The past weekend South Florida was pulsing with multiple outdoor food and wine festivals, each having events that spanned several days. Chief among them was the Boca Raton Wine + Food Festival and the Flavors of Fort Lauderdale event. And, if that wasn’t enough, the same weekend there was a Delray Wine +Seafood Festival, Lake Park Seafood Festival and some Peruvian Culinary Festival in Miami.
What’s a gal to do? One can only eat and sip so much.
At first (in my mind) I questioned the event planners. Didn’t they check the social calendar to be sure there was nothing else planned so they could maximize visitors? I don’t know the answer, but the two events I went to were very well-attended so they didn’t seem to suffer any.
Before I tell/show you the events, what do you think of my new camera bag? Different, n’cest pas?
Photography was a real challenge – one event was at night and the other was in the noonday sun. Add to that juggling the bag, a wine glass and a dish of food while trying to take a photo. Not enough hands! But, here’s a sampling of the atmosphere and a brief description of both the Boca Raton Wine + Food Festival and the Flavors of Fort Lauderdale Grand Tastings.
As a foodie/food blogger, I’m very particular about what goes on my plate and in my mouth. Pairing ingredients and adherence to cuisines is always paramount … that is, except when I go to one of these events. Then, it’s some Asian delight like tuna tartar sandwiched between a pop of meatball and a mango-glazed shrimp. Oh wait, there’s a fried plantain with roast pork on it! You get the idea – it’s kind of mindless eating, but lots of fun.
[Boca Raton Wine + Food Festival]
It was a hard decision to choose which of the events to go to, but I opted for the Grand Tasting of both the festival in Boca and the one in Fort Lauderdale with the idea to sort of compare them. Well, that was impossible! Besides the food and wine, for me, it’s a lot about the event and the atmosphere created and these 2 could not have had a more different vibe.
The Boca Raton Wine + Food Festival was a 5-event affair over 3 days that was set in the parking lot of a large industrial corporate center. It was totally transformed for a Dinner under the Stars, a Vineyard Party, Perfect Pairing, a Jazz, Bubbles and Brunch and a Grand Tasting which I attended on Saturday night. They definitely get thumbs up for a job well done!
The space was comfortable and large — and the fact it was a gorgeous breezy evening definitely put a smile on everyone’s face. The food selection was generous and varied (they even had stone crab claws!). More than 50 wine, beer and spirit stations poured quality beverages.
Flavors of Fort Lauderdale
This event had a Launch Party at a resort hotel, Dine-Arounds with participating restaurants, a Flavors After Dark event featuring 5 female chefs and the Grand Tasting which I attended on Sunday. And, they didn’t have to transform a parking lot. They just plopped it in a marina — and gave us access to a yacht!
I’m not sure how many restaurants and beverage suppliers participated — there was certainly plenty of good food and drinks to choose from, but I have a sense it was less than Boca’s event. Here, too, event planners get a thumbs up for a job well done!
Both events had cooking demonstrations and live entertainment with various local performers.
If you’re reading this from somewhere other than Florida, either or both of these events are a great excuse - as if one was needed - to visit South Florida in 2013.