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2012 International Wine & Food Fest Kicks Off This Week

It's yet another week, though this one also happens to mark the 13th annual Washington, DC International Wine & Food Festival. Events get underway at the Ronald Reagan Building on Thursday, with competitions pitting sommelier against sommelier and mixologist against mixologist. Then this coming weekend, there'll be a grand tasting featuring more than 600 wines, bites from restaurants like Jack Rose and Taberna del Alabardero, an entire pavilion for Spain, and a whole bunch of other exhibitors. There are also, of course, going to be chef demos and even your very own chance to meet somebody named Alejandra Schrader, who was apparently a finalist on shouty chef Gordon Ramsay's show MasterChef.

General admission tickets are $85 for the Saturday tasting and $80 for the Sunday tasting or $145 for both days. Here's some more information on the schedule.

February 9
Sommelier Showdown, 7-9 p.m., $150
For the first time ever, the festival is hosting five local sommeliers — Theo Rutherford of The Coterie, Eli Benchimol of Chef Geoff's, Gustavo Iniesta of Taberna del Alabardero, Guy Golan of J&G Steakhouse and Brent Kroll of Adour — who will try to identify a variety of wines with hidden labels. Chefs Todd Gray, Jaime Montes de Oca and Xavier Deshayes are providing the hors d'oeuvres for the rest of us.

February 10
Cupid's Not Stupid
, 7-10 p.m., $55
Because it's almost Valentine's Day, they're also putting on a little competition between DC mixologists, including the likes of Gina Chersevani, Rachel Sergi of Jack Rose and Dennis Burns of the Ronald Reagan Building. They'll be creating cupid-inspired cocktails and the price of admission includes tastes of each of these cocktails plus wine, beer and light snacks.

Chef Demos
February 11

2 p.m. — Scott Drewno of The Source
3 p.m. — Bonnie Benwick of the Washington Post food section
4 p.m. — David Guas of Bayou Bakery
5 p.m. — Victor Albisu of BLT Steak

February 12

2 p.m. — Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna
3 p.m. — Javier Romero of Taberna del Alabardero
4 p.m. — Gina Chersevani, formerly of PS 7's
5 p.m. — Allison Sosna of DC Central Kitchen

· International Wine & Food Festival [Official Site]

Taberna del Alabardero

I Street Northwest, , DC 20006 (202) 429-2200 Visit Website

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 588-7388 Visit Website

Ronald Reagan Building

1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC