Memphis has been a food destination for decades. After all, it does host the world's largest barbecue-cooking contest. The Brooks Museum of Art has been in tune with this fact for almost as long, hosting various foodie events on and off-site of their Overton Park grounds for the past 25 years with their Wine + Food Series.
Their newest addition to the series is the extremely popular wine- and barbecue-pairing event, Vin-A-Que, which invites various eateries in town, particularly barbecue restaurants, to do their worst with pork and attendees to pair the wines presented with whichever dishes speak to them.
"This is our biggest fund-raiser," Lindsey Hedgepeth, the Brooks' fund-raising events manager, says.
Now in its sixth year, Vin-A-Que brings in 350 to 400 people every fall. This year's event will be held Friday, September 30th, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Brooks.
Close to 20 restaurants will present barbecue-inspired dishes, with local barbecue favorites such as Payne's, the Rendezvous, Jim 'N Nick's, One & Only, and Central BBQ, as well as some surprises, like Mosa Asian Bistro, Babalu, and Interim, mixing it up with dishes such as boudin balls, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, sliders, and other twists.
Andrew Michael will return with their whole-hog magic, alongside Sweet Grass and Central BBQ, and, if a palate-cleanser is in order, MEMPops will be serving up their handmade, all-natural popsicles, and Frost will offer some sugar relief.
On the wine side, Glazer's Distributors will provide various tasting options as well as five signature cocktails with either vodka, gin, or bourbon as the base, and Ghost River is providing beer.
"This is a nice counterpart to our other wine and food events, which tend to be more formal," Braden Hixson, Development Associate, says.
Hedgepeth and team decided to go with a bohemian theme, encouraging patrons to channel their inner Stevie Nicks while providing a backdrop of tepees, pouf seats, a fortune teller, and make-your-own flower crowns.
Mark Edgar Stuart will provide entertainment.
"It will look totally different," Hedgepeth says. "Now we're utilizing the plaza outside, which is so nice, because we're in this beautiful park setting, and when the weather cooperates, it's magical."
The Vin-A-Que event originated as a way for the Brooks to show off their city to the out-of-town wine vendors who participated in their food events.
"They wanted a taste of Memphis, particularly barbecue, and they usually wanted it more than once," Hedgepeth says.
Proceeds from the various Wine + Food Series benefit the Brooks Museum education programs, such as the Art Builds Creativity visual art enrichment program conducted with Memphis schools; the Inside Art hands-on family art gallery; the Tea & Tour series for seniors; Art Therapy Access; and the phenomenal film screenings, among many other programs.
Tickets are $75, and valet parking will be offered.
For more information, visit memphiswine.org or call (901) 544-6209.