Culi­nary Get­aways

Florida’s food and wine fes­ti­vals that make the A-list

Times of the Islands - - News -

Plan­ning a trip around a food and wine fes­ti­val adds an­other di­men­sion to a week­end es­cape or a wellde­served va­ca­tion. Foodie fests are al­ways hap­pen­ing some­where in Florida. Here are our fa­vorites for the culi­nary connoisseur in you, plus where to stay for easy ac­cess to all the fes­ti­vals’ hap­pen­ings.

SEE­ING RED WINE FES­TI­VAL, SEA­SIDE, NOV. 8-11, 2018

This is one of few wine fes­ti­vals held steps from the Gulf of Mex­ico wa­ters in a dar­ling of a beach town. Con­sider it north­west Florida’s pre­mier event in which guests en­joy swirling and sip­ping wine, live mu­sic, South­ern hospi­tal­ity, and sand and surf. Our Picks: The vint­ner din­ner at Bud & Al­ley’s beach­front restau­rant, com­plete with sun­set, scores for its awe­some set­ting. An­other top event is Satur­day af­ter­noon’s See­ing Red Grand Tast­ing in down­town Sea­side, where you can stroll from tent to tent and sam­ple some 600 wines, be­fore mo­sey­ing over to the re­tail tent for a case of your new fa­vorite wine. Stay: With more va­ca­tion rental homes than ho­tels avail­able, con­sider book­ing through Cot­tage Rental Agency and take ad­van­tage of spe­cial lodg­ing and ticket pack­ages. Many of the houses are close to the shore on Scenic High­way 30-A, just a short walk from Sea­side. see­in­gred­wine­fes­ti­val.com

PALM BEACH FOOD & WINE FEST, DEC. 13-16, 2018

Chef Daniel Boulud is the head­liner at Palm Beach’s food and wine fest. But there’s no shortage of tal­ent with names such as Duff Gold­man, the pas­try chef from Food Net­work’s Ace of Cakes fame, and Palm Beach’s own Clay Con­ley, a James Beard Award semi­fi­nal­ist for Best Chef of the South. And the venues are just as grand, in­clud­ing the his­toric ho­tel The Break­ers. Our Picks: Fri­day night’s Chef Wel­come Party is held in a luxe, yet trop­i­cal, set­ting at The Break­ers re­sort. Sun­day’s Daniel & Friends brunch at Café Boulud is a chance to meet the renowned chef. And Sun­day’s Grand Tast­ing at the con­ven­tion cen­ter is where you eat, drink and min­gle as you visit some 60-plus sta­tions. Stay: The Four Sea­sons Re­sort Palm Beach is the of­fi­cial host for the fes­ti­val. Set on the At­lantic Ocean, it’s the per­fect spot to re­treat to in be­tween events. pb­food­wine­fest.com

KEY WEST FOOD AND WINE FES­TI­VAL, JAN. 23-27, 2019

The wildest of all the food and wine fêtes, this fes­ti­val be­cause of its sheer lo­ca­tion at­tracts a crowd that knows how to sip, sa­vor and party in the most laid-back, any­thing-goes way. Bring shorts and flip-flops. Our Picks: Book a Neigh­bor­hood Stroll and choose the lo­ca­tion—Ba­hama Vil­lage, His­toric Sea­port or Mal­lory Square; then sam­ple wines as you tour the Key West neigh­bor­hood. For some­thing more culi­nary, re­serve a spot at the Stock Is­land Shrimp Boil at The Perry Ho­tel for a din­ner of pink shrimp, conch frit­ters, Key lime pie and more. Wrap the week­end with the Mas­ter Chef’s Clas­sic on Sun­day for an im­pres­sive pre­sen­ta­tion and tast­ing of pre­mium wines and food. Stay: The Marker Wa­ter­front Re­sort, near the his­toric sea­port, is walk­ing dis­tance to most events. One of the newer prop­er­ties built from scratch in 2014, the lux­ury bou­tique ho­tel has a trop­i­cal conch vibe, bal­conies and three pools. key­west­foodand­wine­fes­ti­val.com

FORKS & CORKS, SARA­SOTA, JAN. 25-27, 2019

This is a salute to Sara­sota’s in­de­pen­dent chefs and restau­rant own­ers, who part­ner with vis­it­ing wine­mak­ers. Ex­pect elab­o­rate din­ners in choice restau­rants and the Grand Tast­ing. Our Pick: Held in the court­yard of The Rin­gling, sur­rounded by clas­si­cal sculp­tures and ar­chi­tec­ture rem­i­nis­cent of Old Europe, Sun­day’s Grand Tast­ing is a de­li­cious soirée in one of Florida’s most beau­ti­ful mu­seum set­tings. Sam­ple fine wines and dishes pre­pared by the area’s top tal­ent. Stay: If you want to sleep in the new­est ho­tel, book at the Sara­sota Mod­ern in the Rose­mary District. Sched­uled to open in De­cem­ber 2018, the bou­tique prop­erty prom­ises Modernist ar­chi­tec­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Sara­sota in the 1940s—clean lines, nat­u­ral woods and big win­dows. From its cen­tral lo­ca­tion you can eas­ily drive to the events. eat­likealo­cal.com

Food Net­work TV per­son­al­i­ties from An­drew Zim­mern to Robert Ir vine have made ap­pear­ances at the South Beach W ine & Food Fes­ti­val. Chef Daniel Boulud hosts an event at his Café Boulud restau­rant dur­ing the Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest.

The Rin­gling’s el­e­gant court­yard is the set­ting for the Grand Tast­ing at Sara­sota’s Forks & Corks. In­set: A fab­u­lous culi­nar y dis­play at the Grand Tast­ing, pre­sented by the own­ers of Harry’s Con­ti­nen­tal Kitchens. Key West's is­land vibe draws a laid-back crowd to its Jan­uar y food and wine fes­ti­val.

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