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Illy at SOBEWFF - Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village

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The Ultimate Guide to the 21st 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 21st installment on Thursday, February 24, and lasting until Sunday, February 27.

This year’s festival takes place just eight months after the 2021 festival, which introduced a slew of new safety precautions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, guests should be expecting those same safety precautions put in place yet again including contactless ticketing system, temperature checks, COVID-19 sniffing dogs, capacity restrictions, cleaning, sanitization, and more.

The four-day festival, which has become a key event in the culinary world in South Florida and beyond over the past two decades, and over the past two decades, the festival has raised millions for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University and gives 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 three counties, from as far south as Coral Gables all the way up to Hallandale Beach. But staying true to its name, many of the big events still happen on 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. Oh, and 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

First and foremost, just like last year, everyone attending the festival must complete the SymCheck app before arriving, attesting that they’ve either had a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours or are fully vaccinated. You’ll be asked to show a SymCheck QR Code at each event. If you’re going to events on multiple days, be aware that the code is valid for only 24 hours and will need to be redone each day.

SOBEWFF official bag policy

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.

With temperatures expected to be in the low-80s for most of the week, be sure to 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 that 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 — bring a stockpile of wet wipes and antacids to the festival, because you will be eating 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 or Uber. 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 Saturday, February 26 through Sunday, February 27. Each day it features dozens of restaurants handing out food, while an array of different 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 Michael Symon to Geoffrey Zakarian, along with plenty of interactive activities and book signings. Crowds will be smaller than in previous years, but you still might encounter some lines. But don’t worry, they move quickly, and there will be more than enough food and drink to go around.

For those attending the Sunday Grand Tasting, it’ll be closing out with the 3-5 on Ocean Drive featuring the David Grutman Experience! Led by nightlife and hospitality David Grutman, it will turn the courtyard into a mini music festival with special performances by Gianluca Vacchi, the Italian DJ and Instagram star, and rapper French Montana.

Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

What’s New

The festival adds some new blood into the rotation each year. This year there is plenty of celeb power in the mix including the Dwyane Wade led Foodventure at Citizens MiamiCentral Culinary Market, to the Soulful Yoga Experience hosted by Kate Hudson, and the Calirosa Tequila Sunset Happy Hour hosted by Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo.

The Miami Design District will host a slew of new events including the Steak and Whiskey event hosted by Michael Symon and A Taste of Italy hosted by Anne Burrell, while wine lovers can get in on the action at the Rock your Rose presented by Chateau d’Esclans.

Marquee Events

Each evening showcases at least one large-scale tasting event. Kicking off the weekend on Thursday, February 24 is the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri, who will host the new Coke Zero Sugar presents Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives LIVE highlighting more than 25 restaurants featured on the show. Friday, February 25, will be the night the Red Stripe Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray and Jose Andres returns to the sand, featuring some of the country’s best burger joints over two sessions. Tacos & Tequila presented by Tequila Cazadores hosted by Aaron Sanchez will celebrate various iterations of Mexico’s most popular dish on Saturday, February 26, while closing out the event is the Bacardi Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern on Sunday, February 27.

Seth Browarnik/WorldRedEye.com

Events Under $100

You don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the festivities. Plenty of booze-centric events offer tickets for under $100, including the tiki cocktail extravaganza known as Art of the Tiki, the kid-friendly Fun and Fit as a Family, and the Miami influenced 305-Inspired Tapas & Craft Cocktail Party hosted by the city’s own Michelle Bernstein and Gio Gutierrez. There’s even an option to work out during the weekend at the annual Bootcamp and Bites class hosted Robert Irvine.

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