If star-studded gourmet wine and food festivals are sort of your thing, listen up. The ultimate foodie experience, the Food Network and Cooking Channel's South Beach Wine and Food Festival presented by Food & Wine, has announced its upcoming 2015 program of events, and this year it's coming closer to home.
The 14th-annual festival, taking place February 19 to 22, will be expanding its reach north by bringing a taste of the famous SoBe event to Fort Lauderdale.
This year, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is upping the ante, offering more than 75 events during the four-day gourmet gathering. The festival will feature a ton of new parties (and talent) along with a noticeable refresh of its most signature tastings from years past.
"This is surely a year that our loyal fans will do a double-take at the program and new attendees will find plenty of events to choose from," says festival founder and director Lee Brian Schrager. "We have made significant changes to upgrade the experience."
Part of that upgrade: expanding the festival's reach to include Fort Lauderdale.
The debut Broward event will be "A Dinner on Fort Lauderdale Beach," hosted by Amanda Freitag, a New York chef and a judge on the Food Network's Chopped. Freitag will be joined by S3 executive chef Peter Boulukos and chef Chris Miracolo. The event will take place on Friday, February 20, from 7 to 10 p.m. at S3. Tickets are on sale now here.
Next year, expect more, according to Schrager. For the SOBEWFF 15th anniversary, additional events could make their way into Broward County.
"[Fort Lauderdale is] our next-door neighbor, and we want to see more of them," says Schrager. "It just makes sense. It's a beautiful city on the beach, like where our signature events are held on South Beach, and we're already thinking big on expanding this in a major way for our 15th anniversary next year."
During the event, enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean as you embark on a culinary journey at Fort Lauderdale's hottest oceanside restaurant, S3. Freitag is executive chef and owner of Empire Diner in New York's Chelsea district, where she proudly serves her own interpretation of modernized diner food.
Boulukos, in addition to being executive chef at S3, is co-owner of its parent company, the Restaurant People, which also owns Fort Lauderdale's YOLO, Fork & Balls, and Tarpon Bend. Together, they will develop a carefully crafted menu paired with wines from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio.
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival kicks off Thursday, February 19, with Ronzoni Pasta's 100th Anniversary Seaside Spaghetti Soirée sponsored by Miami magazine and hosted by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos. It will be a celebration of pasta and all forms of Italian-American cuisine under the festival's signature white tents in the sand behind South Beach's Delano.
These same sparkling white sands will be the foundation for the new version of the festival's treasured celebration of all things grilled, braised, and barbecued as Meatopia: The Q Revolution, presented by Creekstone Farms, hosted by Guy Fieri, and curated by Josh Ozersky on Saturday, February 21.
This year, the festival is also taking significant strides to upgrade its landmark Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village. While enjoying samplings from a seemingly endless variety of restaurants and wine and spirits brands from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio, attendees will be able to see large improvements to the event that spans from Tenth Street to 13th Street, off Ocean Drive. That includes more seating and shaded areas, live music and DJs, select complimentary park-and-ride offerings, and the introduction of chef "culinary captains" who will represent cohorts of chefs from various neighborhoods throughout South Florida.
For more information and ticket sales, visit sobefest.com.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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