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Chicago, Illinois: My Weekend at Chicago Gourmet

As a food lover, I am proud to say that I am from Chicago. Overflowing with excellent restaurants and Michelin stars, it is a wonderful location for food festivals all summer long. Weekend after weekend, the Chicagoans come outside to medicate the cabin fever they acquired during the long sub-zero winter.

The last weekend of September, I returned to Chicago for the delicious Bon Appétit event: Chicago Gourmet. We spent our time in three different areas of this event: the main event grand tasting, Grand Cru, and the demonstration area. Take a peek at the highlights....

Stop One: The Main Event Grand Tasting

The main ticketed event space took up the grand lawn area of the Jay Pritzker auditorium in Millennium Park. Full of tents and people, I will say, you have to time your lines correctly and be patient to get your fill. Each main pavilion food tent highlighted different chefs in different cuisine categories (Japanese, Seafood, BBQ) in multiple hour blocks. At the beginning of the time block, the line would quickly grow. We decided to skip around to the areas with low lines, hitting the popular areas towards the end of the time slot when they had slowed down. The many, many wine stalls were always flowing and easily accessible, with multiple large tables of charcuterie that never ran dry (or had lines). We lived for this aspect of the event. We went wine table to wine table, with ongoing cheese and salami stops. The wines here were all labels you could generally find at stores in the area, some higher-end than others, but all delicious.


Drinks Featured (Top Left to Bottom Right): 2018 Cuvaison Sauvignon Blanc, Josh Cellars Display, The Federalist Red Blend, 2018 Ferrari Carano Dry Sangiovese Rose, Château les Valentines 2018 La Caprice de Clémentine Rosé


Foods Featured (Top Left to Bottom Right):Gaylord Fine Indian Cuisine, Illinois Pork Producers Association Pavilion with Italian Village Restaurants and NoMI Kitchen, Top Nosh Hospitality, Imperial Lamian, Te’Amo, Imperial Lamian 2, Te’Amo 2, Naoki Sushi, Tao, Turano Baking Company

Stop Two: Grand Cru

The Grand Cru area was a separate, ticketed section located on the Harris Theatre rooftop in Millennium Park, and boy, was it worth all the money. This section of the event was exclusively for high-end wines and liquors, with a few delicious food tables to refuel between tastings. We drank our hearts out, and spent our time speaking to those behind the tasting table about the uniqueness of each spirit. No lines, so many glasses of varying spirits, all a great time. (Please ignore that the photos get a liiiittle blurry as the day went on!)


Drinks Featured (Top Left to Bottom Right): Le Chemin du Roi Champagne Rose, Justin Isosceles 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine, Aberlour A'bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, 2014 Red Wine, Aberlour Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Heitz Cabernet Napa, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wine, Emmolo Methode Traditionelle Sparkling Wine Champagne, Louis Roederer Brut Rose Champagne, Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, Daou Vineyards Soul of a Lion, Louis Latour Cotes de Beaune Villages 2016 Red Wine, Caymus Grand Durif, Landmark Pinot Noir, Graham's Tawny Port, Dom Perignon Champagne, Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet, Cloudy Bay, Pinot Noir ''Te Wahi,” Flowers Chardonnay


Food Featured (Top Left to Bottom Right): Avec, HaiSous, The Langham, Entente, Smyth/The Loyalist, Volpi Foods

Stop Three: Demos

Finally, we made a stop in the demo area, located on the pavilion stage itself. Here, we specifically made time to watch Stephanie Izard, one of our favorite Chicagoan chefs, make a dish and talk about her kitchen. Izard is the creator of the famous Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner, Duck Duck Goat, and Cabra. Following the demo, we broke into dance, I grabbed a selfie, and she danced around with my dad (one of my favorite moments). With her was Chef Jamie Bissonnette from Coppa in Boston. He was also a delight to hear speak! P.S. -- he recommended non-stick pans! (YES, there is a chef that recommends non-stick pans).

Huge shout out to my oh-so fabulous father and wine aficionado, Greg Lungmus, who took me to this event and was my wonderful Chicago Gourmet date! I had the perfect day, eating and drinking my way through this event. I highly suggest it to all my food-loving friends!

Written by Emi Lungmus

Photos by Emi Lungmus

Edited by Anna McCarthy


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