Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Sun Sentinel.
Eighteen months into the pandemic, a handful of South Florida’s fall food and wine festivals are still intact. Not everyone was lucky: The current COVID surge, for example, postponed Labor Day weekend’s Caribbean Food and Rum Festival (now bumped to Dec. 12). Bummer.
The festivals that remain are selling out fast. Here are five fall feasts in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.
The Rotary Club of Weston Food & Wine Festival
6:30- 9 p.m. Sept. 23 at Bonaventure Town Center Club, 16690 Saddle Club Road, Weston; WestonRotaryFWF.com
Delayed in 2020 thanks to COVID-19, this first-time gathering of Weston suburbanites and their nearby restaurants will be hosted by the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Arlene Borenstein-Zuluaga (shameless self-plug alert!). Some 25 restaurants and 25 vintner brands – and a limit of 350 ticketbuyers – will shuffle into the Bonaventure’s newly upgraded ballroom, Rotary Club chair and co-organizer Jim Norton says, with all proceeds heading to Honor Flight South Florida, Kids in Distress, the Rotary Foundation and Haiti Earthquake Support Relief. “We want a community event people are proud to be associated with,” Norton says. “Since the Haiti earthquake especially, we’ve had so many members rolling up their sleeves to help.” General admission: $75, $250 for the fancy VIP lanyard, which includes 5:30 p.m. early access plus restaurant food pairings with Caymus Wines.
RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl Eighth Annual Great Chefs Tailgate Showcase
6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 6 at Boca Raton Innovation Campus, 5000 T-Rex Avenue, Boca Raton (lakeside); 561-385-0144, SpiritofGivingNetwork.com
It’s officially college football season, natch, and a time to flaunt your colors in the cheerful company of other smack-talkers. At this party – an official lead-in event for Dec. 18′s Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium – guests can arrive in their alma mater colors or team jersey, and huddle for an evening of craft beer, cocktail samples and “tailgate fare” from local chefs. Dishes will be graded by ticketbuyers and judges in categories ranging from “People’s Choice” to “most spirited station décor,” so you know the stakes are high. ESPN 106.3 FM on-air personalities will broadcast live from the event. Tickets: $40-$50.
Basser’s Food and Wine Festival
Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 24 at Heron Bay Marriott, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd., Coral Springs; 954-840-3122, BassersFineWine.com
Another first-time food-and-wine bash, this gathering, the brainchild of Parklanders Glenn and Emily Basser, trots out 150 world-class wines, local craft beer and food samples from Coral Springs-area restaurants inside the ballroom of Heron Bay Marriott. Call it a rare wine sampling party: the Bassers, owners of a namesake wine and beer shop on Coral Ridge Drive, will showcase pours from Caymus, Hestan Chappellet, Rochioli, Jonata and others, plus live music. Tickets: $100 plus tax.
It’s easy to assume only the health-conscious set (nutrition experts, fitness gurus, all-vegan eaters) descend on this weeklong smorgasbord celebrating plant-based cuisine. Not true, if you ask SEED co-founder Alison Burgos, who argues SEED is less about preaching to the choir and more about steering on-the-fence carnivores to the green side. (Roughly 60 percent of festivalgoers don’t self-identify as “vegan” or “vegetarian,” she says.) The biggest of SEED’s events is the Fifth Annual Plant Based Burger Battle, and the bash climaxes with a SEED Festival Day Tasting Village at Regatta Park in Coconut Grove with chef demos, a meditation lounge and plant-based treats from 100 restaurants and vendors. Events range from free to $495.
14th annual Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival
A blitz of rapid sellouts once tickets went on sale in August prove momentum is heavy for Palm Beach’s biggest culinary feast in December, uniting 23 intimate dinners led by chefs used to the glare of Food Network stardom: Daniel Boulud, Michelle Bernstein, Robert Irvine, Marc Murphy, Maneet Chauhan. Organizer David Sabin attributes the rabid interest to cabin fever. “People must be excited because they missed it last year,” he says. A fine alternative to those who skipped this spring’s celebrity-studded South Beach Wine and Food Festival, events now stretch south to Delray Beach, with a four-course Italian dinner and wine pairing at chef Lisbet Summa’s namesake Elisabetta’s. (Yes, those passes are still available – for now). Tickets: $50-$200 per event.