For those looking to leave the rock for a weekend combining travel and food, there are many events within a short plane ride or two that promise to tickle your taste buds while showcasing the culture of their host cities.
The Livestock Show & Rodeo takes place from February – March, however pre-rodeo events such as the Bar-B-Que Contest, Best Bites Competition and Wine Show build the anticipation in the months running up to this family friendly agricultural event.
The Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition is a vast gourmet food event, giving visitors the chance to sample meals from over 100 of the area’s top restaurants, as well as pair these with award-winning wines, at the numerous stalls dotted around the venue.
The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival
The 18th annual festival sees four days of demonstrations, tastings, parties, seminars and tribute meals with famous chefs – more than 90 events in total. They’re spread across South Florida locations, both Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and set to attract more than 60,000 guests. All that noshing goes to a good cause, too, having raised more than $28 million to date for the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.
There’s nothing quite like a good rasher of bacon. In fact, it is so popular that the average American apparently eats almost 18 pounds of the streaky stuff per year. Honoring this, Chicago hosts a Baconfest every year. You can expect some 150 Chicago chefs preparing pork in different, sometimes surprising, ways. Alongside these small plates, mixologists and brewers cater to the thirsty with cocktails and brews that incorporate or are inspired by bacon. Ticket prices include all-you-can-eat pork, plus seven beers, cocktails or glasses of wine. Try your luck in the raffle, and peruse all manner of bacon-based products for sale.
Las Olas Wine & Food Festival
More than 50 South Florida restaurants and over 200 international wines, spirits and brews fill Las Olas Boulevard, while live music and DJs provide extra entertainment for the 2,500+ guests that flock to the event.
Participating restaurants cover every taste, from ceviche to steak, and pizza to oysters. VIP lounges and luxury tasting pavilions line the boulevard, as well as ‘neighborhood pavilions,’ giving guests a culinary peek into Greater Fort Lauderdale’s communities.
Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards
2018 saw the 20th Table Talk Food Awards take place at historic Devon House in St. Andrew, Jamaica. This hotly anticipated food award show is the Jamaican predecessor of the Cayman and Trinidad & Tobago Table Talk awards and is sponsored by the Jamaica Observer and Best Dressed Chicken among others.
The event celebrates outstanding food creation, service and excellence and award categories include Best Kept Secret, Best Place for Family Dining, Best Wine Experience and Jing Shi Award for Excellence in Desserts. While honoring chefs and restaurateurs, attendees can delight in a fantastic range of food and beverages at more than 60 participant booths, with spectacular service and décor in a beautiful setting.
New York City Wine & Food Festival
Known as the largest food and wine festival in NYC, the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One brings together world-famous chefs, wine and spirit producers and foodies for four days of meals, tastings, culinary demonstrations, seminars and classes across the city.
Proceeds are donated to the No Kid Hungry campaign and Food Bank for New York City, with over $11 million raised in the past 11 years.
Attracting 47,000 people per year, the festival has over 75 events and a range of price points and packages, offering something for everyone, with renowned chefs, celebrities and culinary personalities in attendance as well as live music.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Sample Kalua pork sliders at the Hawaii booth, seared scallops at the Coastal Eats booth or the butternut squash ravioli at The Wine & Dine Studio, before washing it all down with craft beers or world-class wine.
Ticketed events also take place such as concerts with live music, culinary demos from world-renowned chefs and beverage seminars from industry experts. Brunch, a Q&A, and meet-and-greet with a celebrity guest is also on the cards.