February is upon us, and it’s only a few weeks until the year’s most important food event, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, begins. Tickets to the nearly countless events have been on sale since before 2013 even started, and while some of the more coveted events are sold out, there are still tickets available to some very exciting dinners, tastings, and parties that are sure to be the highlight of your year. A list of all available events for this year’s Wine & Food Festival can be seen at www.sobefest.com, but here are some highlights that any foodie should definitely not miss:
Moët Hennessy’s The Q
Thursday, February 21st, 7:00 PM
Southern cooking icon, Paula Deen, along with her two sons, will be hosting what has become one of the festival’s yearly kickoff traditions. Forty of the nation’s top barbecue chefs will be offering some of their creations which promise to range from the traditional to the more inventive. Savor classics like barbecue beef short ribs and iron skillet mac n’ cheese from Chef Chris Lilly or more adventurous creations like Pig Face Poutine from Chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart that features confit fries, tobasco gravy swine sweets, and chicharron peanut butter cups, all while enjoying the ocean breezes right behind the Delano hotel under the event’s signature tent. Attendees will also get their fill of delicious cocktails made from Moët Hennessy’s portfolio spirits that include Belvedere vodka, Hennessy VS Cognac, Grand Marnier, and 10 Cane rum.
The Q After Dark
Thursday, February 21st, 10:00 PM
A ticket to The Q automatically gets you into the after party held at Mansion nightclub featuring their acrobatic act, Cirque du Mansion. However, festival-goers can purchase a separate ticket to the after party on its own and enjoy the show along with Moët Hennessy’s cocktails and champagne while sampling some of Chef Curtis Stone’s Aussie-inspired barbecue creations.
Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best
Friday, February 22nd, 7:30 PM
Hosted at the ultra luxurious Fontainebleau resort and sponsored by Bank of America, this promises to be one of the most exciting tastings of the whole festival with a lineup of wines from over 80 proprietors and winemakers who will be personally present to talk about their wines. In addition to the wines, over 40 chefs will be setting up individual stations, offering gourmet nibble to pair with with each of the wines on offer at this event. There are just such a dizzying array phenomenal chefs, dishes, and winemakers that will be present at this event to mention here, but you can get a clear picture of what to expect at http://www.sobefest.com/bob.
Red Hot Night
Saturday, February 23rd, 10:00 PM
This is a decidedly Latin dinner party meant to evoke the feel of Havana in the 1950s. Ingrid Hoffmann, host of the TV show Simply Delicioso, is hosting the event that features 10 local chefs representing different styles of Latin American cuisine from Cuban to Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian fusion. Of course, no Latin celebration would be complete without music and dancing, which is where The Celia Cruz Allstars and The Soulfrito Collective come in. Located in the Ritz Carlton on South Beach, this promises to be una pachanga inolvidable!
Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village
Sunday, February 24th, 11:00 AM
This is perhaps the highlight of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and is the best way to meet some of your favorite culinary celebrities like Andrew Zimmern, Paula Deen, Michael Symon, José Andrés, Rocco DiSpirito, and many others. Books & Books will be present selling each personality’s latest cookbooks, giving you no excuse to get that coveted autograph. There will also be 14 exhibitors ranging from Caribbean tourist destinations to favorite food purveyors, as well as over 30 restaurants providing samples of some of South Florida’s best cuisine. This is surely one of the best ways for cooks and food-lovers to eat, drink, and be starstruck!
Trucks on Midtown’s Tracks
Sunday, February 24th, 3:00 PM
If you ever wanted to have an all-u-can-eat food truck extravaganza, then this is the event for you. Hosted by one of the experts on street food, Andrew Zimmern, and located in the Wynwood Arts District this year, the food truck roundup will include over 20 of Miami’s most popular food trucks. Crowd favorites like GastroPod, CubanCube, and Slow Food Truck will be there, and there is the added bonus of complementary wine and cocktails.
Goya Foods’ Swine & Wine
Sunday, February 24th, 5:30 PM
Roast pork has become an almost essential part of Miami culture, and many natives are familiar with the local invention, La Caja China. Miami’s culinary sweetheart, Michelle Bernstein, will show festival-goers just what can be done with the venerable pig when she teams up with over 12 other Chefs and personalities in a pork-filled bacchanal. Everyone will be cooking their pigs in the “Chinese Box” that has become a ubiquitous part of any Cuban party, and there will be a selection of wines, as well as Paulina Naranjo of Paulina's Pops with her famously addictive Mexican paletas.
Other noteworthy events that are still available include:
- Guy Fieri’s Reggae Jam with Ziggy Marley Live: enjoy Ortanique’s modern Caribbean dishes, live reggae, and a chance to sample some of the reggae star’s flavored coconut oil and seasoned hemp seeds from his new organic line of products
- Celebrity Cruises Presents A Taste of Modern Luxury: sail away for the afternoon on a Celebrity cruise ship, learn the secrets behind molecular cocktails, and sample small plates from James Beard-featured chef, John Suley.
- Tribute Dinner honoring Nobu Matsuhisa and Christophe Navarre: hosted Martha Stewart, this pricey, this six course dinner is definitely for die-hard fans of the trailblazing Japanese chef.
- Baking Out Loud: hosted by Hedy Goldsmith of Michael’s Genuine, along with with Josh Wesson, this event celebrates the release of Goldsmith’s cookbook by the same name, which features recipes for her fun, sometimes unconventional desserts.
- Delta Diamond Dishes Dinner: hosted by Anne Burrell and featuring 5 of the nation’s top female chefs, this event will take place in the new Marlins Park and will a silent auction for trips on Delta Airlines. Net proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy disaster relief in NYC.