Spring Culinary Festivals

Mark Skalny Photography
Save the date for this lineup of Phoenix-based culinary festivals and events this spring.
In its second year, Eight’s Check, Please! Arizona Festival is slated to take place March 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Phoenix’s CityScape. In addition to enjoying eats from 30-plus restaurants, the festival promises wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and a rare discussion panel by Arizona’s James Beard Award winners, including Robert McGrath, Christopher Gross and Nobuo Fukuda. Tickets are $69; $79 at the gate. www.AZPBS.org/CheckPlease.
On Thursday, April 3, the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association hosts the third-annual AZ Wine & Dine (pictured) at Scottsdale Quarter. Event-goers will enjoy eats from 20 of the top local resort and hotel restaurants, plus a plethora of wines and craft beers. Live entertainment will be provided by the Shining Star Band while guests bid on exciting vacation getaways and gift cards from Scottsdale Quarter tenants in the silent auction. Tickets are $75, with proceeds benefiting the educational efforts of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association. AZ Wine & Dine is a 21-and-older, rain-or-shine event. www.azwineanddine.com.
The Valley’s first-ever Italian Festival of Arizona takes over Scottsdale’s SouthBridge April 4 and 5. The two-day celebration honors Italian culture, music, food and commerce with tastes from Valley-based Italian restaurants, demos on how to make pasta, a pizza cook-off, hand-crafted items from a variety of vendors and more. Tickets are $10; kids 10 and under are free. www.italianassociation.org.
More than 25 barbecue purveyors will be at Salt River Fields April 5 to dish out ribs, pulled pork, baked beans and the like at the fifth-annual Arizona BBQ Festival. In addition to the kid’s zone, live music and a demo stage, this year marks the expansion of the Redneck Games Arena and the addition of wrestling shows and the Bacon Zone, in which restaurants are invited to craft any food with bacon and compete for the title of Best Bacon Thing. This year’s event is expected to draw 15,000 guests. Tickets are $12 general admission; free for kids 12 and under; and $60 for advanced-purchase VIP. www.azbbqfestival.com.
Kicking off April 8 with brand new events, like the Opening Night Affair, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival is back for its 36th year. The festival, which runs through April 13, will welcome back favorites like the Burger Battle, the Great Arizona Picnic, Eat, Drink and Be Pretty and a jam-packed lineup of other delectable events, with proceeds benefiting the Scottsdale League for the Arts. www.scottsdalefest.org.
Inspired by the annual Dîner en Blanc event in Paris, Arizona announces its first Dinner d’Arte on April 12. The affair is a celebration of food, wine and art—that is veiled in a bit of intriguing mystery. You see, at 5 p.m., guests will converge on a secret location that will be announced four hours prior to the start of the event. Guests are decked in all white and will decorate provided tables and chairs before the eating, drinking and dancing to live music begins. Participants can bring a full picnic dinner and non-alcoholic beverages while Creative Hands Cuisine will provide gourmet baskets with wine that may be pre-ordered or purchased at the event. A portion of all proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Care Fund. Tickets are $35 per person. www.dinnerdarte.net.

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AZ Wine & Dine Chef Chat: Todd Allison

To celebrate Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association's upcoming AZ Wine & Dine, taking place April 13 at Scottsdale Quarter from 5 to 8 p.m., let's meet some of the fest's participating chefs. Today, please meet Executive Chef Todd Allison of T. Cook's at Royal Palms Resort and Spa.