Being a food blogger in South Florida definitely has its perks. There are so many foodie events going on all the time. If you really wanted to, you could totally find something new and different to do each and every night. There are constantly new restaurant openings, wine tastings, festivals, and various specials and promotions going on in the area. I don’t think my body could handle that much excitement (or that much food and drink, althoughsometimes I still try), so I tend to be picky when it comes to the events in which I participate. My criteria are simple: good, reputable chefs and restaurants, a variety of wine or other beverages, and a fun atmosphere with lots of people to meet and mingle with.
With those three ideas in mind, I guess it’s inevitable that I would be volunteering (and indulging) at this weekend’s 4th Annual Boca Raton Food and Wine Festival held at the Boca Corporate Center & Campus. This is the largest outdoor culinary event in Boca. The event kicks off tonight with a VIP Dinner Under the Stars, a 4-course dinner made to order with specially paired wines. Guests choose which region they’d like to dine in for the evening: American, Italian or Mediterranean. There are six different South Florida chefs preparing meals from these areas. Representing America is Chef Anthony Fiorini from one of the newest spots to open in Boca, 13 American Table, and Chef Dean Warren from Metro Organic Bistro. Guests traveling to Italy for the evening will try dishes from Zuccarelli’s Chef Douglas A. Chmielewicz and Claudio Sandri of Mancini Modern Italian. The chefs preparing a Mediterranean feast are Alain Lemaire of Bel Amour Catering & Banquet Hall and Leo Alfred Khoury of Eclectic Eats Restaurant Lounge & Garden. The VIP Dinner Under the Stars is from 7pm-10pm and is $150 per person. The Vineyard Party is from 7:30pm-10pm and is $85 per person, but VIP diners are able to enter the Vineyard Party after the dinner for free, where they can strollthrough various parts of the festival such as The Vineyard, IKEA Kitchen Alley, Sensory Garden, Organic Village, Spirits and Craft Beer Villages, Farmers Market, BBQ Village, and the Retail Business Bazaar for shopping. Guests will also have access to the main entertainment stage and IKEA lounge for dancing.
Tomorrow night is the biggest attraction of the event – the Grand Tasting!This part of the weekend excites me the most, and I can’t wait to sip and savor my way through the evening. There are 19 regions scattered throughout this 200,000-square-foot area. Yes, it is a HUGE event. There will be 70 chefs showcasing their best dishes, and premier vintners will be offering tastings of their finest wines. But it’s not all food and wine, there will also be cooking demonstrations and live entertainment. Festival sommeliers will be teaching guests all about the art of winemaking, and you can even buy your favorite wines from the night at the Wine Store. The tasting is from 6pm-10pm and is $145 per person.
Are you tired yet? Don’t wimp out on me yet; there’s still one more event!
Sunday morning closes out the weekend with Jazz, Bubbles and Brunch: A Social Affair. Wake up in style with a European-style breakfast featuring a variety of different tasting stations. And of course, no brunch is complete without a sparkling wine, mimosas and Bloody Marys. Brunch is from 12pm-3pm and is $85 per person.
The Boca Raton Food & Wine Festival is put on by BocaRaton.com and The Bites! Network. Other local events include Boca Burger Battle, which was held over the summer on July 12th, the Galt Mile Wine & Food Festival coming up on March 1st of next year, and the Deerfield Beach Food & Wine Festival which will be the weekend of April 25th.