2018 Eat Drink RI Festival Grand Tasting, photo by Brad Smith Photography
2018 Eat Drink RI Festival Grand Tasting, photo by Brad Smith Photography

The 8th Annual Eat Drink RI Festival is a celebration showcasing the best of the culinary world in Rhode Island. Presenting farmers, chefs, bartenders and food & drink artisans from across the region, this year’s Festival features the return of our popular wine professional competition, an all-new women-prepared dining event, the area’s largest food truck event, and culminates with an all-local tasting featuring even more culinary and beverage presentations than before. Tickets and more information can be found at eatdrinkri.com/festival.

The 2019 Festival kicks off on April 24th with Rhode Island’s second Sommelier Punchdown. Guests will watch and taste along as a handful of our state’s best Certified Sommeliers are pitted against each other in a wine theory quiz, a blind wine tasting, and a collaboration with a local chef. Returning for this year’s Punchdown is 2018 Champion Ali Innes of bin 312 wine cellar and Chefs Terence Feury of Forty 1° North, Ashley Vanasse of Easy Entertaining and Benjamin Sukle of birch and Oberlin. They will be joined by new competitors for a special night full of delicious wine & food.

On Thursday, April 25th there’s something all-new and exciting for this year’s Festival. The Rhody Women’s Feast is a dining experience prepared by some of Rhode Island’s most talented chefs—Jennifer Backman of The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar, Shylicia “Shy” HeywardAndrea LaFazia of The Locals, Rebecca Lentrichia of Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, Maria Meza of El Rancho Grande, Gina Pezza of Vanda and Lizzie Fink of Bread Box Baking Company—for a multi-course dining event to be held at the new Revival Foodworks & Brewery in Cranston. Pairings will be offered by women-owned distilleries, Boston Harbor Distillery and Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island.

On Friday evening, April 26th, the always popular Truck Stop to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank returns to the Food Bank’s huge lot in Providence with over twenty trucks—the largest gathering of its kind in New England. This seventh annual Truck Stop showcases even more of the excellence and variety of Rhode Island’s mobile restaurants, offers drinks from Jonathan Edwards WineryRevival Brewing CompanyYacht Club Soda, features local musicians, and also benefits an organization dedicated to ending hunger. In past years the Truck Stop event has raised over $150,000 for the RI Community Food Bank and the goal is to raise even more than that this year.

As always, the Festival closes with the biggest event. Our Grand Tasting features samplings and sales from local food artisans, locally produced beers, wines & spirits in the Rotunda & Ballroom of the RI Convention Center. Please see the Festival web site for a complete listing of vendors. During the Tasting there will be all-new local food & drink presentations and this year the Tasting is going for maximum interactivity with three presentation areas set in-the-round for attendees to enjoy.

The key to the Eat Drink RI Festival is that it is dedicated to showcasing Rhode Island food and drink. This Festival, unlike many others, is about local chefs, bartenders, farmers, brewers, distillers, producers and more—the people who have elevated Rhode Island to national renown for its culinary scene. Tickets and more information can be found at eatdrinkri.com/festival.

Photos by JWessel, David Dadekian, Corey Martineau and Brad Smith–see ticketing page for more information.

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