Chicago Gourmet 2012: Wide Eyes & Eager Palates

Chicago Gourmet 2012: Wide Eyes & Eager Palates

Chicago is one of the hottest foodie cities in the US, if not the world. On any given day, you can visit everything from a posh dessert bar to a retro French bistro to a true culinary Chicago landmark – all that seem to have put the Windy City on the map for highbrow eats. This key dining power is never more evident than during Chicago Gourmet – a world-class celebration of food and wine and a tribute to the city’s culinary heritage.

Now in its fifth year, Chicago Gourmet – presented by title sponsor Bon Appétit magazine, in conjunction with presenting sponsor Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois – took place last weekend in Millennium Park. Yours truly was fortunate enough to attend this unbelievable event for the second time (first in 2010) as part of the press. Once again, I was overwhelmed by the variety of wine, spirits, and gourmet delights – too many to sample in earnest and too many to list in full in this post.

As in years past, this year showcased a Friday Hamburger Hop, where local celebrity chefs duked it out for the title of best burger in the city. On Saturday and Sunday, guests strolled around the event casually attending celebrity chef demos, educational wine seminars, and themed food tastings dreamed up by over 160 innovative chefs, including Rick Bayless, Stephanie Izard, Art Smith, and Takashi Yagihashi.

But this was not all that was in store! This year brought quite a few new additions mixed in with notable gems:

  • Themed food pavilions, including meat, seafood, Italian, French, Asian, vegetarian, and even a Gluten-free tent!
  •  “Tasting Like a Master Sommelier”, featuring the lauded Serafin Alvarado, 1 of only 105 Master Sommeliers in North America
  • Two Grand Cru tasting events featuring some of the finest wines in the world
  • An authentic pig roast curated by the Purple Pig (not for the squeamish!)
  • An international beer pavilion featuring beers from Germany, England, Mexico, Italy, Belgium, & more

And if this wasn’t enough….all of these events were included in a very user-friendly Chicago Gourmet app that allowed guests to customize their own schedule and “socialize” with others.

Anyone who attends this event – and I highly suggest you do at least once in your life – learns quickly that you need to pace yourself for both food and drink. Even the most experienced of Chicago Gourmet-goers know that you may step into Chicago Gourmet a little anxious, with wide eyes and an eager palate; but you will leave feeling relaxed, more than satiated, albeit a bit wobbly.

Stay tuned for more detailed coverage of Chicago Gourmet this week!

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