If there’s one Shreveport-Bossier food event that surprises and delights me, year after year, it’s Wine Country Bistro’s Wine & Swine. Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 event, which will take place, 3-6 p.m., on Sunday, Apr. 22. The 2018 event will feature 60 wines, live music from Easy Money, a dozen guest chefs (as well as Wine Country Bistro’s own Chef de Cuisine Nick Simons) and a whole lot of pork-centric food that made my eyes bug out while I read the press release.
2017 Louisiana Food Prize winner Eleazar Mondragon will join Food Prize head Tom Ramsey to create a “Mexican boudin.” Dustie Latiolais, whose acclaimed recipe for bacon jam has become sort of a sensation, will be serving bacon jam cupcakes and cinammon sugar pork skins. Marco D’Emidio, the former head chef of Oxford, Miss. restaurant Saint Leo, was born and raised on a farm in Italy and will be preparing a rustic Italian dish called Fagiolo con le cotiche e pancetta arrosto. That’s pork n’ beans made with really good, local pork belly. Blake Jackson, of Shreveport’s Drake Catering and Whisk Dessert Bar, will also be serving a dish.
Tristen Epps, who’s become a regular at Louisiana Food Prize events, won Chopped in December and will be returning to Shreveport to cook an as-yet-unnamed dish at Wine & Swine. Mathew Kajdan, one of the founders of the Hogs for the Cause-winning competition barbecue team Mississippi Bacon Association, will be preparing something, as well. This year, there’ll also be a guest farmer – Josh Heller of Home Place Pastures in Como, Miss. – alongside local Mahaffey Farms and Smith Family Farms.
I asked Jason Brady, owner of Wine Country Bistro, to name a dish that he’s excited about.
“The burnt end mac n’ cheese that we’ve been perfecting on the Southern Fork food truck and at Wine Country is really just ridiculously good,” Brady said. “Every time we do it, it just gets more and more delicious.”
Wine & Swine can feel like madness, especially for the first hour. There’ll be a crush of people who head indoors for the wine tastings, and lines will form for a few of the more outrageous-sounding dishes prepared by guest chefs. But if you brave the crowds and really make time to enjoy the food, Wine & Swine is among the very best culinary events in Shreveport-Bossier – if not the outright best. Tickets are $85 each and you can buy them here. You must be 21 or older to attend.