Food-o-File

"Talk about your big party weekends," writes Virginia B. Wood in this week's "Food-o-File." "If you don't find some great food and wine to enjoy with this lineup available, you're just not trying hard enough!"

Big Party Weekend

Talk about your big party weekends. If you don't find some great food and wine to enjoy with this lineup available, you're just not trying hard enough! Austin's Italian Cultural Association (327-7383, www.festaitalianaaustin.com) invites you to their second annual Festa Italiana, Saturday, Oct. 12, noon-11pm, and Sunday, Oct. 13, noon-7pm, at Fiesta Gardens. Food will be provided by Michael Angelo's Gourmet Foods, Buca di Beppo, Macaroni Grill, Johnny Carino's, Mangia Pizza, Ciola's, Mezzaluna, Reale's, Romeo's, Siena, Spaghetti Warehouse, Italian Garden, Ocean's 11, and Zio's. The Italian entertainment stage, sponsored by Carmelo's, will feature traditional Tarantella dancers, Italian karaoke, a bocce ball tournament, and a performance by Mr. Fabulous and his Orchestra starting at 8pm on Saturday for your dancing pleasure. This event offers everyone the opportunity to become a VIP (very Italian person) for the weekend at the very low price of $5 per person with kids younger than 12 for free. Food and drink tickets must be purchased separately... Another great option is the first ever Gruene Music & Wine Fest (830/606-1281, www.gruenehall.com) this weekend in the historic German hamlet just down I-35. Here are some highlights: Friday night, Oct. 11, 6-8:30pm, at Gruene Hall, dinner and solo performance ($50) by Ray Benson; Saturday, Oct. 12, noon-6pm, tastings of Texas wines and foods ($20) at the Grapevine just across the street from Gruene Hall, plus Hot Tunes and Festival Food ($8) catered by the Gristmill, noon-6pm that same day at the dance hall itself. Aaron Neville takes the stage at Gruene Hall at 9pm Saturday night ($35). Sunday, Oct. 13, 10:30am-noon, Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist ($25) with the Bells of Joy, food from the Gristmill and sparkling wines from Cap*Rock Winery... Over near Stonewall, you can experience a celebration of the performing, culinary, and winemakers' arts at Rose Hill Manor's Renaissance Weekend (877/ROS-EHIL, www.rose-hill.com), with vintner's dinners, cabaret and theatrical performances, plus food and wine tastings from award-winning Texas wineries and chefs. Festivities begin Friday, Oct. 11, 7pm with a vintner's dinner ($100 reservations in advance), then Saturday and Sunday are packed with wine tastings, wine and food pairings, and indoor and outdoor performances of Poe and Shakespeare. There's dinner and live musical entertainment under the stars on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. Admission to the manor grounds is complimentary but all food, wine, and entertainment events are on a "per ticket" basis and those tickets will be sold on site. Check the Web site for exact schedules and individual prices... Sunday afternoon, Oct. 13, noon-5pm, spend a delightful fall afternoon at Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons, 926-4650) for the Green Corn Project fundraiser. There will be cooking demonstrations from some of Austin's most accomplished chefs, food tastings from several local restaurants, and live music from Kimmie Rhodes and Joe Gracey, and the Mundi Ensemble. Purchase $25 advance tickets at the farm or by calling 833-7446 or get them at the gate the day of the event for $30. Check out the ad on p.71 in this week's Chronicle for more details.

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