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Taste: Wine + Chocolate + Barbecue

The three food groups unite

From April 23-25, dozens of winemakers and chefs come together at the Perini Ranch in Buffalo Gap for the 5th annual Wine and Food Summit. Founded by chef Tom Perini and winemakers Fess Parker and Richard Becker to cultivate the appreciation of fine food and wine, the event features seminars and wine-tastings, exclusive dinners, cooking demonstrations, a dance, and offerings by Texas restaurants and chefs.

You’ll probably discover some unexpected food-and-wine pairings. Viognier and fajitas. Pinot noir and barbecued sausage. Port and dark chocolate.

The latter makes chocolatier Pamala McCombs smile. Her business in nearby Abilene, Candies by Vletas, which occupies the restored 1936 Railway Express Building, has provided chocolates and pralines to sweets-seekers since 1912. “We’re known for our pralines, and also for our chocolate,” says McCombs. “Probably thanks to news about health benefits, we’ve seen interest in our dark chocolate increase by 75 percent.”

Of course, convivial company always yields healthful rewards. So make tracks to Buffalo Gap for the Summit. Until the news breaks that barbecued ribs, fried chicken, and the other treats served with panache here are good for your heart, you can savor them for the delight they bring to your spirit. Tickets go on sale on March 1; hotels and other accommodations are available in Buffalo Gap and Abilene. Call 800/367-1721; www.periniranch.com (Wine and Food Summit) and 800/725-6933; www.candiesbyvletas.com (Candies by Vletas).

—Lori Moffatt



From the March 2010 issue.

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