Big Easy fest flouts food & wine

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NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans never tires of throwing parties, and one of its most popular festivals, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, will be celebrating its 13th year next month.

The festival, which will run from May 26 to 30, has grown each year and is now a premier attraction for food and wine lovers around the country.

The festival highlights the city's legendary restaurants along with fine wines from around the world. Thousands are expected to gather this year in New Orleans to sample 800 different wines and taste food from 100 of New Orleans' best restaurants. New Orleans was recently named the No. 2 Food City in the World by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.

During the five-day program, events will be held indoors and out. A number of specific programs will spotlight the beauty and history of New Orleans:

• Vintner's Dinners will be held at more than 34 restaurants around the city on May 26. Select wines will be paired with menus. The price is $85.

• On May 27, the Royal Street Stroll, a walk down the French Quarter street, will feature live music as wine and food are offered at some of the street's most stylish antique shops and galleries. Price is $55.

• The Grand Tastings event, to be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on May 28 and 29, will highlight dishes from 100 of New Orleans' restaurants plus wines from more than 250 producers for sampling. Price: $80 per day.

• Wine seminars, covering a range of topics and led by winemakers and other experts in the field, will be held on May 27, 28 and 29. Price is $35.

• Bubbles and Brunch is a champagne jazz brunch to take place at the Omni Royal Orleans on May 30. Price: $65.

The cost for full registration is $435 and includes admission to the Royal Street Stroll, Grand Tastings, selected seminars and the Sunday jazz brunch.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased by visiting www.nowfe.com or calling (504) 529-9463.

Hotel Le Cirque, located in the new Arts District, will offer packages starting at $69 a night, and the Hotel Chateau Dupre, in the heart of the French Quarter, will offer three- and four-night packages starting at $249 per night. They can be reached, along with a number of other hotels offering packages, at www.neworleansfinehotels.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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