With most of the nation in a deep freeze, it’s no wonder we’re spending these cold indoor days dreaming of outdoor festivals. From wine dinners with a side of golf in the Lowcountry to celebrity grill-masters throwing down in Texas, these five food events are enough to make us throw off the blankets and pack a bag. Ready or not, here our forks come.
Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival
In its 30th year, the seven-day Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival is shaping up to be the Lowcountry’s finest feast once again. This year’s excitement, spanning from March 9 to 15, features multiple celebrity chef dinners, author receptions, movie screenings, the signature Grand Tasting on the 18th lawn of Harbour Town Golf Links, and access to some of the premier golf courses in the south. If you’re looking for a place to stay, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Inn at Harbour Town is offering a complete two-night package that includes daily breakfast for two, tickets to the festival’s public tasting, complimentary valet parking, discounted green fees and more.
Taste & Savor at The Broadmoor
Though Colorado Springs may still have some snow on the ground come March, The Broadmoor’s Taste & Savor festival is sure to heat things up. From March 5 through 8, the Five-Star mountain retreat hosts its inaugural food festival, which will feature bites from acclaimed chefs (Curtis Duffy, Chicago’s Five-Star Grace), sips from renowned cocktail experts (Tony Abou-Ganim) and a little of both from Colorado’s own epicurean elite (Tyler Wiard, culinary director of Elway’s restaurants). This event, held against the beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and paired with the Broadmoor’s legendary hospitality, will be one to remember.
Charleston Wine & Food
Every year during the first weekend of March, Marion Square in downtown Charleston transforms into a culinary village full of the nation’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists ready to tempt your taste buds. The impressive menu of guest toques at this year’s Charleston Wine & Food (March 4 through 8) includes Andrew Zimmerman (Chicago’s Sepia), Anne Quatrano (Atlanta’s Four-Star Bacchanalia), Justin Devillier (New Orleans’ famed La Petite Grocery) and Matt Bolus (Nashville’s 404 Kitchen), a 2014 James Beard nominee for Best New Restaurant. After you’ve had your serving of foodie fun, there won’t be any dismay about a long drive back to your hotel room either, not with Four-Star Belmond Charleston Place being just a half mile from the excitement and providing an event package (luxe room, breakfast, sparkling wine, valet parking) for guests.
Tennessee Whiskey Festival
In 2013, Chattanooga’s first Tennessee Whiskey Festival welcomed nearly 3,000 attendees, all ready to taste some of the region’s best sips. With general admission tickets and VIP all-access passes available, this year’s event (April 18) at the First Tennessee Pavilion is shaping up to be just as accommodating. The festival will feature many of the state’s renowned distillers like Whisper Creek and Chattanooga Whiskey, and will wash it all down with plenty of bluegrass music and complimentary savory bites. Proceeds will benefit the Tennessee Distillers Guild and H*Art Gallery, an organization that supplies art materials and classes to non-profits across the city. Stay at historic The Chattanoogan, a picture-perfect destination for mountain-view suites and fine dining situated a mere three-quarter-mile walk from the festivities.
Austin Food & Wine Festival
April 24 through 26, Austin will turn into a culinary paradise as Food & Wine magazine and C3 Presents (of Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza fame) welcome the fourth annual Austin Food & Wine Festival. The three-day extravaganza is jam-packed with more sights, samples and star chefs than we could mention here, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least whet your whistle with names like Graham Elliot, Hugh Acheson and Tyson Cole. Auditorium Shores and Republic Square Park will come alive with five staged tents, a grilling area, fire pit and the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Evening festivities include Thursday night’s Feast Under the Stars, Friday’s Taste of Texas and Saturday’s Rock Your Taco, a chef showdown that includes libations and a live show from Lee Fields & The Expressions. Book your stay at Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Austin, and you’ll have the perfect place to sleep off any extra calories you didn’t burn walking from the festival.