I’ve been to the South Beach Wine and Food Fest three years in a row now so I feel like I am getting to somewhat veteran status. If you are a foodie, or even just like trying new foods and drinking wine, you will enjoy the festival.
The festival has two distinctive parts. Thursday and Friday there are night-time events leading up to the event (some of the most famous being the Burger Bash and The BubbleQ), and Saturday and Sunday there is the Grand Tasting Village. The Grand Tasting Village is where the “Festival” part where you can attend classes by famous Food Network personalities and locally famous chefs, followed by tent after tent filled with wine and food sampling.
This year got off with a bang as I attended Adam Perry Lang’s Shine and Swine event. I was in my own Grill Girl hog heaven as I met up with Chris Lilly, a major player in the BBQ scene, who then introduced me to Adam. For anyone into BBQ and grilling, these are two key players you should know as you can learn a lot from them. You may recall I interviewed Chris last year at Memphis in May and frequently make his white BBQ Sauce. Adam Perry Lang’s most recent book, BBQ 25, is a perfectly sized reference book for grillers and you can find a review of this book on my blog.
The Italian Tent. When you go into the main village, the Italian tent is on the right and here you can sample the finest Italian Wines and food. My favorite food from this tent was the Grana Padano, a cow’s milk cheese that has been aged over 16 months. This cheese has a nutty flavor and would perfectly complement any salad or pasta dish you make. Compare this to the best aged hard cheese such as a parmesan or a reggiano.
Wines that Rock do Rock. And Sugar Cane Raw Bar Rocks too.
My favorite wine from this tent was the Valdo Prosecco, a light and airy white wine that would perfectly complement any seafood or light pasta dish.
Food and Wine Worth Mentioning from the Tasting Village:
Wines that Rock – these guys produce wines with labels from your favorite bands such as The Police, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. I’m a sucker for cool labels so this booth caught my attention. These would be fun to bring to a dinner party.
Sugar Cane Raw Bar- great sashimi tuna sampling. New local Miami restaurant that has created quite the buzz.
Tasty Kitchen and Bar- an interesting menage of pepper roasted beets, bosc pear, baby cilantro, parmesan, aged balsamic and shrimp that literally burst of flavor in your mouth!
Centerplate Catering- great presentation with the pincushion protea and the curry cones with cranberry chicken salad. Easy to eat too!
Georges Stone Crabs- Stone Crabs are a South Florida thing. If you haven’t had them, it is worth the wait to stand in line and give them a try. These guys ship all over the country so you can get a little taste of Florida anywhere in the states!
Carbonell- the Flamenco dancers were entertaining in their own right, but their Paella was downright fabulous.
Good things to Know:
If you want to attend any of the cooking sessions of your favorite chefs, make sure to get their EARLY. If you don’t get their early enough, there won’t be any seats left in the shade and you will have to sit under the sweltering sun which is guaranteed to make you not last long.
What’s great about The SOBE Wine and Food Fest is that when you leave the event and walk out of the last tent, slightly buzzed, you can go and take a nap on the beach. And the view of toned men in speedo’s isn’t bad either!