In South Florida, when you think fall, you think lower temperatures. But right up there too should be food as the area's culinary festival scene has steadily improved, growing in size and scope, showcasing the unique diversity of residents and restaurants' gastronomic offerings.
From casual to high-end, food-centric events offer visitors and local foodies the chance to gather around and enjoy to their hearts' content some of the best South Florida eats and drinks. See below New Times' roundup of the best food festivals to attend this fall season.
Feast of Little Italy in Jupiter
This weekend, Downtown Abacoa will host the 17th-annual Feast of Little Italy, a three-day family street festival. Join in to celebrate Italian-American culture and flavors with musical and comedy performances, food booths, carnival rides, games, free wine, and a cooking stage with live demonstrations. Yes — free wine. This fall, you will also get the opportunity to catch the Southeast Classic Car Show, a display of 100 of the world's most unique cars, along with a performance by The Voice season 14 contestant Austin Giorgio, and local celebrity and children's Galbani cheese building contests. 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, November 1, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, November 2, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, November 3, at Abacoa Amphitheatre, 1267 Main St., Jupiter; feastoflittleitaly.com. Tickets cost $5 via eventbrite.com and $8 at the gate.
Boca Raton Wine & Food Festival
Boca Wine & Food Fest is now in its tenth season. The all-day event is one of the largest outdoor festivals in South Florida and it will be held at Sanborn Square Park on Saturday, November 9, at the heart of downtown. Expect a wide variety of delicious dishes from local chefs, including Eric Baker of Rebel House, Sean Thompson of Chops Lobster Bar, and George Patti of M.E.A.T. Eatery And Taproom. Tickets grant admission, food, wine, and spirits tastings. In addition to food and cocktail booths, the festival's grand tasting will also feature a special area for the sixth-annual Craft Brew Battle. Saturday, November 9, at Sanborn Square Park, 72 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton; 561-338-7594. Tickets start at $35 via bocaratonwineandfoodfestival.com.
Walgreens Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine and Music Festival
A concept created by Miami Dolphins' John Offerdahl and his wife, Lynn, the Walgreens Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival celebrates its tenth year on Saturday, November 9, at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. During the fest, 22 local chefs will be paired up with football legends, including O.J. McDuffie, Mercury Morris, and Mark Duper. Bring your whole family to get in the action at the Toyota Cornhole Stadium as you compete or cheer on your favorites as they attempt to beat John Offerdahl’s score in the Celebrity Cornhole Challenge. Mix in a live performance by country music singer Brett Young and a themed menu from Taste of the NFL and you get yourself a fantastic fun-filled day. The best part? In addition to direct donations to the Taste of the NFL’s Kick Hunger Challenge, proceeds from this year’s Walgreens Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival will also benefit the Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation Scholarship Fund. Saturday, November 9, at Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 806 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach; 561-223-7231. Tickets start at $85 via gridirongrilloff.com.
Brazilian Feast for BC at Regina's Farm
Skip the yearlong wait for South Florida's festivals, and instead get a ticket for Regina's Farm's Brazilian Feast for BC. The second-annual dinner event, benefiting the Dr. James Sistrunk Scholarship Fund at Broward College, welcomes guests to backyard picnic tables at Regina's Farm, nestled in Sailboat Bend, just west of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and features Regina's signature cheese bread, soup cooked over an open fire, authentic Brazilian main courses, and an entire spread of desserts. Opt for one of the three VIP tables available for reserved seating and get a bottle of wine per couple and priority when Regina rings the dinner bell. Regina's Farm, a nonprofit venture that's become an underground favorite among locals, hosts pop-up dinners several times a month — but you have to move fast because Fazendinha da Regina's feast nights fill to capacity fast. 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, November 10, at Regina's Farm, 1101 Middle St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-465-1900. Tickets cost $100 for adults, $25 for children via reginasfarm.com.
Taste of Lauderdale Lakes Festival
Lauderdale Lakes is probably not on your culinary-destination radar, but maybe it should be. This all-day event featuring fine foods and arts and crafts gives you a good reason to join thousands of other festivalgoers on November 16 for a waterfront a special Restaurant Showcase, where local chefs prepare signature dishes that attendees will be able to taste and a Best Home Chef contest, where participants will compete for a grand prize of $500 by creating and preparing an original recipe using a basket of ingredients from the Lauderdale Lakes Community Garden and local grocers. This family-friendly fest will include a Kids' Corner with face painters, balloons, interactive art projects, and a lineup of multigenre performances. Or head to the Arts & Culture Village for live painting demonstrations, community participation art projects, art exhibits, pop-up cultural performances, and a diverse array of merchandise. Saturday, November 16, at 3900 N. State Rd. 7, Lauderdale Lakes. Tickets cost $5 to $45 via tasteoflauderdalelakes.com.
Boca GumboFest 2019
Launched last year as a fundraiser for Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, GumboFest is one of Broward County's most exclusive and intimate culinary events. The crowd is capped at 600, so you might just bump into your favorite local food personalities, who will be preparing their very best dishes to compete for the title of Grand Gumbo Master of South Florida. Funky Buddha Brewery's draft van will be serving beer, and St. Augustine Distillery, Naked Turtle Rum, and Tito's Vodka will provide the spirits for the selection of cocktails. Enjoy live music by the Lubben Bros and the Sheffield Brothers Band. Admission tickets to the fest grant parking at Red Reef Park East or South Beach Park, one re-usable metal cup, and three Gumbo Bucks to exchange with vendors for gumbo and drinks. 1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, November 16, at Red Reef Park West, 1400 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. Tickets cost $20 to $40 via eventbrite.com.
Palm Beach Wine & Food Festival
This year marks the 13th anniversary of this high-end festival, which will take over Palm Beach County from December 12 through 15 with a schedule of more than 16 events. This year, the four-day fete includes an exclusive lineup of dinners, lunches, unique tastings, and cooking events, including what's billed as the Beef 'N' Bourbon Experience, a dinner hosted by Adam Richman at Okeechobee Steakhouse, and A Dinner at Florie’s with chefs Jose Gamez and Brandon Salomon at the Four Seasons Resort. Expect top-shelf poolside tastings at the annual favorite Chillin’ & Grillin’, a Bell & Evans Dining Series event, featuring chefs like Timon Balloo, Richard Blais, Marc Forgione, and Sarah Grueneberg. Watch as chefs compete for the $10,000 charity prize at the Grand Chef Throwdown during the Wine Spectator’s grand tasting event, which will cap off the festival with more than 50 restaurants and an anticipated crowd of 2,000 guests. Thursday, December 12, through Sunday, December 15, at various locations. Tickets cost $50 to $195 via pbfoodwinefest.com.
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