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Making the Most of Food and Wine Festivals

Food and Wine festival

There is no better place to celebrate this centuries-old love affair than at the Food and Wine Festival this February in South Beach, FL.

When your passion is wine and the fabulous food that brings together such a wondrous gastronomical pairing, there is no better place to celebrate this centuries-old love affair than at the Food and Wine Festival this February in South Beach, FL.
Entering its 10th year and hosted by the Food Network , Food and Wine Magazine, Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida and Florida International University, the Food and Wine Festival is a star-studded event, occurring during the last weekend of February from the 24th to the 27th in 2011. More than just a celebration, the wine festival acts a benefit for FIU's school of Hospitality and Tourism Management Teaching Restaurant as well as the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center and has raised over $10 million dollars for both thus far.

The event began somewhat humbly as a one-day gathering of chefs and protege and had taken place at FIU's Biscayne Campus, known simply as the Florida Extravaganza. Until 2002, a gathering of national and international wines were showcased and matched with dishes from local restaurants and eateries. Budding culinary students worked side-by-side with experienced chefs to assist with preparing food for the event. In 2002, Director of Special Events and Media Relations at the Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Lee Brian Schrager, moved the festival to South Beach and incorporated his own creativity into the event, thus sparking life and a bigger interest into what was then referred to as the South Beach Food and Wine Festival.

With the introduction of seated dinners, seminars, tasting events and a live auction, the 2002 South Beach Food and Wine Festival attracted approximately 7000 visitors and has since continued to grow in popularity, encouraging the once one-day event to be spread across a total of three days in order to accommodate its increasing number of guests. As of 2004, the amount of guests totaled more than 20,000, doubling the festival in size.

After becoming recognized as one of the largest and most well-recognized food and wine fests of its type in the United States in 2006, the Food Network became a partner of the event and became its title sponsor. In 2007, the renamed Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival presented by Food and Wine was born, invoking the interest and participation of celebrity chefs, top talents from around the globe as well as an iconic guest list. In 2010, the festival attracted more than 50,000 to her doors and successfully raised over $2 million dollars for FIU's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Teaching Restaurant.

This year's wine festival includes appearances by Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Giada de Laurentiis and many more. Indulge the senses by attending one of the many great seminars available to guests throughout the weekend, including wine classes, discussions and workshops, wine tastings and lessons on pairing chocolate and wine together. There is a wide variety of wine events, guaranteed to occupy the mind and taste all The Different Types of Wineat the wine tasting weekend.

Amidst the flowing wine, this wine tasting weekend also is renowned as a food festival and invites guests to sit back and enjoy or become part of the fun. Join Ted Allen, Marc Murphy and Alex Guarnaschelli for the Barilla Interactive Dinner Chopped in which teams scramble to design a meal with an unusual assortment of ingredients and limited time, encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a slight taste of what hardworking chefs deal on a daily basis. For a more luxurious evening of hors d'oeuvres and delicacies in a hot setting, Wine + Dine + Design provides its guests with an elegant evening of outdoor dining, mouth watering desserts and, of course, a selection of wines to choose from.

The kids can have fun while mom and dad train their palates by attending one of the Fun and Fit events hosted by Kellog's. Children and adults can join celebrity chefs such as Rachel Ray and Guy Fiere to learn about healthy eating and even explore their own culinary ventures in the interactive kitchen. There is also a food garden and plenty of time to break loose over a game of beach volleyball in between learning how to prepare nutritious meals.

Tickets to attend this year's Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival are on sale now as well as to book the events and seminars offered. Some have already sold out, but a good number of interesting, educational and fun seminars remain.

Enthusiasts know there is more to wine than festivals, nor can it rarely become a common practice to attend numerous festivals throughout the country and beyond while maintaining a responsible bank account total. Consider joining a local food and wine club and keep up with all the latest updates and news, including ratings, tips and information on debuting wines. Receive a selection of wines from all over and host your own festival right in the privacy of your own home. Wine clubs are also an excellent means to learn about popular ,wine tours and help you plan your next travels.

The glamour of the Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival may draw at your heart as you desire to sample the best and mingle with the best people of the culinary world, attending the event may be a little pricy. However, there is no reason why anyone from whatever financial background cannot partake in the extravagance of a food and wine festival. These types of events are held all over the world and, although they may not be as grand as South Beach, they are guaranteed to surprise their visitors with delicious local wines and appetizing creations from local bistros and other eateries. The small types of events are a great way to meet singles or for couples to mix with other couples that share the same passion for wine and food. Wineries also host cooking classes as well as themed events, such as a focus on pairing cheeses and chocolates with the appropriate types of wines, enabling you to one day host your own food and wine festival where you become the knowledgeable chef and connoisseur of the party.

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