

Favorite Wines:

1) 2011 Chateau de Campuget Rose (the only sampled I finished)

2) 2009 Edi Simcic Rebula Riserva (a surprising, unique Slovenian wine)

3) Duckhorn Merlot (I do love a good Merlot, check out Trends, Schmends)

4) 2010 Veramonte ‘Ritual’ Pinot Noir (Chilean wine from the VIP tasting)

Favorite Dessert:

Tres Leches Rice Pudding from Sentelli’s

The entire event was absolutely delightful. They thought of every detail to make their guests comfortable. The food and drink were plentiful and superb. The people were friendly, gracious and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Usually I leave large events thinking, “It would have been great if they had…”. Not this time. I can’t imagine how it could have gone better. Well, yes I can. When I looked through the passport at the end of the evening, I saw that I missed several items that sounded amazing, but I felt I had already indulged sufficiently. Next time, I will make my husband share samples so I can get around to more.  Many thanks to the people at The Wine and Food Foundation for the gracious invitation to join you in celebrating the cuisines of the world and the abundant talent we have here in Austin.

Disclosure: The Foundation provided me with a free VIP and event media pass for which I am grateful.