The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is best described as the Super Bowl crossed with an ancient Roman bacchanal. For four days, almost every luminary in the culinary world descends upon Miami Beach to conduct cooking demos, host dinners, and drink heavily. The heart of the festival lies in the Grand Tasting Village (Ocean Drive at 13th Street, Miami Beach), a group of massive tents set up on the sand opposite Ocean Drive on SoBe. There, guests are treated to endless pours of wine and booze, bits of food, and music. But it’s the celebrity chefs who garner the most attention. Fans flock to hear bad boy Anthony Bourdain snark his way through an hour of Q&A, watch butter queen Paula Deen make a ham, and share the world’s largest blender drink with Guy Fieri. Other perimeter parties include Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash; The Q, an evening of bubbles and barbecue hosted by Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri; and Trucks on the Beach, a food truck event hosted by Bizarre Foods’ Andrew Zimmern. Expect to pay dearly for adult events, which range from $85 to the $500 for the Tribute Dinner, saluting chef Charlie Trotter and winemaker Piero Antinori and MCed by Bourdain, at the Loews South Beach Hotel (1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). If you have a kid (or are on a tight budget), check out the Fun and Fit as a Family at Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami) Saturday and Sunday. For $20, kids (and parents) can check out cooking demos by some of Food Network’s biggest stars, including Fieri and Robert Irvine.
Feb. 23-26, 2012