What’s new in food: Natural Wine Festival, new coffee roasters and bread bakers coming.

This weekend Tampa Bay food fans can sip craft beers and learn about natural wines, and on the horizon is a new coffee roaster and sandwich shop.
Published October 24

STRICTLY NATURAL: WINE FEST

Mise en Place hosts the area’s first Natural Wine Festival this weekend. Let’s define our terms first. Natural wine is farmed organically (you’ll hear terms like biodynamics and permaculture, too) and made without adding or removing anything in the cellar. No additives or processing aids are used and futzing with the naturally occurring fermentation process is frowned upon. These wines are not fined or filtered and enthusiasts say the result of all this is a living wine full of naturally occurring microbes. Beyond potential health benefits, this means farming techniques that are good for the earth and environment. The event is an opportunity to meet growers, makers and importers and sip more than 50 naturally made wines (vendors include Florida Wine Company, City Beautiful Beverage, Progress Wine Group, Cerdá, Llanos y Cía and others). Chef Marty Blitz will be whipping up food pairings. 21 and up. $85 to $120. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 442 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 254-5373. eventbrite.com.

WESTCHASE: GETS CAFFEINATED

Blind Tiger Coffee Roaster, one of Tampa Bay’s most dynamic coffee roasters, has announced it’s opening a fourth location, in West Park Village in Westchase by the end of the year. The announcement comes less than a year after the company opened its third location in January 2018 in South Tampa’s SoHo district, which now serves as its flagship site (they started in Ybor City in 2014 and added a Seminole Heights location in 2016).

Maybe with a touch of irony, Blind Tiger takes over the space that was vacated by Starbucks almost a year ago. Why Westchase? Founder Roberto Torres, above, says it’s a confluence of things: a social community, accessibility to pedestrian traffic and a sense of place. In addition to coffee drinks, Blind Tiger will serve gluten-free baked goods, breakfast and lunch items, salads and acai bowls.

TRICK AND TREAT: CRAFT B(R)OO

Head to the Craft Beer and Boo-fest at Tampa Bay Downs, where more than 100 ghoulishly good craft beers will be available for sampling along with food vendors, a Halloween costume contest (free entry, but get serious because the first-place prize is $500) and live music by Shakes Society. Must be 21 or older. $35, $10 designated driver. 4-10 p.m. Saturday. 11225 Race Track Road, Tampa. (813) 855-4233. tampabaydowns.com.

PLAN AHEAD: BREAD PREVIEW

I’ve been a big fan of Gulf Coast Sourdough, which has been sold at Tampa Bay outdoor markets the past few years as well as some stores. On Nov. 1, they’re doing something new. It’s a tasting event in a space that will soon be unveiled as the Sandwich House in the heart of Seminole Heights. Guests can contribute to their Kickstarter campaign to raise money to launch the shop, and can meet Donna Craig, a Seminole Heights artist who will be painting an indoor mural for the restaurant. Brett Wiewiora and Christina Cann make truly rock star bread — I’m guessing their sandwiches will follow suit. 6-8 p.m. 5214 N Nebraska Ave. Free tickets can be reserved at goo.gl/yrz82c.

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

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