The Austin Chronicle


By Virginia B. Wood, January 27, 2006, Food

Ch-Ch-Changes at THCW&FF

During the past few years, controversy has swirled around the Saveur Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival: It went through three directors in three years; longtime board members resigned, calling for leadership changes; many longtime volunteers and attendees were uncomfortable with the direction the festival took in partnership with the national food magazine Saveur and under the management contract with Capital Sports & Entertainment. When the festival ended last year, the board of directors made it clear that changes were being contemplated and everything was on the table. Last week, the new (old) face of the festival emerged. Harvey Giblin continues as president of the event, and some board members who had left have returned. The contract with Capital Sports & Entertainment was not renewed, and, in an effort to "reclaim our Texas roots," the festival also chose not to continue the partnership with Saveur. While it is difficult to gauge the impact of these changes until this new management structure actually presents an event, the schedule provided to the press reflects less New York influence and national media exposure, the participation of fewer national celebrity chefs, and greater concentration on the diverse culinary heritage of Texas. The newly renamed Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival is scheduled for April 6-9 at the Four Seasons Hotel and various other area locations. This should be one to watch.

Bread Is Back!

Actually, it never left, according to King Arthur Flour marketing representative Allison Rogers. Rogers was in Central Texas recently promoting the upcoming 20-city teaching tour King Arthur is presenting, and we talked bread-making one day over tacos at Curra's. (The New England native was eager to soak up all the Texas sunshine and Mexican food she could, and I was happy to oblige.) It seems King Arthur's national flour and catalog sales didn't suffer during the nation's long low-carb nightmare, and neither did business at their Vermont bakery and retail store. Home bakers all over the country are exceptionally loyal to King Arthur's reliable nonbromated flours and hard-to-find catalog items. (I'm a KA catalog junkie myself and purchase the flour at HEB.) The classes are designed to share good baking information while continuing to promote the brand. King Arthur's traveling bread instructor is in the area this week and will present classes on Friday, Jan. 26, at the Meeting Place (402 Allen Pkwy.) in San Marcos from 11am to 1pm (sweet doughs) and from 7 to 9pm (artisan breads). On Saturday, Jan. 27, classes take place at the Wingate Inn & Conference Center (1209 N. I-35) in Round Rock from 11am to 1pm (sweet doughs) and 3 to 5pm (artisan breads). The classes are free and do not require preregistration. Participants will receive free recipes, coupons, bread samples, and door prizes.

Event Menu: January 27-February 2

Enjoy a selection of fine Southern Italian wines from the portfolio of Fuedi di San Gregorio paired with a five-course Southern Italian Feast at Ciola's (1310 RR 620 S. Ste. C-1, 263-9936). Tickets are $75 and reservations are required; 7pm Tuesday, Jan. 31.

It's not too late to contact the Project Transitions office (454-8646, and make reservations to attend one of the fabulous Guess Who's Coming to Dinner parties and the champagne and dessert reception. Tickets are $100 per person, and proceeds go to the agency that provides hospice and support services for persons and families in our community living with HIV/AIDS.

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