If you make your travel plans around food and drink (and don’t we all?), set your compass for the west this fall. We’re looking forward to these three appetizing autumn food and wine festivals on North America’s western shores.
Serving through October 7, the 2016 edition of this Vancouver festival brings in top chefs from across Canada for a series of locally focused dinners and special events. Among the highlights: Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star West Restaurant pairs its chef, Quang Dang, with guest chef Nick Liu of Toronto’s DaiLo, who is known for his imaginative Asian cuisine (October 5).
In Gastown that night, chef Alessandro Vianello of Wildebeest welcomes chef Wayne Morris of Boralia, whose Toronto kitchen turns out contemporary takes on classic Canadian and aboriginal dishes (think pigeon pie and mussels smoked in pine needles).
Also on the festival agenda is a Pacific Northwest food trends panel and tasting class (October 5) led by Vancouver chef Sarah Stewart of Chinatown’s Juniper Kitchen and Bar; Vancouver pastry entrepreneur Jackie Kai Ellis of the delectable Beaucoup Bakery; Denise Breyley, chief forager at Whole Foods Market; and Robertson Allen, of Seattle’s The Hartman Group, a food-oriented consumer research and consulting company.
And don’t miss October 6’s main event — EAT! Harvest, a tapas-style feast featuring Food Network host Michael Smith along with 17 of Canada’s celebrated toques.
Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
In its sixth year, the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival (October 14 to 30) brings cocktail tastings, a ramen battle and a series of gala dinners to several of the islands.
Maui hosts the first festival weekend (October 14 to 16), starting with a celebrity golf classic (October 14) and a Grown on Maui Farmers’ Market (October 15). Thirteen chefs join forces for “Ka’anapali: A Chef’s Paradise,” an evening of island food and drink overlooking the beach at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. Participating personalities include Hawaii food pioneer Bev Gannon, Elizabeth Falkner (formerly of San Francisco’s Citizen Cake and Orson), Ming Tsai of Boston’s Blue Ginger and Isaac Bancaco of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort’s Ka’ana Kitchen (October 15).
To wrap up the weekend, chef Gregory Grohowski of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa plays host to five top toques at the “Soaring Palates” dinner (October 16).
The island of Hawaii fires up on October 22, with “Hot Lava, Hotter Cuisine,” where seven chefs, including Bruce Bromberg (of New York’s Blue Ribbon Restaurants), Nancy Silverton (of L.A.’s Mozza Restaurant Group) and Tae-Hwan Ryu (of Ryunique in Seoul), will create a six-course feast.
The festival kicks into higher gear on the island of Oahu (October 26 to 30), beginning with an urban luau (October 26) and continuing with “The Hungry Monkey” (October 27), a food-filled reception at Four-Star The Modern Honolulu. Seven chefs face off in the already sold-out “Clash of the Ramen” (October 28), while wine tastings, kids’ cooking classes, brunch events and a gala dinner at Four-Star Halekulani round out the mouth-watering weekend.
San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
The eating and drinking action moves to California with the 13th annual San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival from November 14 through 20. The epicurean extravaganza has grown to become one of the largest food and wine fests in the United States. Events take place at multiple locations around the city.
Guest chefs from across the country, including Marcus Samuelsson of New York’s Red Rooster Harlem, Suzette Gresham of San Francisco’s Acquerello, seafood specialist Rick Moonen, Miami’s Michelle Bernstein, and Rick Bayless, who brought modern Mexican fare to Chicago with his Frontera restaurants, join a long list of San Diego’s top culinary minds for a variety of special meals. Pencil in breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Lexus Grand Tasting event on November 19. Wine tastings, whiskey seminars, beer workshops and local excursions add up to a delectable week.
When it’s finally time to put the fork down and relax for the evening, make your way to The US Grant, A Luxury Collection Hotel, a Four-Star property sitting just a three-minute drive from the grand tasting site that curbs any savvy traveler’s appetite for an ultra-chic address with some history. Visit its handsome Grant Grill for its flavorful signature mock turtle soup with a touch of sherry, followed by the 38-day dry-aged ribeye.