Atlanta Food & Wine

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We were invited out to Atlanta this year to host a sensory tasting event and deliver a series of lectures at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.

The Southern Sensations event was a celebration of the diverse flavours found in the Cuisine of the Southern States. Sponsored by PNC Bank, we created three sensory environments that were designed to bring out elements of Sweet, Sour and Spice, in food and drink made on the night from some of the South's most celebrated chefs and bartenders.

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After extensive tasting and research back in the UK, we decided to focus on sweet, sour and spice, as they form the basis, in varying quantities, of all the dishes of the South from Barbecue to Gumbo, Jambalaya to Brunswick Stew. These flavours have evolved as the result of the influx of different cultures that shaped the area. The italians brought the sweetness of tomato sauces, and palm sugar came in from the Caribbean. The British brought over sour vinegar as a preservative on their ships, and the tang of lime came up from Mexico. The Germans and French introduced spice in the form of mustard. The Spanish, mainly from the Canarie Islands, brought cayenne and paprika.

Our concept was to serve food and drink that was a balance of these three taste qualities. Three sensory environments would be created from a scientific sensory brief, that would tip the balance of flavour. A drink that was perfectly balanced in the main bar, would become noticeably more sour, sweet or spicy depending on which room you were in. Guests could explore the flavours by travelling between the rooms. Or find the place where the taste was most to their liking, and hang there while they finished.

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Food and drinks were supplied by the likes of Charcuterie guru Kevin Ouzts, of the 'Spotted Trotter', drinks genius Lukas B. Smith, beverage director from 'Daikaya', Washington DC, and Paul Calvert form Atlanta's 'Paper Planes'. The Southern Sensations party was attended by over 200 guests.

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Co-Founders Russ Jones and Scott King also delivered a series of lectures over the 3 day long food and wine festival, to sell out crowds. Kevin and Lukas helped out, providing food and drink for the lecture guests, where Scott and Russ introduced them to the concept of sensory dining, and how we all taste through all our senses.

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Images provided by AFWF / Rafterman photography