Forbes Travel Guide unveils its 2016 Star Awards recipients on February 22. Visit www.forbestravelguide.com on Monday for the complete list of winners.
Everyone’s favorite “Foodie Super Bowl” is back. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a culinary connoisseur’s mecca, and this year’s five-day (February 24 to 28) lineup in Miami features a star-studded roster of tastings, intimate dinners, seminars, live cooking demos and late-night parties. Here is the menu of the weekend’s can’t-miss events.
What to know
This year marks the 15th anniversary for the South Beach Wine & Food Fest. To mark the major milestone, SoBe Fest is expanding north to neighboring Fort Lauderdale with the launch of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series. Restaurant: Impossible’s Robert Irvine kicks off the new tastemakers series with a Seaside Eats dinner (February 24), featuring many of the city’s top chefs and most popular dishes.
What to taste and see
Thursday, February 25
Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach
Culinary darling Giada De Laurentiis is hosting this year’s all-out Italian fest — expect pasta, meatballs, antipasta and more — on the sand under the South Beach moonlight.
Friday, February 26
To mark the iconic event’s 10th anniversary, Rachael Ray is back as host alongside a star-studded panel of sandwich lovers, including actors David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris, and award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Best of the Best
The glam Friday night event at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach brings together 60 of the nation’s finest toques, dishing out their most gourmet samplings of everything from aperitifs to desserts, paired alongside more than 100 of Wine Spectator’s top-rated pours.
Fireman Derek’s Midnight Breakfast
Model Chrissy Tiegen teams up with some of Miami’s hottest firemen to dish out their tastiest breakfast creations during this late-night party.
Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28
Grand Tasting Village
You’ll want to pace yourself for the festival’s signature show. Watch your favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel stars’ (including Nigella Lawson, Guy Fieri, Alex Guarnaschelli and Masaharu Morimoto) live cooking demos. Plus, sample some of Miami’s best bites and drinks from top local eateries (including Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Scarpetta Miami Beach, BLT Prime, Basil Park and Apeiro Kitchen & Bar).
Thursday, February 25 through Sunday, February 28
If you like sit-down affairs, intimate dinners take place all weekend long and are hosted by A-list talents such as Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos, Andrew Zimmern, Jonathan Waxman and more.
Night owls should head to some of the late-night parties (like Tacos After Dark hosted by Aaron Sánchez) while the likes of Trisha Yearwood and Martha Stewart have big things planned for brunch lovers.
Where to stay
A number of hotels are offering special rates for festival goers. Four-Star Loews Miami Beach Hotel is the official host property of the event, so you certainly won’t go wrong with a stay there. We also like Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Delano South Beach or The Miami Beach EDITION for the occasion. Nearby, The Royal Palm South Beach, Metropolitan by COMO Miami Beach and The Hall, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, round out the roster of regal weekend retreats.
Free event to check out: Tervis Wine Glass Presents: Spike The Pool, Hosted By Spike Mendelsohn at The Hall on Friday, February 26. A handful of local and national chefs will come together to team up against each other in pool games (think raft relays, dive contests and Marco Polo) at this free, non-official SoBe Festival event. To be a part of all the foodie fun, email RSVP@thedooronline.com.
Best places to catch your favorite chefs: the Loews Miami Beach Hotel pool. Most chefs stay at the Loews during their time in South Beach. Hang by the pool or at the hotel bar to catch a glimpse of them during the big weekend. If you’re up after hours, stop by Mac’s Club Deuce, the unofficial late-night hang-out spot for chefs to wind down (or crank up) after sessions.
For last-minute tickets: Go to the ticket booth box office on 13th Street and Ocean Drive to score any tickets that are still available.
Where to park: For Grand Tasting Village ticket holders only, the festival is providing a free park-and-ride transfer from the event parking lot at N. Miami Ave. and NE 8th St. in downtown Miami.