Eating and Exploring: Event Picks for February and March


Oh, how I wish I could make it to every luxurious food, wine, and spirits event there is. Flying to and fro – Europe, Asia, Australia – eating, traveling, writing. It took Bourdain a few years to finally get to that point, and it’ll take me a few years to get to that point, too, so until then, I’ll just wrap up pleasant little posts on my favorites so that the rest of you can imbibe and gallivant to your heart’s content. Or at least dream about it with me.

We have a bevy of events coming up on the Daily Blender coverage calendar this year, but here are my picks for February and March:

South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Miami, Florida (February 23-26)
The ultimate Food Network/Cooking Channel mecca, this annual festival takes place along the sunny beaches of South Beach, with everyone from Scott Conant to Rachael Ray making their rounds. Oceanside soirees, tastings about town, and the massive Grand Tasting make up this weekend-long event, with sea and sun playing in the background. This year’s lineup includes the Best of the Best dinner at the lush Fontainebleau Miami Beach, a Farm to Table Brunch with our friend, chef Michael Schwartz, and Trucks on the Beach with ever-awesome Andrew Zimmern. On the heels of her new book release, you can also catch a seminar with the lovely Gail Simmons, whom I’ll be interviewing next month. Can’t make it this year? Neither can I. But at least we can peruse last year’s coverage…

Seattle Wine and Food Experience, Seattle, Washington (February 26)
Though I’m not making it to SOBE, I will be at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience this year. One of my favorites in the Pacific Northwest, the SWFE brings together a whole host of talented food, wine, and spirits folks in the greater Seattle area. You can read my coverage from the 2010 event here, with my pics and notes from this year’s event going live on Daily Blender the first week of March.

Taste of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (March 8-11)
I can’t even tell you how much I love Australia. After my visit in 1997, I’ve spent the whole time trying to make my way back – and someday soon, I hope to. A country full of top-notch food and wine folks, it includes a handful of notable culinary events, including the Taste of Sydney. Taking place in the harborside city of Sydney, this weekend event delivers restaurant and wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, seminars on sustainability, and “The Beautifully Swedish Rekorderlig Cider Bar” (which sounds like fun to me).

IACP Annual Conference, New York City, New York (March 29-April 2)
Those in the know, know IACP. The International Association of Culinary Professionals holds a massive conference each year in a hip, happening city of choice (most recently Austin and Portland), bringing together media, PR people, chefs, restaurateurs, and more writers (journalists, bloggers, cookbook authors, etc.) than you can imagine. This year’s event is taking place in the Big Apple, with speaking engagements, tours, awards, and a ‘Book and Blog Festival’ featuring industry well-knowns like Grant Achatz, Dan Barber, Amanda Hesser, Marion Nestle, Ruth Reichl, Marcus Samuelsson, and Kim Severson. Although I have yet to join (the membership is sadly a bit pricey, which is ironic given the paycheck of most writers) I did have a grand time at the opening event in 2010.

I’ll have another Eating and Exploring the first week of April, highlighting my fave events happening in April and May – and there are quite a few of them!


~Jennifer Heigl

*Photo Credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender