From March 31 to April 3, the glitterati of the food world will descend on the central California coast for Pebble Beach Food & Wine. More than 100 chefs and 250 winemakers will be on hand cooking their finest bites and pouring their top sips at the ninth annual event that’s widely regarded as one of the best in the food festival circuit. If you’re preparing to attend this year’s extravaganza, you came to the right place for a proper menu of happenings to ensure a sensational four-day epicurean experience.
What to know
This celebration was started in 2008 by two friends, David Bernahl and Rob Weakley, as a way of replacing the Masters of Food & Wine — the culinary event took place for 21 years at Highlands Inn in Carmel until Hyatt purchased the property. Bernahl and Weakley, natives to the central California coast, had high hopes of creating a foodie blowout that would parallel the annual events in Aspen and South Beach. Thus, they launched the Pebble Beach Food & Wine weekend.
Since then, the festival has only gained momentum. And thanks to a 2016 chef roster that includes names such as Hugh Acheson, Jérôme Bocuse, Daniel Boulud, Cat Cora and Graham Elliot, we only expect its popularity to grow even more.
When things get too hot around the kitchen, golf enthusiasts should make their way to the greens to take advantage of playing the world-renowned courses of the area whenever a tee time frees up.
On March 31, chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and prominent wine collectors will participate in the Celebrity Chef & Winemaker Golf Tournament. The event will start with a champagne toast followed by 18 holes of fun on the fairways. It is a food-centric gathering, of course, so naturally there will be nibbles and wine and beverage stations set up along the course.
For the first time, Pebble Beach Food & Wine will host an interactive seminar in which viewers in Chicago will be able to partake in the festivities remotely. And no, organizers aren’t stepping into some Orson Wellian world with virtual food here; while The Art of Celebrating – Champagne Taittinger & Caviar is actually taking place on April 2 in Pebble Beach, 50 lucky people at the Windy City’s Seven Lions restaurant will also participate in the tasting, sipping the same Brut La Francais as those at the seminar.
“This is an unprecedented experience that allows epicureans and wine lovers to partake in Pebble Beach Food & Wine as if they are right there in the room with us,” Bernahl says. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring this inaugural event to my hometown of Chicago, where it will be hosted by my smart, beautiful and ridiculously talented friend Alpana Singh.”
The livestream is a sneak peek of what food lovers can expect at the festival’s 10th anniversary in 2017. The creators hope to stream many of the events and serve interactive experiences to select cities around the world.
The streaming isn’t the only event featuring Chicago, though. A reunion dinner on April 2 will showcase the talent of three of the city’s culinary greats: Rick Tramonto, Tony Mantuano and Graham Elliot.
The New Napa Experience, also on April 2, is an exclusive first look at The Restaurant at Meadowood chef Christopher Kostow and his business partner, Nathaniel Dorn’s yet-to-open restaurant, Charter Oak. You will enjoy an inside look of what’s to come at the St. Helena eatery that will debut later this year in the space that housed beloved Italian eatery Tra Vigne for 30 years.
Where to stay
Wondering where to recuperate after all of the noshing? Both The Inn at Spanish Bay and The Lodge at Pebble Beach are Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star properties that are associated with the festival. In fact, many of the events take place at Spanish Bay, making it the ideal place to reserve a room. But truthfully, it won’t much matter if you go with an ocean-view room at The Inn at Spanish Bay or the Colton Suite at The Lodge; as long as you pack your appetite in your carry-on, you’ll be fine either way. This over-the-top culinary bacchanal is sure to be a weekend to remember.
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