La Dolce Vita Food and Wine Festival

La Dolce Vita Laguna Gloria

It’s common knowledge that Austin’s culinary scene has been blowin’ up. We have Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui and his Asian fusion empire, Austin Food & Wine Festival, and the flagship Whole Foods. Not to mention the wonderful restaurants constantly cropping up, and all the famous barbecue.

And of course… LA DOLCE VITA. I’ve always wanted to attend La Dolce Vita since I moved to Austin and first heard about this glorious event. The magnificent Laguna Gloria, an absolutely beautiful outdoor venue, is swarmed by over 50 of the hottest Texas restaurants and wineries, and attendees are tasked with the stressful chore of tasting everything. And by “stressful” I clearly mean “AMAZING.”

Whoever said the best things in life are for free has obviously never attended a high-end culinary event, because tickets to La Dolce Vita will set you back $150 (or $200 for a VIP ticket including access to an exclusive cocktail lounge) but it’s worth it if you want to sample the cooking of some of the region’s best chefs. If you, unlike me, don’t like throwing large sums of money at indulgent dining opportunities, you’ll be happy to know that the ticket price also goes to support the arts—all proceeds go to The Contemporary‘s educational programs.

By the end of the event, I was Thanksgiving-level full. (And we all know I can EAT on Thanksgiving.) Seriously, I just kept stuffing myself until it was over. I felt like I was walking through one of those big, elegant Top Chef elimination events where all the cheftestants are vying for best dish and shoving beautiful plates of food at the judges. Just call me Padma!

Read on for some photo highlights of my oh-so-delicious evening:

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