Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor
Two things sunny South Florida does not lack are good weather and plenty of festivals. Here we take a look at a batch of bacchanals and a fanfare of festivals from Pinecrest to Delray Beach, including the SoBe Wine & Food Festival, the Boca Bacchanal, and many more specialty festivals coming up this year.
Presented by Food & Wine, The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival draws chefs, vintners and celebrities on an international scale. Celebrating its 13th year, SoBe Wine & Food has evolved from a one-day festival to a 4-day extravaganza of dinners, tastings, parties, and other events that take over all of South Beach. This glamorous and fun-in-the-sun festival continues to benefit FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory, having raised over $20 million for the school to date.
JA World Uncorked V is another large event as the Junior Achievement non-profit organization’s Circle of Wise Women throws its 5th annual “Fork & Cork Affair” at the 60,000-square-foot JA World facility at Broward College in Coconut Creek. Presented by Premiere Beverage and hosted by chairs Bob and Susan Drinon and Renée Korbel Quinn, Uncorked V is a collection of leading South Florida chefs, caterers, wines, spirits, craft beers and specialty shops that make for a unique gourmet experience.
Another must-attend for wine connoisseurs is the Boca Bacchanal, a festive weekend which brings together world class chefs and vintners offering their finest specialties and providing the entire community with a delightful opportunity to support the heritage education and historic preservation programs of the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum. This coming year, they have changed venues as they move to the historic Boca Raton Airport for the main event on March 27 while on March 28, the more intimate vintner dinners will take place in private residences.
A notable wine event is the American Fine Wine Competition (AFWC) & Charity Wine Gala. Originally started by Shari Gherman simply because of her love of American wines, the AFWC goes into its 8th year of competition, wine socials and their benefit gala – having already raised $700,000 for various charities. This year, the gala will serve a five-course meal with tableside pourings by AFWC’s Wine Angels. It all takes place at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood to benefit Deliver the Dream charity.
Taking a departure from the path of wine pairings, there are several specialty food festivals that are indulgences in guilty pleasures or cultural explorations of cuisine. Pompano Beach will be seeing its second year of the Crawdebauchery Music Festival that is a combination of New Orleans music and cuisine. Highlights include seven bands playing blues, jazz, zydeco, and rock & roll, as well as a 5,000 pounds live crawfish boil.
For the chocoholic in your life, there are two specialty events. The first is the Miami Festival of Chocolate featuring demonstrations by award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers, a cocoa couture fashion show, and plenty of competitions and tastings to get your chocolate fix. There is also the International Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Botanic Gardens in Coral Gables that celebrates the history and taste of the beloved cocoa plant.
Wherever your tastes lie, there is a festival that has just what you’re looking for.
The Festival of Chocolate Jan. 17-18, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Miami Auto Museum at The Dezer Collection 2000 NE 146th St., North Miami $12-20 miami.festivalofchocolate.com JA Uncorked! Jan. 24, 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. JA World Huizenga Center at Broward College 1130 Coconut Creek Blvd., Coconut Creek $150 per person, sponsorships available www.jaworlduncorked.com International Chocolate Festival Jan. 24-26, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables Members enter free Nonmembers, $10-25 305.667.1651 Fort Lauderdale 34th Annual Greek Festival Feb. 6-8, Fri. & Sat. 12 p.m. – 11 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church 815 NE 15th Ave., Fort Lauderdale fortlauderdalegreekfestival.org Chili Cook Off Feb. 7, 12 p.m. – 4p.m. Pinecrest Garden 11000 Red Rd., Pinecrest $5 General Admission SoBe Wine & Food Festival Feb. 19-22 Miami Beach www.sobefest.com Crawdebauchery Music Festival Mar. 21, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Pompano Beach crawdebauchery.com Boca Bacchanal Mar. 27-28 Boca Raton Airport 3700 Airport Rd., Boca Raton www.bocabacchanal.com American Fine Wine Competition & Charity Wine Gala Apr. 24, 6:30 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Casino 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood americanfinewinecompetition.org International Mango Festival July 13, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables 305.667.1651 For a complete list of our favorite festivals including those listed above, go online to www.lmgfl.com.