Chicago has established itself as a leader in the culinary world. From numerous Michelin starred restaurants to imaginative chefs, the restaurant scene in Chicago is constantly evolving. With the plethora of options, Chicagoans can have difficulty sampling all the many options. The annual Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appetit gives everyone a chance to sample some of the best, brightest and upcoming chefs and restaurants in the city.
On Saturday, September 26, the opening day for the eighth annual Chicago Gourmet, the epic food festival was filled with foodies and friends who wanted to enjoy delicious bites and libations. With so many pavilions that changed chefs mid-day, the abundant amount of food could become overwhelming. Guided by the Chicago Gourmet app and a must try list, the journey to explore the multitude of tastes began.
After grabbing a few bites from Stan’s Donuts and Four Corners Tavern, the first stop was the Rum Diaries seminar presented by Don Q and presenter Charles Joly. Even though the rum tiki trend is hugely popular, rum can serve as a delightful elixir for any cocktail. From the classic, well-made daiquiri to a more robust Manhattan, rum cocktails are delicious. Some of the tips from Joly included understanding cocktail proportions, using quality ingredients and enjoying your personal preferences. One big tip that will make it into every Manhattan going forward, a cinnamon stick. The flavor profile was amazing.
While everyone at Chicago Gourmet indulgences on food and drinks, the conversations amongst guests are exciting. Standing in lines or chatting before seminars, guests had vast and varied reasons for attending this culinary event. Many guests traveled a distance to attend (two friends met in Chicago, one from Austin and the other from New York). Other guests admit that Chicago Gourmet is their annual event for a huge weekend get together in Chicago. For others, the festival was a big day date away from the family.
After talking to many guests, a theme appeared, great food brings people together. While everyone’s preferences may vary, food can create a commonality between everyone. Whether the bite brings back Sunday dinners of fried chicken or a refreshing sip transporting people to a romantic honeymoon, many memories are intertwined with food. Coming back time and time again to this flavor, taste or just memorable restaurant with important people in their lives can make this annual event even more exhilarating.
Around every corner, Chicago Gourmet offered new, exciting bites and twists on traditional favorites. From pie on a stick by Hoosier Pie to lavender infused barbeque sauce by Son of a Butcher Tavern, the classic favorites evolved into new experiences. Even milk has an adult take with Tippy Cow.
Chicago Gourmet has become the must attend food festival for Chicagoans. Whether you follow the restaurant scene or just enjoy delicious food, the two-day festival is an amazing experience for everyone who attends. Mark your calendars for next year. The next trip to culinary heaven will depart on September 23 through 25, 2016.