Despite less than savory weather, Chicagoans were out in full force last weekend to celebrate the foodie city's crown jewel, Chicago Gourmet, one of the elite food and wine festivals in the country. Showcasing more than 100 of Chicago's finest restaurants and chefs, all the heavy hitters were out with demonstrations and speakers from the likes of Emmy Award-winner Ted Allen, international sensation Rick Bayless, Top Chef alumni Stephanie Izard, Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto) and Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill) and Alpana Singh, Sommelier of Lettuce Entertain You. Bigger and better than ever, the annual Chicago Gourmet festival is a smashing success, so we advise you to start saving your pennies for next year as the tickets go fast and aren't cheap $175 for a one-day pass or $250 for the weekend.

Photo Credit: Snowpea&bokchoi

Fun Facts About the Event in Years Past:

-On average, 6580 oz. of French Fries are served during the Hamburger Hop, the Friday night kickoff event

- Over 300 wineries and 65 spirits producers are present, meaning you could get your money's worth on booze alone

-17000 lbs. of charcuterie are served on average

-8,000 tickets are sold annually and sell out within minutes

-The most common bite varies by year, but usually includes some type of pork

-Presentation matters: dry ice and take-home cutting boards all make for memorable bites

-At least one engagement takes place yearly

-Top Chef winners and cheftestants are treated like celebrities

-It takes about 7 hours for your stomach to settle after the all-day eating affair

Favorite dishes from years past:

-Truffled short-rib po' boy- the juiciest and most extravagant Southern sandwich gets classed up, served personally by Rick Tramonto

-Crab and avocado ceviche- Gibson's, creamy and heavenly, whose seafood dish was a welcome break from the mountains of meat

-The whole pig up for butchering in the Stella tent (we were even given the cheek!)