It’s time again for the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, where you can taste small bites from more than 40 local restaurants, attend wine seminars, sample spirits, and more.  This year’s festival will be held on April 16 and 17, in conjunction with the Southwest Festival of Beers, at the Scottsdale Civic Center.

Restaurants are still being added to the line-up but so far The District, Sushi Roku, Honey Bear’s BBQ, Grimaldi’s, Garcia’s, and Bourbon Jacks, to name a few, have committed to being there.

When you are not sampling food, you can watch demos by local chefs, cheer on students as they participate in cooking challenges, and listen to wine seminars presented by Arizona winemakers in the new Culinary Experience Tent. There’s also an Epicurean Expo, where you can check out the latest kitchen and cooking gadgets.

Need a break from all the food and drink? Twenty bands will perform throughout the day on three stages, and the expanded Family Zone features face painting, a bouncy house, carnival games, and a magician.

Adults ages 21 and over can taste creative vodka drinks at the Skyy Bar and enjoy fine spirit cocktails at the Campari Cocktail Deck. The North American Spirits Tour will be on hand with Cabo Wabo Tequila, Wild Turkey American Honey, Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, and Forty Creek Whisky.

In addition to the culinary festival, you can attend the adjacent Southwest Festival of Beers. You’ll have to buy a separate $40 ticket to the beer festival, but it includes admission to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, a souvenir tasting mug, and 20 samples of the more than 250 specialty beers on hand, including Mother Road Brewing Co., Prescott Brewing, San Tan Brewing Company, Four Peaks Brewing Company, and Mudshark Brewery.

The beer festival also features a beer garden and live music, but do note that the Southwest Festival of Beers tickets does not include food, and of course, you must be 21 or older to enter.

General admission to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival is $10, though presale tickets are $8 online. Your general admission does not include tickets for food samples or adult beverages. In the past, Groupon and Living Social have offered two-for-one deals and other discounts, so you may be able to score a deal if you check out their sites. Children 12 and under are free.

If you don’t like the thought of paying for each sample, purchase VIP tickets, which give you unlimited food and wine tasting in the special tasting tent, meet-and-greet access to celebrity chefs, and exclusive demo seating. But, there are only 1,000 VIP tickets available, and they sell out every year, so get yours now. VIP tickets for Saturday are $140 each while VIP tickets for Sunday are $115.

The event kicks off both days at noon and ends at 9 pm on Saturday and 6 pm on Sunday. More than 40,000 foodies are expected. Free parking is available near the Scottsdale Civic Center, but these spaces will quickly fill up. Plan to either park and walk or take the trolley.

Bon appetit! Let us know after you go which event or restaurant was your favorite.

Don Matheson
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255