Clear skies and cool breezes provided the perfect conditions for the twelfth annual Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit last weekend. Despite its longevity, the festival is perhaps one of the state’s best kept secrets. Officially a Texas non-profit organization founded by Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the late Fess Parker of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, and Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards, the three-day event is put on every April with a mission to cultivate appreciation of fine wine and food through education and industry discussion.
And though it very well may be one of the best food and wine festivals in the country, it’s also one of the most intimate. Within about 10 minutes of their release in February, the weekend passes are snatched up by a lucky 250 people. (Another couple of hundred are released for a single Saturday event.)
It’s a bucket-list item I’ve been itching to check off, and this year, the Texas stars aligned and I was able to go. As a first time attendee, I expected the standard walk-around tasting tents and quick handshakes with big-name chefs and winemakers. I’m not sure anyone could have prepared me for just how non-festival like this special weekend would be. If there’s a trick to making a gathering of food and wine lovers feel right at home, Tom and Lisa Perini have figured it out. Here are a few of my takeaways from the weekend.