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Illy at SOBEWFF - Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village

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The Ultimate Guide to the 23rd Annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Where to eat, drink, and be merry all weekend long.

Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Illy

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented by Capital One is back for its 23rd installment on Thursday, February 22, lasting until Sunday, February 25.

The four-day festival has become a key event in the culinary world in South Florida and beyond over the past two decades, raising millions for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University and giving its students real-life culinary and event experience throughout the weekend.

Here’s everything you need to know about what to bring, what to wear, and all the events available for every appetite and budget.

Logistics

Events span more than two counties, from as far south as Coconut Grove up to Hallandale Beach. But staying true to its name, many big events still happen in South Beach and its general vicinity.

While being on time is something most people have never heard of in South Florida, note that the events begin and end precisely when they say they will. If an event is over at 10 p.m., don't think that at 10:01 p.m., you’ll be able to grab that one last drink. Speaking of drinks, taking them out the door after an event is severely frowned upon and could even get someone in trouble.

Scott Conant and Marcus Samuelsson
Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

Getting There, the Elements, and What to Bring

Ladies, do everyone a favor and leave the high heels at home for any event on the beach. (Most marquee events are held there.) Inevitably, your shoes will be ruined because you’ll spend the whole night sinking into the sand — not a good look. Sandals are your best option.

SOBEWFF official bag policy

With temperatures expected to be in the mid-70s to upper-80s for most of the week, dress accordingly because it can get hot inside those tents. And don’t forget: The events are rain or shine. In other words, no event will be canceled due to weather, and no refunds will be given.

Now, this is important: Do not leave home without an ID to show you are of age because someone will ask you for it at some point. And don’t forget to bring your ticket! No ticket, no entry. Period. And finally — and maybe most important — get a stockpile of wet wipes and antacids to the festival because you will eat a lot. Thank us later.

And since there will be copious amounts of booze at just every event, your best bet is to either find a designated driver or use a rideshare app like Lyft, Uber, or Alto. Available parking at events is limited at best.

Grand Tasting Village 101

Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

This is the event that started it all. The two-day, wine-filled Grand Tasting Village runs on Saturday, February 24, and Sunday, February 25. Each day, it features dozens of restaurants handing out food while various wine and spirits suppliers pour unlimited samplings. If that isn’t enough to make someone’s head spin, there are also a variety of culinary demos featuring everyone from Tyler Florence to Molly Baz, along with plenty of interactive activities and book signings. Definitely, be prepared for crowds and lines — but don’t worry, they move quickly, and there will be enough food and drink to go around.

For those attending the Sunday Grand Tasting, it’ll be closing out with The David Grutman Experience led by nightlife and hospitality David Grutman, which will turn the courtyard into a mini music festival with special performances by DJ Khaled and cocktails by Belvedere Vodka and Moët & Chandon.

Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

What’s New

The festival adds some new blood into the rotation each year. Starting on Friday, February 23, attendees can enjoy the FoodieCon® Kick-Off Happy Hour hosted by Neil Patrick Harris or cocktail-focused the Art of Punch Room, presented by Matador Bar and the Edition hotel. On Saturday, February 24, Cuban-influenced Noche Cubana debuts will be hosted by Michelle Bernstein alongside competition-centered Bobby’s Triple Threat, featuring Bobby Flay, Tiffany Derry, Brooke Williamson, and Michael Voltaggio. Sunday, February 25, boasts a lineup of brunches: the Bubbles Brunch with the Kitchen’s Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, and Geoffrey Zakarian, and the Champagne Dim Sum Brunch by Molly Yeh. The festival concludes with the Goya Foods’ Heritage Fire: Grand Finale and a unique Sushi Omakase Collective dinner hosted by Mila Omakase, Mr. Omakase, Nossa Omakase, Sushi by Scratch Restaurants, and Miss Crispy Rice.

Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

Marquee Events

At this year’s SOBEWFF, plenty of fan favorites make a return with the festival’s open-air tasting tents, American Airlines North Venue, and Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village, taking over South Beach’s sands for a four-day culinary experience. Highlights include Rachael Ray hosting the 17th annual Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons® on Thursday, February 22, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives LIVE on Friday, February 23, and a weekend filled with cooking demonstrations and a vast array of bites and drinks at the Grand Tasting Village on February 24 and 25. Aarón Sánchez will spice up Saturday with Tacos & Tequila presented by Tequila Cazadores, and the festival wraps up on Sunday, February 26, with Bacardi presents the Block Party, hosted by Andrew Zimmern and Melba Wilson, featuring a special performance by Rev Run, all supported by over 1,500 student volunteers from Florida International University.

Other returning marquee Miami Beach events include the Festival’s Tribute Dinner, on Saturday, February 24, honoring famed chef Massimo Bottura and Campari Group chairman Luca Garavoglia at Loews Miami Beach. This year’s event, sponsored by Hexclad, features culinary talents such as Alain Ducasse, Mauro Colagreco, Albert Adrià Acosta, Jordi Roca i Fontané, Antonio Bachour, and Bernardo Paladini, with Nadia Munno, the ‘Pasta Queen’ as Master of Ceremonies. The Festival’s Best of the Best event, presented by Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Fontainebleau Las Vegas, also returns, featuring over 60 chefs and more than 65 premier wineries from around the globe.

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