Tomorrow kicks off the 35th Annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival, with new events, the return of the festival’s most-loved signature events, top chefs and, of course, plenty of deliciousness. Take a look at the six days of feasting fun.
Tuesday, April 9 – Shaken & Stirred: Shaken & Stirred is a riveting celebration of cocktail culture with Chef Brian Malarkey and his latest addition to his culinary empire, Searsucker Scottsdale. In its second year, guests will be able to enjoy three signature Searsucker drinks and the perfect nibbles to match. A full bar will be available for any additional imbibing. Hosted in this casually handsome environment, Searsucker’s artisanal cocktails and sustainable menu will provide a remarkable culinary experience. $40 per person.
Wednesday, April 10 – The Chocolate & Wine Experience: The Valley’s finest pastry chefs and chocolatiers will unite with an incredible selection of wineries at Talking Stick Resort’s Fire Garden. At this hugely popular event, guests can bite into a truffle, wash it down with a big, bold cabernet, or go a little wild with chili-infused chocolate mousse while sipping Syrah. $50 per person.
Thursday, April 11 – Bubbles & Bliss: Pop a bottle, take a sip and stroll around W Scottsdale’s glamorous rooftop WET pool deck. As guests mingle in SHADE, the open-air lounge that extends just beyond the WET pool deck, they can sip on champagne cocktails and witness champagne towers brimming with bubbly. What’s more, fabulous fashionistas can take a break to say ‘ahhh’ with the Bliss Spa Squad who will be distributing spa-at-home samples and providing complimentary arm massages. Providing the “frosting on the cake” so to speak, will be the Cupcake Challenge. This sweet addition to the annual soiree will have cupcake creators going spatula-to-spatula, as they showcase the best of their wares. Guests will vote for their favorite and the winning vendor will take home the Trophy Cup-cake. $40 per person.
Thursday, April 11 – Burger Battle: Sixteen of the Valley’s best chefs and restaurants will be grilling up burgers topped with spicy chilies, infused with sharp cheddar, marinated in truffle oil, and flavors you can’t even fathom. The battle will begin behind the grill, but it’s up to guests and the panel of judges to decide who will take home the trophy home along with unlimited bragging rights. Burger Battle guests will taste and vote for the burger with the best bite to bestow the People’s Choice Award. Meanwhile, our panel of chefs and culinary experts will taste their way through the smoking grills to select the Judge’s Choice Award. With entry into Scottsdale Stadium, guests can indulge in all the burger samples they can eat, sip on ice cold Leinenkugel’s beer, munch on fries, satisfy their sweet tooth with desserts and enjoy live music by The Walkens. $55 per person.
Friday, April 12 – Eat Drink and Be Pretty: Guests can stay in vogue with Scottsdale’s culinary scene as 20 restaurants showcase their creations. In addition to the food, a large variety of fine wines and spirits will be available for tasting. Around 8:30 p.m., make way for the models. Caribe Devine of 12News will take the stage and introduce a high-energy runway fashion show by Caché, which will forecast the latest trends and must-haves of the season. Once your appetite for fashion is satisfied, there will be music from DJ P-Body inside the atrium and Las Vegas show band True to Life will perform outside the building. Collectively, you have all the ingredients for a very Eat, Drink and Be Pretty evening. $75 per person.
Saturday, April 13 – Chef Wine Dinners: Guests will join award-winning chefs at some of the Valley’s top restaurants for a series of exclusive four-course dinners paired with rich wines. At each restaurant, the chef will work with a noted vintner to create exciting food and wine pairings. Both the chef and winemaker will be on-hand to answer questions and talk about the pairings. In order to ensure each dinner is an exclusive and intimate culinary event, attendance will be limited to 24 attendees per restaurant. $125 per person.
Saturday, April 13 & Sunday April 14 – The Great Arizona Picnic: The “Great Arizona Picnic” is back and better than ever with over 50 restaurants, 200 types of beer, and more than 16 hours of live music packed into two massive days. Samples, tastings, demonstrations and more await for 2013. Enter the gates and immediately find yourself immersed in the Epicurean Expo. Functioning as the main foyer for the Picnic, the Expo will showcase ground-breaking innovations in the culinary world. Top-tiered exhibitors will demonstrate state-of-the-art equipment such as blenders, knives, juicers, slow-cook warming drawers and more. Plus, experience world-class chef demonstrations from some of the hottest chefs in the country. Saturday’s lineup includes major culinary firepower, including Brian Malarkey, host of ABC’s breakout new reality show “The Taste,” plus Food Network’s Robin Miller and globally-awarded chef Jose Garces. Also located in the Expo and new for 2013 is the Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame. An annual event previously reserved for an invite-only industry crowd, this year the doors have been thrown open on the most prestigious culinary awards in the state so that all can participate. Watch as awards are given to the Chef of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Beverage Master of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement. The SKYY Bar will have mixologists concocting inventive vodka cocktails, while the Tequila Deck will ensure that margarita fans are well acquainted with agave. On Saturday, the Southwest Festival of Beers presented by Blue Moon will supply samplings of over 200 frosty beers, delicious food and special musical entertainment. On Sunday, the Southwest Festival of BeersTM will transform into a blues lover’s dream with Blues and Brews. Guests can enjoy beer tastings, along with the best blues music the Valley has to offer.
Also new for 2013 is the VIP Experience: Passport to the Picnic.Those looking for a premium experience will delight in this brand new offering situated on an exclusive perch overlooking the Barefoot Bubbly and Wine stage, providing shady comfort, inclusive unique food samplings and premium beer, wine and spirits. The VIP Experience package also gains you access to the other tents at the festival, including the Skyy Bar, Southwest Festival of Beers and the Tequila Deck.
GAP: $10 per person
Children 12 and under, seniors 65 and over – free admission
Active US Military personnel: $5 (not available for pre-purchase)
SW Festival of Beers: $20 per person on Saturday, $15 per person on Sunday.
VIP Experience: $125 per person (21 and over)
Sunday, April 14 – Wine Country Brunch: Guests will sample and vote for their favorite dishes from Valley restaurants such as returning champion Amuse Bouche, Tryst Café, Village Tavern and more. The winning restaurant will receive a Scottsdale Culinary Festival ™ Best Brunch Award. In addition to brunch items from the participating restaurants, cheese and fruit platters, carving ham and prime rib, eggs benedicts, flaming coffee and flaming banana foster stations will be available. Those attending can discuss varietals with on-site wine sommeliers while tasting wines from six vineyards. Guests will sip on Mimosas and Bloody Marys while perusing alluring silent auction items; be wowed by Randall Hedden as he creates large murals of rock legends, while painting to their own music; and admire 19 extravagant cakes designed and decorated by Valley pastry chefs and culinary students who will be participating in the first ever Take the Cake – Decorating Competition. $65 per person.
Sunday, April 14 – Best of the Fest: The Festival’s grandiose culinary conclusion, will return this year to the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa. A highlight for many of the town’s top culinarians, this year’s lineup is sure to please. The format remains the same: chefs take charge of their own two tables to share their personality and flair with guests who selected to dine with them. A friendly competition of sorts, diners enter and take their seats, as curious eyes peer at opposing tables to see what over-the-top decadence other guests may be experiencing. Served in a beautiful outdoor courtyard setting, the open-air event enlivens spirits and pleases palates. It’s the picture perfect ending to the nation’s longest-running food festival. $175 per person.
To buy tickets or for more info, visit www.scottsdalefest.org.