A Festival Celebrating Tucson Dining

October 3, 2012 |

Pull out your dapper dining clothes and build up a healthy appetite, as the 2012 Tucson Culinary Festival is returning this month featuring exciting new events and delicious new dishes from Tucson’s finest restaurants. While the cuisine, wine and margaritas that have defined the event for so many years will make their usual appearance – the setting will be changing to two stunning new locations for this year’s festival events.

The Reserve Tasting and The Grand Tasting, which were formerly held at Loews Ventana Canyon for the previous seven years, will be taking place at Casino Del Sol Resort on Saturday, October 6th and the World Margarita Championship will be making the move from Maynard’s Market to the Tucson Museum of Art on Friday, October 26th.

“We have so many new and exciting elements this year, starting with the venues,” says Tucson Culinary Festival Director of Marketing Melissa Colosimo. “You can expect a more spacious and open layout, making for a better flow and feel. The venues are gorgeous with their own unique Tucson charm. The pool area at Casino Del Sol is stunning and will provide the perfect backdrop for the more up-scale Reserve Tasting.”

The event kicks off with the Reserve Tasting, which is sure to tempt even the most novice wine enthusiast by giving them the opportunity to taste small-production and boutique wines accompanied by dishes crafted by Tucson Original Chefs. This tasting will take place from 5:00-8:00PM, where guests can take in a beautiful sunset along with their wine while mingling at the stunning oasis pool area of Casino Del Sol resort.

Then cleanse your palette and head over to the Grand Tasting (admittance is included for those who purchased a ticket to the Reserve Tasting), which will be held in the Grand Ballroom. Here guests will be treated to over 100 wines from the top growing regions of the world, a large selection of micro brews and beers and a sampling of signature dishes from over 40 Tucson Original Restaurants. If you need to rest for a breather, guests are invited to the Comcast Lounge where there will be cocktail demonstrations and spirit tastings throughout the evening. This portion of the event lasts from 6-9pm.

“There are a lot of new interactive and hands on activities for the attendees this year,” says Colosimo.We will be offering wine seminars for the first time during the grand and reserve tastings as well as a new, more efficient wine-buying system that will make it easy for guests to purchase the wines they taste at discounted prices.”

And last but not least is the World Margarita Championship, which is conveniently placed 20-days from the initial events to give ample time to burn off that wine and food and to prepare yourself for a truly unique spectacle. The Tucson Museum of Art is hosting exciting competitions from Tucson’s top mixologists who will be fighting to win the title of “World’s Best Margarita.” Sample each margarita and taste original dishes by local Tucson Chef’s and place your vote for the 2012 People’s Choice Award. Local celebrity judges include former UA Basketball star Joseph Blair, noted food mavens Jennifer English, Edie Jarolim, and renowned mixology expert Robert Plotkin.

“No other event showcases the wide variety of culinary talents and specialties of Tucson like the Tucson Culinary Festival,” says Colosimo. “Guests will taste a variety of dishes from Tucson’s best locally owned restaurants – from gourmet creations to simple classics and delectable guilty pleasures. Southern Arizona’s top wineries will be showcasing their new and prized vintages and Tucson’s top mixologists will prove that Tucson is as progressive as the country’s biggest cities in the field. Plus each event is priced at varying levels to accommodate a wide demographic of attendees.”

This year, the Tucson Originals have partnered with Cox Charities and will be donating the funds from the festival to Tucson Values Teachers and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber Foundation, which supplies scholarships to Tucson’s youth.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.tucsonoriginals.com

Category: FOOD & DRINK