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Tis the Season: In the Trenches with the South Florida ‘Food + Wine Festival’ Scene

November 14, 2012 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, Florida, Travel, Wine | 9 Comments

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.

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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.

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[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.

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NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

9 Comments

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  1. What a great event! I absolutely will contact you in 2013 to get the details :) What a great event and 5 days of it! How do you ever survive such an event without putting on 10 lbs?!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Simply Apple Tea CakeMy Profile

  2. a weekend of food and wine….love the car shot!
    South Florida Food and Wine recently posted..Restaurants serving Thanksgiving Dinner in South Florida 2012My Profile

  3. What a fantastic event. It makes me miss South Florida. I am particularly intrigued by the white wine platter, which is making me wonder what was on the one for red wine. Great idea.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Pumpkin Pie–with a Modern TwistMy Profile

  4. Lucky you to be so spoiled for choice. I know what you mean about juggling camera, fork and glass. In the end it’s best to get down to the eating!
    Sally – My Custard Pie recently posted..Game for gameMy Profile

    • Joan says:

      ha ha … agreed, Sally! That’s why there’s more pictures of environment than food. When I got to each food station, I got down to the business of eating!

  5. The events look great, and I will visit them next year for sure after seeing your photo’s. By-the-way, the photography was really good, I think your going to get hooked.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..The Palm Beach ZooMy Profile

    • Joan says:

      Thanks, Patricia. I was more serious about living the event (eating/drinking) than capturing it in photos. Otherwise, I would have put everything down and checked settings b/c I discovered in post-edit that I had ISO at 6400 for night event which was too high.

  6. Oops I missed this one too. Love the bag and the Veteran’s wine. The Brooklyn ice cart was great too.

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