Savor Festival Brings Some of Tucson's Best Chefs to the Botanical Gardens

If you fancy yourself a serious local food snob, take note. Savor Food & Wine Festival is hitting the Tucson Botanical Gardens on Saturday, Feb. 7 and some of this town's best food, beer, wine, cocktail, and coffee makers will be serving up samples of their delicious wares for crowds to try.

The second annual event is joining forces with an impressive line-up of over 40 local chefs, 15 breweries and wineries, artisan vendors and purveyors, coffee roasters, and more. Live demonstrations will keep attendees informed and entertained throughout the day, including seminars on how to make gnocchi and tarte tatin.

However, we all know it's really about eating in the end. Some planned bites include:
  • Braised Spanish Pork Shoulder Stuffed Peppadew Peppers with Shaved Manchego Cheese and Romesco Aioli from Stephen Eldridge (Noble Hops)
  • Roasted Street Corn with Queso Fresco and Chipotle Aoli from Jesse Ahumada (NOX Kitchen & Cocktails)
  • Braised Pork Cheek Posole from Albert Hall (Acacia Real Food & Cocktails)
  • Browned Butter Pecan, Prickly Pear, Coffee Ghost Gelato from Peter Miller (Tazzina di Gelato)

VIP attendees also get the opportunity to sample dishes from Ryan Clark (Agustin Kitchen), Kristine Jensen (Cafe Botanica / Gallery of Food), Kris Vrolijk (Proper), Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco), and Daniel Scordato (Scordato's Pizzeria)

If you get thirsty, you can expect everything from Ninkasi, Dragoon, and Dogfish Head brews to coffee from Yellow Brick to a cocktail from The Still's Tiffany Eldredge that combines dark rum, fresh pineapple juice, chai syrup, and nutmeg.

Events like this are especially great if there are a handful of hotspots you desperately want to try, but don't necessarily have the cash flow to eat a full meal at all of them. Trust me, after a while all of those samples will certainly fill you up. Before Savor invades the botanical garden from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Feb. 7, an exclusive kick-off event at Westar Kitchen and Bath will serve as the big event's appetizer course on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 5 p.m.

You can get tickets for Savor and its kick-off event via the Southern Arizona Arts and Culture Alliance website. General admission is $65 in advance and $75 the day of (unless it sells out) or $100 for the full VIP treatment. The website also lists most of the samples chefs will be serving up, if you need to formulate a plan of attack—might not be a bad idea.

UPDATE: Cait Blanton of the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance says the event is very nearly sold out and they do not expect to have tickets to sell the day of—so get them now.