Dripping With Taste Wine & Food Festival

The Dripping With Taste Festival finds a new home at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company

Dripping With Taste Wine & Food Festival
Photos courtesy of Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Facebook Page

Texas Hill Country Olive Company (2530 W. Fitzhugh Rd., Dripping Springs)
Saturday, Sept. 8, 1-7pm

Dripping With Taste Wine & Food Festival

As the Texas Hill Country becomes an ever more popular tourist destination, events that showcase the area's culinary and viticultural attractions are a regular occurrence. Due to the remarkable growth of wineries, restaurants, craft breweries, and distilleries nearby, the once sleepy roadside hamlet of Dripping Springs is now the gateway to the Hill Country, boasting plenty of tasty enhancements just a short drive from Austin. In an effort to capitalize on tourism possibilities, the nonprofit Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau hosts the annual Dripping with Taste Festival. We'll be heading out to the festival for the first time this weekend, and we plan to check out some of the area's newer culinary attractions along the way. I'm particularly interested in the new Woodpile BBQ trailer (9300 Hwy. 290 W. in the Texas Compound) that's only open from 10:30am-2pm on Saturdays, plus the Barber Shop brewpub (207 W. Mercer) and Dudley's Wine Bar & Tap Room (211 W. Mercer) in downtown Dripping Springs, the Pizza Cave (110 Hwy. 290 W.), and the expansion at the Rolling in Thyme & Dough Bakery (333 Hwy. 290 W.). All that exploration should make for quite a full day.

Now in its fifth year, the Dripping with Taste Festival is moving to a new home at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company, which opened in the area in late 2011. "The Tuscan-style tasting room and orchard there are breathtaking, and offer the perfect setting for the festival," says Bureau Director Shannon Moler. She went on to explain that this year's festival layout is designed with the booths of participating wineries, restaurants, craft brewers, artisan food makers, and talented area craftspeople grouped together at strategic points around the property to encourage guests to stroll from group to group, tasting and enjoying live music as they progress. There will be plenty of on-site parking on the property as well.

Expert cooking demonstrations are scheduled in the tasting room's kitchen throughout the afternoon and six bands will present music from a variety of genres. More than 20 area wineries will be pouring samples, and they'll be joined by representatives of Jester King, Real Ale, Thirsty Planet, Independence, and Twisted X craft breweries, in addition to Argus Cidery, Texas Sake Company, and Texas Coffee Traders. Due to the alcohol license restrictions on the property, area distillers can't provide liquor samples this year, but festival organizers intend to solve that problem before next year's event. Area restaurants, caterers, and artisan food manufacturers will be on hand, providing samples of signature dishes or products in exchange for tasting tickets. And just in case guests are concerned about spending an afternoon drinking outdoors without access to bathroom facilities, Moler reports that fest organizers are providing deluxe outdoor bathroom accommodations with an Alpha-10 Elite air-conditioned trailer featuring ten individual stalls with sinks and mirrors. (Facilities like this were one of the only bright spots at the Austin Food & Wine Festival at the Auditorium Shores dust bowl in April.)

For more detailed info on the specific wineries, restaurants, and bands participating this weekend, and to buy tickets online, go to www.drippingwithtaste.com.

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