October is National Seafood Month and there’s no better time to experience what food the Alabama Gulf Coast is all about than during the Alabama Festival of Flavor (this weekend) on October 8. I’m getting my stretchy pants ready and looking forward to meeting some of the state’s most revered chefs and restauranteurs who will square off to showcase their locally grown and produced beer, wine, and cuisine.
Taking place in historic downtown Foley, festival goers like myself will be able to sample and savor exclusive creations crafted just for the event while strolling through the beautiful downtown area from noon until 5pm.
Tickets are very reasonably priced and offer a sampling of the most delicious creations the region has to offer. Children’s tickets start at $5 for six samples with a soft drink or water. Adult tickets start at $10 for 12 tastes at any booth. Middleweight tasters can purchase 26 tastes at any booth for $20, and those with a big appetite can get 38 tastes at any booth for $30. The $65 VIP passes include 25 tastes good for all areas of the festival, including beer and wine. VIP ticket holders also receive three full adult beverages at the bar and entrance to a lounge area with a big screen television for watching the day’s football games, as well as private restroom facilities. And, if you are not hungry but want to just eat with your eyes, the festival is free!
In addition to the tasting, this year’s event is also a qualifier for a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships to be held Nov. 11-13 at The Wharf in Orange Beach. I’ll be there judging the Seafood Event! More than 400 teams will converge on Orange Beach for the worldwide competition. Chefs will be competing at the Festival of Flavor for the chance to showcase their skills at the World Food Championships, while festival attendees will have the opportunity to sample the competing chefs’ unique culinary creations. In addition, the winner of the People’s Choice at the Festival of Flavor will take home more than $1,500 in cash and prizes! Anyone can enter – you don’t have to have a restaurant or work in one. Backyard cooks and those with a passion for putting their creative twist on ingredients in their own home kitchen are encouraged to participate.
Another part of the competition is the Chicago Street Supper Club, which serves as the official kickoff for the entire festival. Held two days before on October 6th at 7 pm at Wolf Bay Lodge in Foley, this five-course meal with paired wine selections has a limited number of tickets at $75 each and will feature farm to table cuisine made with Alabama products, locally grown produce and seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether you’re interested in competing, being a vendor, or just attending the festival as an unofficial “taste tester,” head over to alabamafestivalofflavor.com for more information. I hope to see you there!