Food Festivals

South Beach Wine & Food Festival: Five Reasons To Schlep to Miami

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival comes to Miami Beach in one week and if you didn't get your tickets, better hop to it.

The festival, which turns the white sand of South Beach red with vino, may be expensive and a bit of a drive, but if you're into food, wine, and chefs-turned-celebrities it's worth the trip.

Here are five best reasons to make the trek to Miami and join the festivities at the "tents":

5. The Food
When do you get the opportunity to eat at almost every single restaurant in the country without hiring a private jet?  Forget your waistline and break out the stretchy pants because you're about to partake in one hedonistic quest for culinary perfection. From the Burger Bash, which features celebrity chefs grilling up beefy goodness for your enjoyment to the intimate dinners hosted by big name chefs like John Besh, Marcus Samuelsson, and Michael Symon -- there simply is no better way to break that 2013 New Year's resolution than at SoBe Fest.

4. The Wine
It doesn't matter if you're a wine snob or a simple wino - there's a varietal for you here. From seminars that focus on Champagne only to a dinner hosted by the Mandella family (did you even know that Nelson Mandella's daughter and granddaughter own House of Mandella wines?) to the insane selection of thousands of wines to sample at the Grand Tasting Village -- if you want to know more about wine -- or simply want to drink it -- there's a place for you to raise a glass here.

3. The Parties
Sure there are the "official" events at the festival, but there are also plenty of satellite parties. In fact, most every restaurant, bar, and hotel in South Beach turns into some impromptu fabulous soiree. Wander down Ocean Drive and take in the fabulous show. Best of all? The price of admission is only the cost of a drink...or a lunch!

2. The Celebrities

Are you a Food Network fanatic? Is your house filled with Martha Stewart cookware and Emeril wine? Do you feed Fido Rachael Ray dog food? Then come on down and mingle with all your favorite celebrities -- and we do mean ALL of them. Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Anne Burrell -- it's your entire cable television lineup live and in person. Bring a camera (in fact bring two) because you'll never know where they'll turn up! Is that Martha Stewart behind you at the local Walgreens? Is Paula Deen sitting next to you at Joe's Stone Crab? Could be....could be.

1. Celebrities Behaving Badly

What happens when you put together a bunch of celebrities, chefs, and lots of wine together in one area? You get a perfect storm of awesomeness! We've seen it all -- Guy Fieri slinging pizza dough....Anthony Bourdain and his wife showing their tats......Paula Deen riding Robert Irvine like a pony....Emeril Lagasse dropping F-bombs!  No wonder the South Beach Wine & Food Festival has been nicknamed "Spring Break for Chefs".

Sold on the drive to Miami?  Purchase tickets online here and if you're going to the event, be sure to grab a Taste Guide inside our sister publication, Miami New Times, available throughout Miami and at the festival. It's filled with maps, interviews, and handy tips for navigating the weekend.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss