Get your joie de vivre on at Central Market's Passport France celebration

Seasoning all kinds of food and wine events with musical entertainment has been standard practice in Austin for years, but the strategy of using local food to enhance music and arts events is relatively new. Adding a selection of quality local food to any event is made easier by Austin's bounty of mobile artisan food vendors. Events as diverse as the Austin City Limits festival, the Texas Book Festival, and Fusebox Fest­ival have incorporated local food and drinks into their programming with great response. The latest event to do so is the Pachanga Latino Music Festival coming up this weekend at Fiesta Gar­dens. Tickets and info at

Food artisans Jane and Steve Darland make cask-aged, organic balsamic vinegar from Treb­biano and other Roman grapes in Monticel­lo, N.M. ( They're in Austin this week presenting their traditional Aceto Balsamico Monticello at in-store tastings and at wine dinners. See Meal Times listings below and online for complete details.

After delicious forays into Argentina and Spain, the culinary passport destination at Central Market stores this spring is France. From now through May 22, Passport France will include French cooking classes, in-store tastings and demonstrations of an incredible array of imported foods and wines, conversations with wine makers, special menu items in the cafes and food-to-go areas, and French-inspired music programming at both stores. Bon voyage!

Another lightning round of local food news this week: State Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) is forming a Farm-to-Table Caucus in the Texas Legislature to address small and urban farm issues such as expanding markets and increasing the availability of farm-fresh food… Swift's Attic (315 Congress) is now open, offering worldly small plates, $10 craft cocktails, and 14 craft beers on tap, all in a style the proprietors describe as "vintage luxe"… Dan Haver­ty is the new executive chef at Bistrot Mirabelle (8127 Mesa). Based on Haverty's years of experience at the Shoreline, we predict new seafood dishes on the menu… After months of hard work, chef/owners Iliana de la Vega and Ernesto Torrealba are pleased to announce the opening of El Naranjo restaurant at 85 Rainey, replacing their popular food trailer of the same name. The Oaxacan-inspired menu will feature a seasonal lineup of mole sauces served with poultry, meats, vegetables, and seafood, plus beer, wine, and cocktails… Chef Jason Dodge and mixologist Rob Pate have created a new spring menu of small plates and cocktails to tempt the palate at Péché (208 W. Fourth)… Just in time for summer fun, Ski Shores (2905 Pearce Rd.) will offer live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons; family movie Friday nights; and convenient dockside food pick-up for boaters... On the first Tuesday of every month, Cafe Malta (3421 W. William Cannon) offers a Tour de Forks of a different Mediterran­ean cuisine. April's port of call was Turkey; Morocco was up last week. Vote for next month's destination on the restaurant's Facebook page.

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