Why Music City Food + Wine Festival is worth every penny

If you’re not familiar with this relatively newish event (only its second annual) allow me to introduce you to the Music City Food + Wine Festival. This two-day event is filled with world-class chefs and delectable wine from Nashville and beyond.

This is one of those events where you are up close and personal with chefs and stars alike. Each day features “The Grand Taste” – an all-day sampling of both food and wine – with a Saturday night “Harvest Night” featuring live music curated by Kings of Leon.

Being a new event, I didn’t quite know what was in store. With a semi-hefty ticket price of $150 for each day and $250 for Harvest night, I opted to test the waters by attending Saturday’s Grand Taste.

I quickly learned why this event is worth every penny:

1. The weather and location.

It was a beautiful fall weekend of highs in the low 80s and sunny. The setting was Public Square Park (think Live on the Green) with plenty of room for the tents and demos and more than 60 wineries to set up shop.

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2. Every great restaurant and chef in Nashville is at this event.
If you call Nashville home, I think you’d agree that the restaurant scene is HOT right now. Here at  Five Dishes, we can barely keep up with all the new restaurant openings each month.

This was an ideal way to get to sample from every restaurant you’ve wanted to try and probably haven’t gotten around to yet. Some of my favorites from the day were Silo, Biscuit Love Truck, Kayne Prime, The Catbird Seat and new to the scene 5th & Taylor which will be arriving in Germantown in the very near future.

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Pork, beets, balsamic deliciousness 

5th & Taylor – Chef Daniel Lindley


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Haitian Griot: Pork shoulder glazed in lime and lemon juice on a fried plantain with habanero sauce

The Acme Feed and Seed – Chef Matt Farley


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Three different kinds of ham with homemade jelly, spicy mustard and mini biscuits of course

Biscuit Love Truck – Chef Karl Worley


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 What looks like potatoes are actually cream filled pastries with cocoa nibs for the “dirt”

The Catbird Seat – Chef Trevor Moran


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Lobster poached in popcorn beurre monte with freshly popped popcorn

Kayne Prime – Chef Robert Grace


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 Bourbon butterscotch pudding with coco nib brittle

Buttermilk Road and Husk Nashville – Chef Lisa Donovan


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Tantan Mazeman: thick style noodle, sesame and chili sauce with dashi, rayu chili oil and cured egg yolk

Otaku South – Chef Sarah Gavigan


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Homemade Burrata – heirloom tomato panzanella (although not pictured was so fresh and delicious)

Moto Cucina + Enoteca – Chef Andy Hayes


3. The wines were some of the best.
There was no shortage of amazing wines to choose from including my all-time favorite Silver Oak Cellars. I believe I went back to their table at least 6 times throughout the day. Others favorites included Liberty School, Kenwood, Franciscan and J. Lohr Vineyards plus our very own Arrington Vineyards.

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Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars


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Dark Horse Wine had quite a hands-on experience at their booth. You could choose from multiple brands and then imprint on either a wooden cutting board, luggage tag or leather bracelet. We decided to do all three of course. This was one of our favorite stops of the day for both the wine itself and our take-home goodies.

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4. We didn’t wait in a single line.

I’ve been to other wine and food festivals where you feel like cattle. You wait in a line to get a pour or sampling of food and then you quickly have to get out of the way to keep the line moving. Not here. We were able to walk right up, get a taste or a glass of something wonderful and have a conversation at length.

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Liberty School & Hope Family Wines

5. Don’t let the name fool you – this event isn’t just for wine lovers. 
Although I stuck to wine, the beer and spirits category was well represented here as well featuring varieties like Deep Eddy Vodka, American Born Moonshine, Yazoo and Jackalope Breweries, Pritchard’s Distillery and much more.

My only complaint would be the plastic wine glass they provided in your swag bag. A wine event like this deserves a proper wine glass to taste from. We didn’t let that detract from the overall experience of the day where we had numerous conversations wishing we were going to Harvest Night and the following day’s tasting. We will have to remedy that next year.