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SAVOR Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival brings together over 75 of Tucson’s culinary artists

The+staff+of+The+Flying+V+at+Loews+Ventana+Canyon+Resort+serves+a+crowd+of+1%2C200+at+Savor+2015.+The+food+and+wine+festival+has+over+75+restaurants+and+wineries+this+year.
Courtesy Cait Huble

The staff of The Flying V at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort serves a crowd of 1,200 at Savor 2015. The food and wine festival has over 75 restaurants and wineries this year.

Foodies and wine connoisseurs alike will make their way to the Tucson Botanical Gardens this Saturday, Feb. 4, for the fourth annual SAVOR Southern Arizona Food and Wine Festival, which will occupy the gardens that day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is a collaboration between nonprofit organizations Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tucson Botanical Gardens and is designed to promote the local food and wine atmospheres, as well as stress the importance of supporting these local businesses.

It will serve as a chance to showcase the unique culinary atmosphere of the Tucson area, giving attendees the opportunity to experience Tucson as a world-class dining destination. The event has already sold out.

“In the past few years, Tucson has been recognized as a stand-out dining destination, and the talent we have in Southern Arizona is truly worthy of international prestige and the culinary community is incredibly proud of this recognition,” said Cait Huble, communications director for the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance. “The festival is an important event to the community as it offers chefs the unique opportunity to interact outside of the restaurant, both with each other and with the event attendees. Our goal is to offer the attendees at Savor new experiences, from trying new restaurants [to] sampling different types of wine or beer to just experiencing the Botanical Gardens.”

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This event serves as one of the largest locally focused food festivals in Southern Arizona, giving local vendors a chance to share their creations with the community in the botanical gardens.

“The Botanical Gardens creates such a relaxing atmosphere for the festival,” Huble said. “It’s incredibly easy to forget you’re in the heart of the city as you stroll through the lush 5.5 acres of the gardens, tasting and sipping all the way through.”

Tucson has a world-renowned culinary atmosphere, realized in its distinction as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

The festival will include over 75 Tucson restaurants, chefs and wineries, giving guests a culinary experience they will never forget. Some of the vendors participating in the festival include Agustin Kitchen, The Coronet, Beyond Bread, Charro Steak, SpunLight Cotton Candy, Barrio Brewing Co., North Italia and Pillsbury Wine Company, just to name a few.

It will also give new, up-and-coming culinary artists a chance to show off what they can do with a large, food-loving crowd.

“I always look forward to seeing the newcomers to the Tucson culinary scene; it’s exciting to watch them become a part of the local community,” Huble said. “The festival is open to any locally owned restaurant that wishes to participate. Our only limitation is the venue. We are only able to fit about 80 booths into the Botanical Gardens; if we could fit more we absolutely would.”

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Besides all the food and wine participants, the festival will also feature an art exhibit, musical performances and raffle prizes. Local organizations, such as food magazine Edible Baja Arizona, will also be there to offer insight into how food intersects with local culture and traditions.

Two of the festival sponsors, SAACA and Local First Arizona, have previously worked together for many years on the Devour Culinary Classic, a festival in Phoenix that also focuses on promoting locally owned restaurants.

“When we began considering bringing this type of food festival to Tucson, the Botanical Gardens became a great partner and venue,” Huble said. “All three nonprofit organizations strive to educate and promote the beauty and culture of Southern Arizona in their own unique way. By partnering together on this event, we’re able to pool all of our resources to put on an event that is rich in community and really honors the amazing culinary and cultural gems this city has to offer.”

As of right now, the event has sold out, and tickets will not be available for purchase at the door. Tickets were selling for $65 each, and event attendees must be 21 or older.

It may be too late to attend this year’s festivities, but keep an eye out for next year’s festival.

In the meantime, check out the list of festival participants at https://www.saaca.org/savor.html and go visit them at their normal location to support local businesses and get a taste of what Tucson has to offer. This city may not have sandy beaches or amusement parks, but we certainly have great food.


Follow Alec Kuehnle on Twitter.


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