By the time I made it to Sunday, my brain was swimming with all the fantastic moments that had happened throughout the weekend. The 2011 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival had proven to be a spectacular event, with my first trip to Miami an adventure that did not disappoint. As an easy close to my busy festival schedule, I ventured out for the afternoon’s Grand Tasting. The expansive Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village spread across the beach with stages, book signing booths, and sponsors galore, alongside tents packed to the gills with food, wine, and spirits. With music, demos, and entertainment, it took me nearly the whole sun-filled afternoon to experience all that was offered.
In attendance, a bevy of producers and products, including Absolut, Bertolli, Lindt, Jelly Belly, Illy, San Pellegrino, Tonnino Tuna, and Alexia Foods; local restaurants like 3030 Ocean, STK, Preston’s Brasserie at the Loews Miami Beach, SUSHISAMBA, Atlantic Ocean Club, and La Cote; and wine and spirits companies from Oregon’s Argyle Winery to Kim Crawford, Layer Cake, Ketel One, Ron Zacapa, and St. Germain – with everyone handing out yummy bites and beverages to hungry guests.
Post-tasting, I had a chance to finally make it to Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink where award-winning chef Michael Schwartz manned the busy kitchen, and dishes like the crispy sweet and sour pork belly and rock shrimp rice cakes, along with pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith’s delicious banana toffee panini, brought my wine and food weekend to a marvelous close.
Many thanks to festival producer Lee Schrager, all-hands-on-deck man Devin Padgett and his event team, the fabulous folks at Robin Insley and Associates as well as Brustman-Carrino, the hardworking hospitality students of Florida International University, and all the participating chefs, restaurants, and sponsors who helped make the weekend a success. I look forward to returning to sunny South Beach for SOBE 2012!
Be sure to check out my coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of the 2011 Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Also head over to Facebook to become a friend of Daily Blender, where I’ll be uploading all of my favorite pictures from the weekend that didn’t make it into the posts.
*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender