One of the most highly anticipated culinary events in Mississippi, the Natchez Food & Wine Festival attracts top chefs and restaurateurs from throughout the Gulf South. Each summer, they gather in Natchez to stage multiple-course dinners in historic mansions, progressive dining events, gourmet tastings, and casual social occasions that make the most of the city's spectacular riverside setting.
All along the Great River Road, renowned chefs, restaurateurs, vintners, and craft beer brewers descend on Natchez for the summer Food & Wine Festival. Friday night offers a huge taster's fair—"Tastings Along the Mississippi River"—with scores of regional chefs and restaurants participating (it always sells out); and top regional chefs stage elaborate feasts in grand Natchez mansions on Saturday night. It's a weekend-long chance to enjoy fine food, wine, and craft brews in Natchez—the oldest permanent settlement along the Mississippi River and home to more than five hundred antebellum structures. Details for individual events are as follow:
• 6:30 pm: The popular Tastings Along the River fair offers delicious tidbits by scores of local and regional chefs, paired with premium wine and craft beer tastings and live music in a casual atmosphere, at the Natchez Convention Center. Grab a glass and taste dozens of wines alongside delicacies by restaurants and chefs from around the region. Back will be the "after hours chefs' party" for participating chefs and tastings ticket holders at Bowie's Rabbit Hole, from 9 pm until late. Chef's Party admission included with Tastings wristband, which is $75 in advance or $90 at the door. Chamber members are $70 and $85.
• Farmer's Market- Demonstration- Free to the public
• 1:30 pm: Wine & Cheese Tasting at The Castle Restaurant on the grounds of Dunleith Historic Inn. Hosted in a circa 1790's building that once served as the plantation's carriage house, this event brings experts from New Orleans' St. James Cheese Company to lead an international tour into the world of cheese. Castle manager and cocktail consultant Ricky Woolfolk will oversee wine pairings featuring Gallo's premier pours. $65 per person (tickets usually sell out; get yours early).
• 5 pm–7 pm: Brats, Beer and Bocce, serving up lighthearted bocce competition, craft beer, and gourmet brats at the Natchez Brewing Co. $35.
• 7:30 pm: Saturday night belongs to the festival's signature wine dinners. This year the Invitation to the Natchez Table dinners offer multi-course menus in historic surroundings at Dunleith and Stanton Hall. Here's what each has in store.
• Dinner at Dunleith, Monmouth & Stanton Hall: See website.
Tickets for each are $125 all-inclusive of wine and cocktail pairing and 4 course dinner.