Food and wine festivals in Baja California are like classical music CD samplers. Both highlight brief movements from a dozen or more artists and one can absorb a sample of their music before committing to the longer work. The 2018 Valle Food & Wine Fest – held at restaurant Finca Altozano in the Valle de Guadalupe from October 5-7 – is a great way to get to know the region’s cuisine a little better.
2018 Valle Food & Wine Fest. Photo: Baja Wine + Food.
For those new to the culinary scene in the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California’s wine country, think a bit of Beethoven’s third, a small plate of chef Javier Plascencia’s delicious Asian octopus. The second movement of Mozart’s Requiem, a sip of winemaker Paolo Paolini’s sublime Nebbiolo. If you like the sample, you’ll come back for the meal, or go ahead and purchase that case of wine with the certainty that your friends and family will enjoy it as well.
And with a stellar culinary lineup from both sides of the border, Valle aficionados will also find a cornacopia of new food and wines to sample. Celebrity chefs Rick Bayless, Nancy Silverton and Dominique Crenn top the bill with San Diego represented by chefs Brian Malarkey, Trey Foshee, Claudia Sandoval and others.
Back to that CD sampler of Baja California’s greatest hits: Local chefs at this year’s second annual festival include co-host and organizer Plascencia, Drew Deckman, Benito Molina, Sheyla Alvarado, David Castro Hussong, Denise Roa and others. After sampling their food, you’ll find plenty of reasons to return to Baja California again. And again.
Wineries represented at the festival include favorites Adobe Guadalupe, Santo Tomas and Monte Xanic. Smaller “boutique” producers such as Cava Maciel, Vena Cava and Emeve are also on-hand and eager to pour guests their award-winning vinos.
One glass of Baja California wine and tastes from the chefs is included with the $125 regular admission pass. Those who purchase the $400 Ultimate Experience VIP Lounge pass will be treated to a Bacchanalian orgy of unlimited pours, as well as passed plates from the event’s top chefs, all served in the rustic comfort of the VIP Lounge.
Winemaker Jorge Maciel of Cava Maciel pours his rosado.
The fest offers more than just great food and wine. According to co-founder and Baja Wine + Food CEO Fernando Gaxiola, “The second annual Valle Food and Wine Fest will also feature beers from local craft breweries, live bands, book signings, meet-the-winemaker wine tastings, an artisan mercado, kids’ activities and a pick-your-prize drawing. We’ve expanded on last year’s very successful event to offer even more for our guests this year.”
For readers of this blog and followers of its social media channels, A Gringo in Mexico’s W. Scott Koenig will be at the festival on October 6, selling and signing copies of his book, Seven Days in The Valle. The book, popular among those who love the Valle de Guadalupe’s farm-to-table culture, will be available in a hardcover edition for the first time at the fest.
Buy a signed copy of the book Seven Days in The Valle on Oct. 6th at the Valle Food & Wine Fest.
Two break-out events are also offered: An opening night dinner on October 5th at the famed Deckman’s en El Mogor with host Drew Deckman, chef Bayless and all of the other chefs participating in the event. “De La Calle Al Valle” offers an exposition and sampling of some of Baja California’s best street food with wine, craft beer and music on October 7th.
Proceeds from the Valle Food & Wine Fest will benefit charity Corazón de Vida Foundation, a US-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization that that has beenproviding life-changing support for orphaned and abandoned children in Baja Californiafor over 20 years by funding local orphanages and providing quality of life improvementservices.
CLICK HERE for more information and to purchase General Admission and VIP Experience passes, Welcome Dinner and Fundraiser passes, De La Calle Al Valle passes and to see transportation and lodging options.