Best Festival (2014)

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Some call it "Spring Break for Chefs"; others term it a "Bacchanal on the Beach." Whatever its title, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, soon to celebrate its 14th year, is a multiday extravaganza for those of us who love to eat, drink, and mingle with the likes of Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray. The festival, which boasts more than 70 events, parties, seminars, and dinners, takes over Miami Beach and, like a Pinot-scented kudzu, is slowly creeping over midtown Miami as well. Sure, ticket prices can be steep, but who would put a price on the opportunity to share a burger with Food Network stars like Geoffrey Zakarian and Martha Stewart or be in the audience when Paula Deen rides Robert Irvine like a pony? Even the festival creator, Lee Brian Schrager, has become a celebrity, hosting his first seminar this past year. Can't afford a $300 ticket? You'll still have your shot to eat, drink, and be merry with your favorite famous foodies — just hang out at a favorite watering hole like Club Deuce or the Broken Shaker and wait for Anthony Bourdain or Scott Conant to stroll in for a nightcap. What puts the cherry on this cake? The entire weekend — next year planned for February 19 to 22 — benefits Florida International University's Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center.


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