The Taste: Food and Wine Festival

The Taste Food and Wine

The TasteFood and Wine Festival, the annual Labor Day weekend food and wine festival hosted by The Los Angeles Times, will be back at Paramount Studios backlot this year. The film industry setting adds to the only-in-LA ambiance as a wide variety of city-famous cuisines, demonstrations, panels, and tastings are served up. Co-hosts for this year’s diverse food and wine celebration are Chef Michael Fiorelli of the South Bay’s nouvelle Italian Love & Salt, Master Bartender Vincenzo Marianella, Chef Gary Menes from downtown Los Angeles’ innovative, seasonally driven Le Comptoir, Chef Carlos Salgado from Costa Mesa’s trendsetting Taco María, and Chef Corina Weibel from Canele, Northeast Los Angeles’ market-fresh Mediterranean bistro.

With chefs who emphasize farmer’s market, locally-sourced produce, and a widely varied background – Taco Maria is a food truck spin-off – this year’s event should be an eclectic celebration. Last year, attendees flocked to taste everything from flavored moonshine to veggie burgers from hand-crafted burger purveyor The Counter to a delicate and delicious take on mini-donuts from the Japanese-infused cuisine of Hinoki and The Bird. Crabcakes, corn souffles, mini-root beer floats, fresh sushi, Stella Artois – the Friday night food tastings were extensive in a mellow, party-like atmosphere with live music, on-tap flavored tequila, and wine tastings. Saturday and Sunday’s panel offerings and demonstrations were equally impressive, as The Taste is a big draw to foodies seeking the best in LA area food and wine.

This year, Friday again brings an opening night fete and a curated array of delicious bites and drinks. Over the course of the weekend, there will be chef-led demonstrations of signature dishes, discussions and panels on all things food and wine, and of course, more tastes of Los Angeles area cutting-edge cuisine.

For Friday’s tasting event, restaurants will include Coni’ Seafood, Komodo, and the brilliantly authentic regional Italian Sotto. Saturday brings demos and panels covering “Field to Fork,” with
a round table and demonstrations covering all aspects of seasonal cooking from “root to stem.” Presenting restaurants like the hip cafe Squirl, known for its jam, the healthy lifestyle M’ Café, and Choctal single origin ice cream are in the mix. In the evening, it’s “Dinner with a Twist,” featuring exuberant craft cocktail recipes and food and beer pairing demonstrations, with an emphasis on the Los Angeles trending cocktail scene. Guelaguetza, purveyor of one of the largest selections of mezcal in the U.S., the hand-crafted opulent American cuisine of Ford’s Filling Station, and seasonal gastropub The Churchill, are among the dining and drink options represented. On Sunday, it’s time for brunch and barbecue, and a discussion on the best ways to man the grill and use the fire. And in the evening, what may be the most quintessential Taste event – Flavors of L.A. The closing night event features iconic chefs serving up their favorite dishes, featuring the latest in trending culinary techniques including Maude, creator of monthly set tasting menus in New American style, and Guerilla Tacos’ seasonal, high-end tacos.

Taste away all weekend long or pick a day that offers the treats that most appeal: either way The Taste is one fulfilling way to savor the flavors that make Southern California – and Los Angeles itself- a culinary and craft cocktail star.

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