Feb. 21st, 2012

New Orleans Food & Wine Experience 20th Anniversary Begins May 22

Photo Courtesy of New Orleans Food & Wine Experience
When I think about New Orleans I think about crowds fighting for the coveted purple, gold, and green beads thrown from mammoth floats. I think about elaborate parades of feathered costumes and I think about rich food, jazz music and heavily frosted king cakes hiding small plastic figurines.

New Orleans plays host to one of the biggest and best parties in the United States ó Mardi Gras ó annually attracting thousands of visitors who want to witness this uniquely flamboyant celebration. This year, Mardi Gras parades began on February 4 featuring the Krewe du Vieux, one of the most historic parade events known to the celebration, and will end on Tuesday February 21. But just because the parades are wrapping up doesnít mean the partyís ending right away; live music, masked balls, drinking, eating, and general merry-making will last well into the night.

If you werenít able to make it to Mardi Gras this year or if wild costumes and garish party-going isnít your style, donít be disappointed. New Orleans has events and diverse experiences waiting to be explored throughout the year. In mid-May, from the 22 to the 26, celebrate the 20th New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.

Declared as one of the best food and wine festivals in the United States, the event includes five days of wine tasting, dinners hosted at thirty-four separate restaurants, and seminars led by expert winemakers. The festival is rounded out by The Royal Street Experience excursion which leads the festivalís participants through the French Quarter for a magical evening filled with live music and elegantly prepared food.

Wine enthusiasts will be thrilled to hear that more than 250 wineries attend the event and about 800 different vintages can be sampled at any of the many indoor and outdoor tastings. Additionally, good wine is either paired or followed by good food which the New Orleanian region never fails to provide.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience will host an international cake competition and tasting on May 25 where pastry chefs from around North America will compete for a $5,000 prize for the most ingeniously designed cake. Hosts include celebrity Chef Chris Hanmer, founder of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Chef Lee Schrager, Chef John Besh and the editorial team from Fine Cooking Magazine.

As the Mardi Gras parties begin to wind down late tonight make sure you visit NOWFE.com for more information about attending the culturally rich 20th anniversary of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.

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