Thursday night marked the 26th anniversary of the annual Royal Street Stroll, a part of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE). That means 26 years of participants strolling up and down Royal Street in the French Quarter, glass in hand, sampling the many wines and bites along the way. That also means six blocks of bubbly, of Chardonnay and Cabernet, and of gourmet snacks.
Wineries from across the country come out for this event each year—such as Barefoot Cellars, Stella Rosa Wines, and Gloria Ferrer Winery—bringing along cases of wine for the tasting. Many area restaurants also get involved, offering a variety of small plates to try. There were mini-cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes, a shrimp salad on baguette from Gattuso’s on the Westbank, and meatballs from Andrea’s Restaurant and Catering. But the food highlight of the evening came from Maypop, with their simply delicious crawfish and bacon pasta with coconut milk saté.
There was even something for those folks who came out to such a wine-centric event without liking wine: Stella Artois was there with beer and cider, Hendrick’s gin offered gin and tonics, and on the non-alcoholic front, Lifeway Foods had samples of their sparkling “elixirs,” which are bottled probiotic water in flavors such as hibiscus and elderberry
In addition to all the many things along Royal Street to please the palate Thursday night, there was live music, circus performers, and a parade from the Krewe of Cork. People also had a chance to win prizes and loot, including coupons for free pizza or dessert at Blaze Pizza, and all sorts of take-home goodies from Barefoot Wines.
The Royal Street Stroll takes over Royal Street from Iberville to Dumaine Street, and many of the local businesses along the route get in on the act. Gallery Rinard was pouring wine from Willamette Valley Vineyards, the Modernist Cuisine Gallery had food photography to look at and wine to taste, and the Wellington & Co. Gallery was giving away both wine and cookies. The shops get involved as well, such as California Drawstrings serving croissant sandwiches, Red Lantern filling glasses with Gingeroo from Old New Orleans Rum, and the Gem de France store, appropriately, passing out French wine and French cheese.
With wine, food, and entertainment, it was a great evening for a stroll.