Scottsdale Culinary Festival's Wine Country Brunch: We Ate, We Drank, We Bid, We Judged
The Wine Country Brunch has been a super-popular event at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival for 25 years, and by the looks of things, Sunday's elaborate affair at the Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center was no exception.
Buchanan Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center's decked out ballroom
By 11 a.m., a small herd of hungry, thirsty people started lining up to check in and receive their I-belong-here wristbands, and bravo to the brilliant person who suggested it made sense to pass out Champagne and mimosas while we all did that. The message was "let's get this party started," and it put everyone (okay, me) in a more relaxed frame of mind.
The first hour was spent outside in the courtyard, where brunch-ers could participate in a silent auction (movie posters, photos of famous people, and sports memorabilia were a few of the pricier options) or wander over to the cake-decorating competition, where insanely elaborate cakes, created by culinary students and pros, were on display. Most of them didn't look like cakes at all, and that was the cool part. Imagine a Tuscan villa, a Dutch windmill, an homage to Paris, and another to India -- all impressive, all anonymous so that voters (both pros and brunch participants) wouldn't be swayed by a name. Meanwhile, an artist on an outdoor stage painted four pictures of John, Paul, Ringo, and George upside down, meaning the images on the canvas were upside down as he painted them, not the guy.
Buchanan Homage to Paris -- that suitcase is a cake!
Buchanan The Beatles, right side up again
At noon (and not a minute too soon), the doors to the ballroom were opened and brunch was officially under way. Although a few tables were reserved for whole parties (a law firm, for example), most were first come, first served. People grabbed tables first, then started cruising the stations to see what they wanted to eat, but it wasn't a stampede. Everybody seemed polite, happy, and eager to have a good time.
7700 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale, AZ
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