Thursday, October 26, 2017

What’s So Great about the San Miguel de Allende Food Festivals?

Do we need a reason to eat? Sign us up because who doesn’t love a SMA food festival?

SMA was clearly not done with us after the food festival season this past summer. A highly successful Oktoberfest San Miguel de Allende was added to the festival schedule and gave us all a reason to celebrate. The timing couldn’t have been better; the weather was perfect.

Although the weather was far from perfect for SMAFF 2017, we loved the lineup of celebrity chefs including hometown chef, Carlos Gaytan of Mexique Chicago and Gabriel Rodriguez, 2017 Top Chef Mexico winner. We’ve always wanted to meet Chef Lucy Noriega, who has been a Facebook friend of ours for ages and this year we did.   

Earlier in the season, the restaurant B'ui - cocina de campo, owned by Daniel Estebaranz, held a smaller food fest, The Pic-Nic, with a number of major chefs including Chefs Benito Molina, Javier Plascencia, and Dante Ferrero.

SMA food festivals also gave us an opportunity to meet some of the new, young SMA chefs like Juan Manuel Galvan Lopez, Emilia Prats, Miguel Gallegos and aspiring chef Santi Aleck Pirsch, who was the youngest chef to wow the crowds at SMAFF.

Bruce James of Hotel Matilda launched a new food festival this past July, The Market of Arts & Gastronomy (MAG), which brought in many high-profile chefs. More chefs, hotels, restaurants, food and spirits companies, wineries, artists, and major media found out what we already know: SMA is the best city on earth to be, especially for a food festival. In fact, food festivals are one of the many reasons that San Miguel de Allende was named the best city in the world in 2017 by Travel + Leisure. The variety of food you can find in SMA is astonishing.  

Thanks to all the festival organizers for a magnificent season of eating, drinking and music: Billy Mervin for the Lamb and Mezcal Festival; Daniel Estebaranz, Chef Armando Prats and RicardoTrejo for SMAFF and The Pic-Nic;

Bruce James, Jorge Alarcon L and Erik Figueroa for MAG and Daniela Doig and Irma Dena Villanueva for the new Oktoberfest San Miguel de Allende.

Although you don’t need a reason for a party in Mexico, here’s why we love SMA’s food festivals; every one of them.

The Food:
What should you eat? ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! We go to food festivals for the food. With a large number of options, you have your choice of everything you love and everything you’ve always wanted to try. Just for today, calories don’t count and you can give into every one of your food cravings.

Chef Tables:
For a one of a kind dining experience that doesn’t come along every day, you have the opportunity to not only taste the food and flavors of a particular chef but you also get an opportunity to meet them.

The Chefs:
San Miguel de Allende has one of the tightest knit chef communities I’ve seen anywhere and when other Mexican chefs come to town, they are family. The chefs who participate in a food festival like to just hang out and cook together; cooking what they love and having fun.

Also, we were delighted that all the chefs from Tabasco made a return trip to SMAFF to remind us all how to celebrate summer with their legendary oyster fest.

The Crowd:
Have you met any new friends lately? If you want to expand your circle, try going to a food festival in San Miguel de Allende. And what better new friends to meet than the ones that love to eat.

I met more people this year at food festivals than anywhere since I’ve been in SMA; everyone from Jonathan Armengol, a blind food critic from Spain at the Lamb and Mezcal Festival to beer makers Gallo de Oro from San Luis Potosí at the Oktoberfest San Miguel de Allende. It’s also great to expand your circle outside of SMA, especially if you travel.
The Pop Ups:
There was great food at all the festivals this past season; The Restaurant, Birdies Burgers, Taco Lab, El Vergel Bistro and Market, Chef Armando Pratts, and Buenos Aires Bistro were fixtures on the food festival circuit. We never get tired of anything these chefs happen to cook for us. In fact, there are dishes we’re begging them to put on their restaurant menus.

We also found new places to eat including Smoked N Low Food Truck who was at SMAFF 2017 this year.

The Value:
Can you put a price tag on trying all sorts of new food and drink and listening to headliners of some of the best bands in Mexico, all in one place, under the clear, bluer-than-blue skies of SMA? Me neither.

Some of the festival events this year were not inexpensive but if you’re a food lover like I am, you don’t think twice about spending the money on a dinner where both Chef Donnie Masterton of the Restaurant and Chef Marcela Bolano of Marsala, cocina con acentos are cooking. The only decision you had to make here is which one of the chef tables to go to.  
The Education:
The best way to get a food or drink education is to go to a food festival. But rather than coming just to taste or shop, festival goers now want learn to make the wine with the wine maker or enter in a food competition or two. Festival promoters are getting much more creative in what they are offering customers; all the more reason to go.

And don't forget about the hometown crowd. Thanks for all of your support!
Buen Provecho and see you next season!