Boca Raton may be known as the "City of all Seasons," but autumn's cooler temperatures lure foodies outdoors for the annual Boca Raton Wine & Food Festival. This year's festival takes place from November 8-10 and is anchored by four distinct gastronomic gatherings. The VIP Dinner Under The Stars jump starts the weekend's epicurean events and will present al fresco meals filed under three culinary genres - American, Italian, and Mediterranean. Once these seated suppers wrap, the after-hours revelry begins, boasting live entertainment and an exclusive IKEA Lounge.
Those with more small-scale preferences can opt for the Friday night Vineyard Party, which will highlight wines from Oregon, Sonoma, and Napa Valley. Come Saturday, a grand tasting soiree takes participants on a flavorful exploration, boasting over 70 participating chefs crafting dishes from six world regions. Festivities close on Sunday with a sophisticated champagne and jazz brunch.
Individual event tickets and tiered all-access passes to the Boca Raton Wine & Food Festival are currently available online.
Photo courtesy of Bacchus on the Beach
Longboat Key outlines the Sarasota Bay and harbors some of the area's accoladed seafood and pristine white sands. The Resort at Longboat Key Club, situated on the key's southern end, is looking to expand Sarasota's culinary reputation when it hosts Bacchus on the Beach on November 8 & 9.
The two-day event, which is named named after the Roman god of winemaking, Bacchus, beckons oenophiles to sip wines from as far as France, Australia, and Chile while also savoring globally inspired cuisine. The festival's spirits repertoire is furthered by whiskey, craft brew, and tequila offerings.
Bacchus on the Beach kicks off Friday night with four thematic, multi-curse pairing dinners. Dubbed "Vintner Dinners," these culinary sit-downs are curated by renown chefs and explore Italian specialities, California's Pinot Noirs, and classic American fare. Whiskey aficionados or those seeking a truly unique experience, can visit the Whiskey Smoker; these guests will mingle with the industry's premier whiskey producers while also enjoying hand-rolled cigars.
The jubilee continues on Saturday with a hearty pig roast and cooking and blending demonstrations. Bacchus on the Beach closes with a highly anticipated, "reason for the season" stone crab celebration.
Interested parties may purchase individual event tickets or an all encompassing event pass for $350; the umbrella pass includes one Vintner Dinner, access to Saturday's cookout and demonstrations, and admission to the stone crab finale.
The Key West Food & Wine Festival features a series of fun and funky events. — Photo courtesy of Nick Doll/Key West Food & Wine FestivalWhile the rest of the country is shivering in their boots, revelers at the Key West Food & Wine Festival will be slipping into their flip flops. Slated for January 22-26, this long sun-soaked weekend in the Southernmost City showcases world-class wines and the top dishes by local chefs in a series of fun and funky events.
The festival kicks off with a toes-in-the-sand beach party beside the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday night. Hypnotized by the twinkling lights swaying on the palm trees, visitors can savor the island vibe and let their worries drift away with the tide. Friday night brings the Grand Tasting on the pier in the Historic Seaport, which is a more intimate affair. This event is a fave among the true oenophiles--it’s the best time to chat with the visiting vintners. As the setting sun casts a rosy glow across the water, guests nosh on local delicacies straight from the sea and sample wines like the special-edition Sea Turtle series by the Weibel Family Vineyards of Lodi, California.
Duval Uncorked, the festival's signature event, is a mile-long food and wine tasting along the main drag in Old Town--an upscale twist on the popular pub-hopping Duval Crawl. Hundreds of foodies stroll past the historic architecture and through chic boutiques, eclectic art galleries and hidden inns. Each spot on the route holds surprising treats from conch chowder to cabernet sorbet to shots with the local drag queens.
The days during the festival are filled with seminars like Beer for Breakfast and Local Rum Making--the perfect blend of education and hair of the dog. Coconut bowling amid the free-roaming chickens at Blue Heaven is always a hit; the competition for the prized golden coconut has grown fierce over the past four years. The Sunday afternoon Wine Market offers a chance to purchase choice bottles from the weekend and an opportunity to take a taste of Key West home. Tickets are on sale now.