Get tips from the experts at Design, Wine & Dine Festival

lshirley@macon.comMarch 7, 2014 

Historic Macon’s new Design, Wine & Dine Festival will bring together professional chefs, wine experts and designers for two days of appearances and demonstrations.

Billed as “celebrating the artistry of décor, cuisine, wine and spirits,” the event will take place in a series of one-hour sessions during two days at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

“We were looking for a spring fundraiser and came up with the idea of a food and wine festival. We had already been planning a decorative arts series, so we just decided to combine the two,” said Nicole Kubas, Historic Macon marketing and public relations coordinator. “We are doing a number of sessions to make the event available to a variety of people, and we are bringing in culinary artists, visual artists and even a moonshiner.”

That moonshiner, Tommy Townsend, will host the final session on Saturday: “Make Your Moon ‘Shine.’ ”

“My grandfather, Jack ‘Mimm’ McClure, was a pretty famous moonshiner up in Young Harris, Georgia, in the 1930s-60s, and a little over a year ago, I was able to bring his recipes out and start producing it legally,” Townsend said, explaining that whiskey is technically moonshine when it first flows clear out of the still.

Townsend, who is also the lead singer for the late-Waylon Jennings’ band, will present samples of his Grandaddy Mimms Authentic Corn Whiskey and talk about its history as well as a few recipes it can be used in, such as a moonshine margarita and fried chicken batter.

Also discussing recipes will be Sara Foster, owner of Foster’s Market in Chapel Hill, N.C. Foster specializes in producing meals with fresh, locally grown ingredients and has written four cookbooks. She will be cooking in one session each day of the festival.

“I will be using recipes from my ‘Southern Kitchen’ book, making rosemary cheese crackers that are kind of a combination cheese straw and cracker, which we’ll serve with the Foster’s Market Seven Pepper Jelly and goat cheese that you can make for a last-minute appetizer,” Foster said.

Among other recipes, Foster also will be preparing creamy cheese grits with roasted butternut squash and blue cheese to give her audience an idea of a savory dish using the Southern staple and a slaw made from spring root vegetables such as beets and carrots.

According to a news release, other presenters include Andy Husbands, chef/owner of Tremont 647 in Boston; Jennifer Boles, author of the interior design and decorative arts blog “The Peak of Chic”; Susan Sully, an expert on Southern architecture and design; Thomas Sully III, who paints commissioned portraits, including miniatures in watercolor on ivory; Tim McNally, who will conduct workshops on wine appreciation and tasting; and Elizabeth Dowling, an authority on classical design and architecture.

Local favorite Mark Ballard will serves as host of the event and will present two sessions: “Southern Caramel Cake Baking” on Friday and “Tablescapes in a Snap” on Saturday.

The festival will wrap up with a cocktail party Saturday evening at a recently renovated historic home on College Street, Kubas said.

For a full schedule of sessions, visit

Design, Wine & Dine Festival

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 7 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 8

Where: Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, 301 Cherry St.

Cost: $10 per one-hour session


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