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The majority of my friends could be classified in either one of these two categories. They are in luck – they can nourish both tendencies this weekend at the 12th Annual Washington DC International Wine & Food Festival! Some of the culinary world’s top names will be exhibiting. Wineries, distilleries and unique food vendors will be hocking their goods and putting them on display for attendees. Taking place at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW), you can work off all the calories you’ll consume from the tastings just by walking from one end to the other!

The Wine & Food festival kicks off tonight with a “Sommelier Showdown” and the fun continues throughout the entire weekend. Tickets for tonight’s event are pricey and hard to come by as only a select few are released to the public. For $150 per person, buyers will get to watch as top metro-area sommeliers compete to see who can identify wines with mystery labels.

Friday’s event, “Cupid’s Not Stupid, Cocktails to Fall For,” held at Aria Pizzeria (housed in the Reagan Building), will pit the city’s top mixologists against one another as they compete to make the best cocktail. For $55, the audience will get to watch on and sample their creations, along with some light snacks, beer and wine. The mixologists are:

Gina Chersevani
Rachel Sergi, Jack Rose Dining Saloon  
Ben Wiley, America Eats Tavern
Youssef, J & G Steakhouse
Dennis Burns, Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

And, on to the main event! Grand Tastings are on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm and provide access to 500 “rare, unique and loved wines” from wineries across the globe. Sample food from international artisans and, of course, the city’s best restaurants! You’ll leave full, happy and armed with a brand, spankin’ new wine glass courtesy of the DC International Wine & Food Festival. Ticket options include $145 for both days or $85 for Saturday and $80 for Sunday. Sure, it ain’t cheap but sometimes it is ok to shell out to culture yourself a bit!

Seriously, what else are you doing this weekend? No, getting a head start on your taxes does NOT count! Surprise your hunny with an early Valentine’s Day date or just enjoy some quality time with good friends by switching it up a bit!  If you plan to go to the Gilt City Warehouse sale, then you have a reprieve. Otherwise, get your butt down there and get a real taste of DC!