This winter, prepare to bring your appetite for community, chef-driven cuisine, and the finest of wines to celebrate the return of the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival.
The 16th annual event launches the first weekend in December, but tickets tend to sell fast.
That's especially true of this year's "Grand Tasting" event, which serves as a finale of the festival. Unlike years past, it will offer five times the number of wines as last year, thanks to a new partnership with Wine Spectator. Across all events, expect wine poured to be 90 points or higher on the company's 100-point scale.
"That takes the quality of wine to a whole other level," event founder David Sabin tells New Times. "The partnership amplifies the sophistication and focus of wines at the festival."
This year, organizers are expanding south to Boca Raton, which stands as a big — but also natural — next step for the food- and wine-focused event. After visiting the recently renovated Boca Raton Resort, Sabin says he knew immediately the location was the perfect fit.
"With their entire food and beverage program, they're one of the best properties in South Florida," he shares.
The festival kick-off party takes place at the new resort location on Friday, December 8, with food prepared by Boca Raton Resort's executive chef Andrew Roenbeck. The evening features guest chefs Lindsay Autry, Valerie Chang, Clay Conley, Duff Goldman, Sarah Grueneberg, and Beau MacMillan.
"An Evening at the Breakers" at the Breakers Palm Beach will return to the festival for the first time since the pandemic.
"We're really excited to have that homecoming," says Sabin.
The dinner will take place at the Beach Club's poolside terrace where Breakers' executive chef Anthony Sicignano will offer the cuisine paired with wine selected by the resort's Master Sommelier Virginia Philip.
Another new partnership promises to delight with the "Porch BBQ" at Ravish. It brings together chefs Matt Abdoo of Pig Beach, Ralph Lewis of Okeechobee Prime BBQ, Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon New Orleans, and Ravish's Johnny DeMartini. An over-the-top holiday experience, Miracle, will be available to pair with the smokey fare. Miracle presents pop-ups with Christmas-themed cocktails, with added libations created just for this event.
Also new: brunch at La Goulue in Palm Beach. The restaurant's executive chef Gwen Le Pape teams up with Miami James Beard Foundation Award recipient Michelle Bernstein and chef Ben Ford (Harrison Ford's son and owner of Ford's Filling Station) to whip up a luxurious four-course brunch.
"The most exciting part is that we've been doing this event for 16 years," says Sabin. "It started as a three-hour event and has evolved into 28 events over four days in six cities throughout the Palm Beach area. Ten years from now, I only hope to see it grow more."
A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit Jupiter's Els for Autism Foundation, which supports kids and adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival. Thursday, December 7, through Sunday, December 10, at various locations; pbfoodwinefest.com.