Amazing food, bottomless glasses of wine, toes in the sand and an impressive line-up of celebrity chefs.
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is one of the most talked about events of the year.
To cover this star-studded event VISIT FLORIDA sent not one, but two of their Florida insiders to cover the festival (yours truly, the Entertainment & Luxury Insider, and Rachelle Lucas, the Food & Dining Insider).
Armed with a hungry appetite and a video camera to capture all the action, we started the day at Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village. Situated directly on the picturesque shoreline on South Beach, we ventured from tent to tent exploring mouthwatering offerings from various South Florida neighborhoods and beyond.
Watch the video:
Imagine giant tents directly on the beach and tables upon tables of all kinds of food. Celebrity chefs mix with Miami socialites and visitors from all over the globe at this funky mash-up of luxury, celebrity and dining with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. Oh, and food, lots and lots of food.
When we weren't eating we were jamming out at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's tent.
One of our favorite restaurants (and the crowd's, too) included a newcomer to the festival, Miami Smokers, an urban smokehouse located in Little Havana.
We stuffed our faces with seemingly endless tastings from South Florida’s hottest restaurants.
Celebrity chefs took the stage as part of the KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations. Famous faces included Andrew Zimmern, Rachel Ray, Guy Fieri and star of the Cooking Channel's Emeril's Florida, Emeril Lagasse.
After tasting a traditional Pugliese Focaccia, we learned how to make fresh Orecchiette pasta from Chef Rosario Didonna and two of his expert chefs from Puglia, Italy.
And we posed for a photo op with with our friends at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Did you know that Miami Beach is celebrating its 100th birthday?
The Miami New Times Short Order Best Bites on the Beach award allowed festival goers to vote for their favorite food at the Grand Tasting Village by texting their vote. The winning restaurant was SuViche. We'll toast to that.
To top off an already eventful day, we walked over to The Ritz-Carlton South Beach for the New York Times Dinner Series "Flavors of India." Chef Asha Gomez and Indian native Amol Agarwal, executive chef of the Ritz, delivered a flavorful dinner encompassing a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India, paired with an impressive selection of wine courtesy of Pasternak Wine Imports.
And after all that eating and drinking, it was time for some rest and relaxation with a view.
If you go...
The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE takes place in South Beach each February. The festival consists of more than 75 events during the four-day, star-studded gourmet gathering. As it has since its inception, proceeds from the festival benefits the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at Florida International University. To date, the festival has raised more than $20 million for the school. For more info visit Sobefest.com.