South Beach Wine & Food Festival

SoBeWFF's Grand Tasting Village: Freebies, Games, and Rum in a Coconut

If your favorite part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is the Grand Tasting Village, then be prepared when you head there today or tomorrow because the festival's oldest event has some changes up its sleeve. Spoiler alert: there are more places to sit and take a breather.

First, you'll want to be on the lookout for culinary captains who've been tasked with recruiting and representing South Florida's thriving culinary neighborhoods from Brickell, Coral Gables, and South Beach all the way to North Miami and Palm Beach. As far as navigating the monstrous tents, the GTV will be split up by neighborhoods this year, making it easier to eat your way through all its offerings. Of course, drinking vino is still at the top of the agenda, but there's much more to do between sips.

See also: SoBeWFF Culinary Captains Dish Why Their Neighborhoods Are Best

10. Enjoy a Gourmet Ice Pop

We know it's cold out, but Pop Labs all natural, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan ice pops are the perfect way to cleanse your palate between all the savory bites. Choose from exotic combinations like coconut chai and pineapple basil or keep it traditional with dark chocolate, watermelon, or kiwi. And because it's chilly, you'll buy some time while they melt.

9. Rave at the Hard Rock Stage

If you at some point feel like you're an Ultra Music Festival, it's likely you're getting close to the Hard Rock stage. On the outside, dancers are rocking out to EDM. Might be a good time to do a little dance. But then you'll want to head inside where Hard Rock memorabilia fills the bar. Pretty sure you know what to do at a bar.

8. Olives from Spain

There are two types of people in this world -- those who love olives and those who hate them. If you fall in the latter category, then you might want to skip the olives from Spain booth. But if you're a lover of the briny spheres, then head here for some serious interactive education on why Spain's got the best olives. Make sure to bring a big purse because they're giving away cans for you to take home.

7. Spice things Up with Badia

For more freebies, head to the Badia booth and pick up some complete seasoning as well as tips on how to make your food more flavorful and full of sazon. One can never have too much seasonings in their pantry.

6. Snap Pea Crisps

Sure, there might be tons of food at the GTV, but round up some snap pea crisps for the walk to your car (they're giving them away). And if you've only ever tried the basic flavors because you're scared of trying something new, now's a good time to give the wasabi, lentil, and tomato a try.

5. Uber It

By this point, you've likely heard of Uber. But if you haven't, the GTV is the ideal time to sign up because you'll get a $30 credit towards taking you home that day, which works out perfectly considering you shouldn't be driving after all the alcohol you'll be consuming.

4. Goya It Up

Chances are you use Goya products as it is, but you could always use some more, especially when they're gratis. Make sure to snag a goodie bag filled with olive oil and other useful items for your pantry from Goya, but hurry cause they go pretty quick (they ran out during yesterday's trade day).

3. Take a Jenga Break

Th GTV isn't all eating and drinking -- there's also fun and games. Like life size Jenga and cornhole. Both go extremely well with one too many glasses of wine.

2. Eat Plant-Based Protein

Love the taste of meat but hate the act of eating animals? Discover Beyond Meat, the first plant-based protein that looks, feels, and taste like meat. From non-gmo soy and pea protein chicken strips to non-gmo pea protein beef sliders, Beyond Meat packs the taste you love in a product that loves and wants to make the earth a better place. Don't believe us? Try it for yourself with one of their tacos and take some goodies home.

1. Have a Rum Filled Coconut

While the GTV might be all about the wine, booze doesn't fall far behind. Imbibe on everything from sake and hard cider to copious amounts of rum. And because rum simply tastes better when it comes inside of a coconut, make sure to put Botran at the top of your GTV list.

While you're at it, you might want to get social. And of course, the best part about the GTV is spotting celebrities, so keep your eyes peeled for Paula Deen riding anyone. Hey, it happened last year.

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Carla Torres found her inner gourmand voice while writing for Miami New Times in 2012. She has also worked with Travel & Leisure and Ocean Drive and today is involved with a tech startup. She balances passions for wine, sweets, yoga, and kayaking.