Galveston Food & Wine Festival (Part 1: Pre-Events)

As much as we frequent other food & wine festivals, attending Galveston Food & Wine Festival this yeas was a first.  I was born on the Island (BOI as they say), so I’ll drive down to Galveston for any event.  Leading up to the festival were several pre-events in Houston and Galveston leading up to the Grand Tasting.  We attended Farmers Market Demo & Wine Tasting from Tutto Benne Winery at Sparrow Bar & Cookshop in Houston and ran in Galveston Food & Wine Festival’s first ever Champagne 5k in Galveston.




Chef Monica Pope of Sparrow Bar & Cookshop and Beavers Restaurant & Lounge is brilliant.  The interactive cooking demo/class featured fresh ingredients bought from the farmers market that day, prepped and cooked by the class participants under Monica’s direct supervision.




During the cooking class, we were treated to a complimentary wine tasting from Tutto Bene Winery, represented by Simonetta Gedda of Stiletto Wine Chick.  The wines featured and generously poured were Barone Pizzini Franciacorta, La Carletta Morellino di Scansano, Andrea Olberto Barbera d’Alba, Il Cavallo Blu Moscato d-Asti, and Erbaluce di Caluso Tenuta Torciano.







Chef Monica Pope can commanded the room of two dozen wine drinking adults expertly.  She divided the cooking class participants into three tables each chopping, zesting, or mixing various farmers market ingredients and cupboard staples.  We had no idea what we were making, but when Monica told us to move, we moved.  With her worldly inspiration, local ingredients, some improvisation, and a little bit of wine, we created a healthy and blissful meal in under an hour.  And we didn’t unintentionally set anything or anyone on fire.




Midway through the meal prep, we snacked on cured meat, Marcona almonds, and raddishes dipped in butter and sea salt.  And more wine…




Check out the photos below from the prep:















And finally, Monica mixed the salad, put her finishing touches on the side dishes, and encouraged everyone to grab a plate and help themselves.




We tried a little of everything and loved it all.  Monica even brought up some braised beef for any meat eaters in the house.  This experience was inspiring.  While I wouldn’t be able to put together anything so tasty in a pinch, at least farmers market shopping is less intimidating.  Simple ingredients locally grown are full of flavor!




Dessert was a tasty bite of chocolate truffle and stuffed dates.  And more wine…




I’m looking forward to future cooking classes by Chef Monica Pope, and I’ll enjoy following her career for years to come!




The day before the Grand Tasting was the first ever Champagne 5k on the Galveston Seawall.  With only a few dozen in attendance, this race was very pleasant.  The scenery was really nice as well.  We just ran southwest along the Seawall, turned around at the 1.5 mile marker, and finished at Yaga’s Float Pool & Patio Bar.  And yes, there was champagne in a souvenir glass at the finish line at Float.




Cheers to the Galveston Food & Wine Festival promotion team for putting on the first annual Champagne 5k flawlessly.  We will be back next year for this and more pre-events!




Next: Galveston Food & Wine Festival (Part 2: The Grand Tasting)