New Farm Debuts at Travaasa with BBQ Bash

Guests enjoy beer and barbecue in pastoral setting

Perfectly in step with the current trends of sustainability and farm-to-table dining, Travaasa Austin Spa & Resort has added a farm to their list of attractions. The property includes a garden to supply the restaurant and spa, a flock of chickens for eggs, a stable for the horses, and a creek-side pasture perfect for outdoor entertaining

Guests lining up for barbecue and beer (Photo by Carol Buchanan)

Last week, Travaasa introduced the new farm property to resort guests who ponied up $100 each (and a few media folks, who did not) to chow down on award-winning Central Texas barbecue and local craft beers to the sounds of the Marshall Ford Swing Band. A portion of the event proceeds benefit Foodways Texas, a non-profit culinary cultural organization, and they were responsible for inviting the stellar line-up of barbecue vendors. Ferried to the new addition by shuttle, hungry diners entered the party pasture via an attractively landscaped, mulch-covered path and were greeted by a ring of food and drink stations around the perimeter of a large tent, conveniently cooled with over-head fans.

My plus one for the evening was my longtime friend, Carol Buchanan, a former caterer and life-long photographer who shared her work for our photo gallery documenting this evening. As retired caterers, we shared the sentiment that we'd much rather leave the event planning and heavy lifting to others these days. We were favorably impressed with the meticulous attention to detail that went into this particular production - everything from prompt and courteous bussing of tables to air-conditioned bathroom trailers!

To spotlight both the resort's culinary prowess and their fresh garden produce, Travaasa enhanced the cocktail hour with baskets of breads and muffins on the tables, and by serving deviled eggs from the farm chickens, cool slices of watermelon, and salads of garden greens and cherry tomatoes. Next up, we loaded our trays with the following exemplary displays of Central Texas barbecue excellence:

* The Salt Lick's toothsome pork ribs with their signature sauce, fire-roasted corn, and an attention-grabbing bleu cheese cole slaw

* The Granary's unique pastrami beef ribs that were the meaty revelation of the evening

* Snow's award-winning, luscious brisket with a perfect crispy bark

*Killen's spicy sausage with snappy casings

*Travaasa's warm peach cobbler topped with melting orbs of vanilla ice cream

* Kellie's Kandies & Cookies provided a mouth-watering array of sweets, everything from cake balls to decorated shortbread and brownies

Texas craft beer and local distilled spirits were very much in evidence, but Carol was most impressed with the white wine being poured by Jay Knepp of Salt Lick Cellars, the new vineyard and winery on the historic Hill Country property. We didn't stay for the after-dinner Two-Step and Swing Dance lessons, but it looked as though the resort guests were getting their money's worth.

Traavasa Austin Spa & Resort

13500 FM 2769

512/258-7243 800/992-2694

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