New Orleans Wine and Food ExperienceNew Orleans may be best known for its music festivals and Mardi Gras, but over the past decade, a growing number of events have put the Big Easy on the culinary festival map.

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, now in its 22nd year, attracts more than 10,000 epicureans to tasting events, seminars and a gala finale. Kicking off on May 21, this year's event will feature more than 1,000 wines from over 200 winemakers as well as dishes from more than 100 New Orleans restaurants.

Highlights will include an evening stroll through the city that combines antiques, art, jazz and architecture with wine tasting, and a pastry competition with the desserts paired with Champagne and spirits.

During the festival, more than two dozen local restaurants feature dining evenings. Visit

The Tales of the Cocktail festival, in its 12th year, offers five days of cocktail mixology, tastings and competitions.

From July 16 to 20, bartenders and spirits professionals will "mix and mingle with the brightest minds in mixology" during seminars, dinners and other events. The festival also features new product launches.

This year, bartenders will compete to concoct the best Hurricane, a French Quarter classic since the 1940s. See

Louisiana Seafood FestivalThe three-day Louisiana Seafood Festival, described as a celebration of "all the fresh and flavorful seafood that makes our state great," launched in 2006 as the New Orleans Seafood Festival.

The festival in 2011 merged with the existing Louisiana Seafood Festival. Last year, more than 45,000 people attended the festival in City Park's Festival Grounds.

Held in the fall, this year's festival will have a 4,000-square-foot covered pavilion featuring celebrity chef demonstrations and a Craft Beer Garden with more than 20 taps to choose from. Children will have a separate tent offering activities from the Louisiana Children's Museum. Visit

The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival brings out dozens of food vendors, including some of New Orleans top restaurants, that feature specialty "poor boy sandwiches," which the festival says are "as diverse as the city it symbolizes."

Each year, the festival names the best of the best in different po-boy categories.

This year's festival will take place in November; the date is typically released in July and its music lineup in October. Check out

Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw. 

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI