The day drew to a close at Rio Cibolo Ranch, where the final event of this year’s New World Wine & Food Festival took place on Sunday. Rain had been forecast but never materialized. A first-ever Texas Regional Barbeque Showdown was fun for the SavorSA judges who participated. But, it was a real treat for people who sampled the peppery pork ribs, succulent chicken and flavorful brisket outside at the smokers all afternoon.
This popular event was as well-attended as ever. And, in fact the festival was a success — even in this year with an economy in the doldrums.
“We had more people at the festival than we expected this year,” said festival president and CEO, Suzanne Taranto. “Everything has been so great. Saturday night at the New World Grand Tasting the chefs really stepped up their game. On Friday, the Black Tie was sold out. The (new) Bubbles Event on Thursday was crazy; people just about killed us to get tickets,” she said, joking. The event, at the top of the Watermark Hotel, marked the anniversary of the festival.
While barbecue, music from Texas Tide and hayrides were big attractions outdoors at Totally Tejas, inside, in the sprawling pavilion, there was more. The fare ranged from salami, cheese and prosciutto to sushi, wild mushroom tarts, from H-E-B, Shypoke Eggs from Timbo’s, pulled pork and crab cakes. Wines poured were from Texas to New Zealand and all parts in between. Vodka with muddled berries was a big draw, as were icy bottles of St. Arnold beer and root beer.
Late in the afternoon, the winners of the Texas Regional Barbeque Showdown were announced. This contest pitted San Antonio restaurants against amateur barbecue teams. The winners were Wack ‘Em & Stack ‘Em, getting top prize for their ribs; Beko 1 (Ben E. Keith Foods) took first prize for barbecued chicken. San Antonio restaurateur Jason Dady (Two Bros. BBQ) took top honors for his team’s brisket.