Laurenz, the patron saint of cooks, has arrived in Dornbirn and is treating us to a culinary tour of the senses.
20 local restaurants were out in force last night for the opening night of the first Laurenz Food Festival and what a night it was.
They pulled out all of the stops offering exclusive and creative dishes that you would not normally find on their menus, complimented by fresh and sometimes interesting beverage options.
Turning up a bit later I eagerly joined the queue to buy my vouchers, as all stands take voucher payments making the transactions at the stands much quicker. Don’t worry too much about how much you’re going to eat and drink as if you still have vouchers left over at the end of the night you can take them back and get them refunded.
In true food festival style the portion sizes were generally small allowing you to try lots of different options and the prices for most dishes I believe were reasonable.
Turning up later was not a strategic move, however a lot of the food had already been sampled by my group of friends, which basically meant I had my very own group of food critics guiding me on the best options. As a lover of vegetarian food and the whispers that a gin cocktail was on offer, I quickly headed over to Susi’s Zauberei for a veggie burger and refreshing drink to kick the evening off.
Next I felt I needed to balance out my nutritional intake with a bit of meat. I weighed my options up, but the line outside Gabriel Cucina’s drew me in. With an italian sausage ciabatta with all the toppings I knew I couldn’t go wrong and I didn’t. It was delicious, but perhaps a little big for just one person, meaning it filled me up more than I had intended with lots more food to try (so sharing with your significant other, or a random you meet in the queue if you like, is a good option). The Octopus salad from here would also be a good lighter option.
Other crowd pleasers were the spicy somali chicken and rice from Danke Dornbirn, and the toast bowl with a cheese, onion and bacon filling from Oba:doba cafe. However for me the winning dish of the night came from Martinspark in the form of an avocado cous cous. This had all of my favourite ingredients, avocado, pine nuts, coriander, pomegranate and was packed full of flavour. Again a slightly bigger dish and so perfect for sharing.
With the beautiful weather this festival drew a good crowd, however the stands were efficient and the waiting time for most was minimal.
To wash down all of these tasty treats you need some equally tasty drinks and you will not be disappointed. Whether wine, beer or spirits are your tipple of choice you are definitely more than catered for. Hops and Malt and Mohren have a few stands offering some great craft beer options and some interesting ones as well (Bacon Beer anyone?). There are lots of fantantic regional wines to try, as well as to my delight lots of gin options. It’s not all about the alcohol either, you can try a mojito soda, or a homemade mango ice tea.
As the evening went on the crowds were treated to some really good live music and the atmosphere was fantastic, even when the winds picked up and the heavens opened.
All in all I would say this food festival debut was a big hit; well organised, with lots of great food and drink options, great music, and it would be fantastic to see it return in 2017.