Food-o-File

This week it's all chocolates and pastries and wine

Last week was all about obesity and diabetes, and this week it's all chocolates and pastries. Welcome to my life in a nutshell... Two well-known former Austin pastry chefs are back in town this week for the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival. Fredericksburg Pastry Queen Rebecca Rather will present a signature chocolate dessert tonight (Thursday) at the Culinary Masters Dinner and a cooking demo at the Sunday Fair. Dallas chocolatier Katherine Clapner will be serving some of her artisan Dude, Sweet Chocolates at Friday night's Stars Across Texas Grand Tasting at the Long Cen­ter after making the first delivery of eclectic custom brittles, candy bars, and nut clusters to local retailer Big Top Candy Shop (1706 S. Congress, 462-2220). Stop in for a bite. The SoCo shopping strip is certainly the hot location for national media attention, if Jaynie Buckingham is any indicator. Buckingham's Cutie Pies (1600 S. Con­gress, 589-7979, www.cutiepiewagon.com) will be featured in upcoming issues of both Southern Living and Martha Stewart Living magazines. The busy pie maven is also preparing to compete in the National Pie Championships in Kissimmee, Fla., later this month, and we wish her well! The talented bakers at Sentelli's Specialty Cakes & Fine Pastries (814 W. 12th, 236-1720, www.austinsweets.com) have expanded their custom cake line to include a selection of risqué and naughty cakes for events such as bachelor/bachelorette or birthday parties. Check out some examples of their work at www.forbiddencakes.com... Speaking of pastry chefs, we're told that Naomi Gallego has transferred from the local Four Seasons to another property in that chain and her job here has yet to be filled. Pastry chef and cake decorator extraordinaire Kristie Sasser will be leaving her post at All in One Bakeshop (8566 Research, 371-3401, www.allinonebakeshop.com) in mid-May to join her husband in Atlanta, where he's a new regional director with Whole Foods Market. Michael Joyner is the new pastry chef for both Asti Trattoria (408-C E. 43rd, 451-1218, www.astiaustin.com) and Fino (2905 San Gabriel, 474-2905), but he and wife Amanda also continue to create custom pastry treats in their Retro Bizzaro (www.retrobizzaro.com) line, which will soon be moving from farmers' market stalls to the shelves of local stores... Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande, 479-8117, www.aquarellerestaurant.com) chef and co-owner Teresa Wilson is taking a walk down memory lane next week, and you're invited to join her. Wilson and her crew will present three evenings of menus inspired by the former Basil's, a popular local Italian restaurant where Wilson was a manager back in the day. "Some of the lobbyists and legislators who ate at Basil's regularly are now our customers here, and they've been encouraging me to do this for a while now," Wilson explains. Basil's menus, complete with guest appearances from former staff, will offer diners the opportunity to customize a three-course Italian meal for $35 and will be offered the evenings of April 20-22... Entrepreneurs Matt Miller and Sam Hovland invite wine lovers to the grand opening party, Saturday, April 17, for East End Wines (1209 Rosewood, 904-9056, www.eastendwinesatx.com), their new independent wine shop located in a historic home in the Rosewood neighborhood. The new shop features an inventory of more than 500 wine labels plus a variety of artisan and imported beers and is open Monday through Saturday, 10am-7pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, Rebecca Rather, Katherine Clapner, Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Cutie Pie Wagon, Jaynie Buckingham, Sentelli's Specialty Cakes & Fine Pastries, Naomi Gallego, All in One Bakeshop, Kristie Sasser, Michael Joyner, Fino, Asti, Retro Bizzarro, Teresa Wilson, Aquarelle, Basil's, Matt Miller, Sam Hovland

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