The hot days of summer are made for grilling, but it’s those crisp fall days that beckon a roast. On Sunday, Austin Food and Wine Alliance hosted their annual Wine and Swine at Ceres Park Ranch in the Hill Country. From the moment you arrived at the ranch, you could smell the meaty smoke coming off the grills, rotisseries and pits ahead. A glass of wine in hand, we were off to try bites from the many restaurants.
White tents housing Central Texas chefs from restaurants varying from Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Noble Pig, Mulbery, Swift’s Attic and more surrounded a large pavilion, where Ghosts Along the Brazos played on a stage inside.
Chefs arrived the day before the event to prep for their roasts. Aaron Franklin and crew started Saturday morning at 7 am to create their cinder block pit, put the pig on at 7 pm and stayed overnight at the ranch to tend to the roast. And they were not the only ones who spent the night out with their dishes. Each tasting was made with delicious care and it showed.
Every dish featured pork in some way, even the desserts. One of my personal favorites from Jeffery’s, a deconstructed S’More, brought in the pork with a chocolate dipped bacon garnish. Whole Foods Market even featured live instructions on cuts of meat and how to properly butcher a whole pig.
Guests voted for their favorite dishes and wine, and the crowd favorites were Chef Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants in San Antonio for his Thai-inspired Pork & Beans and Stone House Vineyard for their Claros.
It’s a few days later and I still feel a bit full and cannot entirely get the smell of smoked pork out of my hair. For even those reasons alone, I know I won’t miss my chance to head out to Wine and Swine again in 2014.