Lights! Camera! Napkin! Annual Bon Appétit Presents: Chicago Gourmet roared into Millennium Park last weekend. This year’s theme: Tony Award winning musicals, meant to go with 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, was a runaway hit. As usual Chicagoans came out in droves to eat, drink and be merry! And The Local Tourist had to be in the mix.
The festival of all things delectable kicked off with the opening press conference hosted by Mayor Lightfoot herself. The veritable Who’s Who of the food world gathered for the welcome address and the champagne toast sponsored by Ace of Spades. As cameras flashed furiously, Mayor Lightfoot spoke of her aspirations of Chicago as the culinary capital of the world. Because let’s face it, our fair city is already the flavor capital of the country. Filled with vibrant neighborhoods, Chicago is second to none in the flavor realm. Take it from someone who has done her fair share of prodigious research on the subject. Welcome to Chicago, stay a while. Who’s hungry?
Chicago Gourmet brought the heat! We sipped and sampled on repeat all day, and even so we barely scratched the surface. The merry-go-round of notable chefs presenting their bites in multiple food pavilions washed down by wines and cocktails galore. Yes, the lines were hefty. By the sheer volume of people waiting, the Supreme Lobster Seafood Pavilion was the crowd favorite once again. But everywhere you looked tasty morsels were being proffered. We sampled smoked filet of beef and many flavors of gelato, sipped on single barrel Bourbon and savored the tiny bubbles in fine champagne. Charcuterie stations sponsored by Volpi were a hit with our group. Who doesn’t love cheese and cured meat?
We played lawn games with liquor exhibitors and learned to cook with the chef glitterati at the live demostrations. We learned the ins and outs of crafting a perfect cocktail with notable mixologists, got tips on wine pairings with difficult foods, and sampled snacks galore. There were book signings and live music and dramatic costumes. Nothing is off limits at Chicago Gourmet.
We could wax nostalgic about our favorite bites. But honestly we would be hard pressed to pick them out of the stellar lineup. In a blink of an eye the weekend flew by. Next year, same weekend, a whole new set of delectable delights. It will be here before you know it! The diet starts tomorrow…
Bon Appetit Presents Chicago Gourmet is hosted annually in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
The Local Tourist one-day media pass for one to the main event courtesy of IMR Chicago.
Photos by Gourmet Rambler.