I know there are dozens of ‘top 10’ lists for the new year recommending the trendiest places for travel and food in 2015. Some of them have inspiring ideas, others sound like a press release and make you shrug your shoulder and say, ‘meh.’ Personally, I only make recommendations that come from the heart and are truly from personal experience. So, if you consider yourself a foodie or wine enthusiast, definitely check out the Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest this year. They haven’t yet announced their dates for 2015 (probably still basking in the glow of a great event just this past December), but you’ll definitely want to grab tickets as soon as they’re available because it’s a small intimate festival (i.e. limited number of seats).
So, get out your calendar now and set a reminder to check the dates for this year’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival (I’ll update it here too). It’s star-studded, flavor-packed, and tons of fun. Here’s what I loved about it:
This is the only festival I’ve ever attended where you can actually talk to the chefs one-on-one — I mean, actually walk up to them, say hello, and start a conversation. Most food and wine festivals keep their star talent behind podium microphones and private parties, but at Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest, guests are all part of the ‘in’ crowd and can hob nob with some of the world’s most famous chefs. If you love food, you’ll fit in just fine. And it’s not going to be like waiting in a long line at a bookstore for a chef to sign your cookbook, it’s more like mingling at a party and you just happen to look over you left shoulder to see that you’ve just bumped elbows with Daniel Boulud. Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival is like the Goldie Locks of festivals, it’s not too big, it’s not too small, it’s just right.
It’s Fun & Interactive
Don’t let the glamour of Palm Beach fool you, this is a fun roll-up-your-sleeves kind of festival that includes karaoke, beach volley ball, and rock-n-roll. Two of the main events in 2014 were a weekend grilling cook-off and a street foods competition. Who wouldn’t want to grill out by the pool on a Saturday afternoon with the likes of Robert Irvine and Jeff Mauro?
The Talent Lineup Is Amazing
You’ll see dozens of award winning chefs and television stars such as Robert Irvine from Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible, and Ted Allen from the show, Chopped. And if you don’t know who all these chefs are, that’s okay too. Chances are, you’ll recognize quite a few of them. And if not, there’s a program provided that includes everyone’s bio and photograph, so you’ll get to know them throughout the weekend and then have a whole list of new restaurants to try and cable food shows to watch. Not to mention, the food. Omigod, the glorious food!
They Still Keep It Local
Even with all the world renowned chefs, local stars are also well represented with the top chefs from Miami and Palm Beach participating. Last year they even hosted a street food competition: Palm Beach Chefs vs Miami Chefs. Imagine the flavor infusions when you have chefs competing to win — yeah, it’s insanely delicious. All the festival guests were given tokens to drop off at their favorite booth to vote for the People’s Choice Award and let me tell ya, it was a tough decision to make!
The Location Is Gorgeous
If you needed just one more excuse to go, let it be the location. You won’t be stuck in a convention hall or under some circus tent, you’ll be on the beach with a chill sea breeze enjoying winter in Florida which is a bright and sunny 75 degrees. It’s a great time of year to be outdoors enjoying good food and making new friends. Plus, you really can’t beat staying at the Four Seasons Palm Beach.
And in case you still need some convincing, here are a few more photos to whet your appetite …