The 2012 South Beach Wine and Food Festival was an amazing food experience. It was a weekend full of delicious bites, sandy beaches and celebrity chef sightings galore! From February 23- 26, Miami’s South Beach was literally taken over by the Food Network and foodies from around the nation, making it one of the biggest culinary events of the year. Even better, Atlanta Tastemaker Magazine was happy to be a part of it.
Some of this year’s most popular events included the Burger Bash hosted by Food Network Star Rachael Ray, Party Impossible hosted by Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, Trucks on the Beach hosted by Travel Channel TV personality Andrew Zimmern, and the lively Grand Tasting Village where festival goers tasted gourmet food and sampled delicious wines and spirits under gorgeous white tents along the beach.
Amstel Light Burger Bash
South Beach was taken over by 32 of the nation’s best chefs each serving their burger renditions and vying for the title of “Best Burger”. Tents were set up along the beach under the cool night sky, complete with live music and all of the Amstel Light beer you could drink. Some of the standout burgers were, host Rachael Ray’s BBQ burger with sweet and spicy pickles; Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s Hangover Burger; Creative Tastes Catering Southern Comfort Burger topped with collard greens, bacon and aged cheddar; Fatty Cue’s lamb burger; and Top Chef Richard Blais’ rBQ Burger with fried pork belly, pimento cheese, pickles and smoked mayo. This year the “Best Burger” title went to TV personality and Iron Chef Michael Symon with his B Spot “Porky Burger” made with bacon and topped with pulled pork and coleslaw, making him a three-time Burger Bash winner.
Epicure Gourmet Market’s Party Impossible
Robert Irvine hosted one of the coolest festival after parties, turning a revamped parking garage overlooking the Miami skyline into a lively epicure gourmet market. With a smorgasbord of artisanal foods, a gourmet dessert bar, and a bartender that served champagne while hanging upside down (seriously), partygoers had plenty to do and see. And in true Robert Irvine fashion, an “impossible” challenge was presented: he was challenged to create a 2-ft long signature sandwich, hanging upside down (like the aforementioned bartender) while the crowd cheered him on. Mission completed.
Whole Foods Grand Tasting Village
Picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean welcomed guests on the beach as you enter the Grand Tasting Tents where chef’s from around the nation serve up their inventive dishes for all to indulge in. There was a never ending assortment of food and wine to sample, festive music, giveaways and celebrity chef demonstrations by popular TV personalities and Food Network stars including, Sunny Anderson, Guy Fieri, Alex Guarnaschelli, The Neelys and Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain.
Trucks on the Beach
Over 20 of Miami’s top food trucks parked along the sandy beaches of South Beach on Sunday night ending the festival with a bang. Each truck entertained long lines of guests eagerly awaiting signature bites from the culinary geniuses behind the grill. Some of my favorites included, The Rolling Stove’s braised jerk pork sandwich; Ms. Cheezious’ grilled blue cheese and bacon sandwich; Cubancube’s tower of sweet plantains, Cuban pork cassava mash and fried sweet potato; The Flying Saucer’s cubanito slider made with angus beef, Swiss cheese, Spanish chorizo and their guavalicious sauce; and Clarabelle’s Cupcakes with their Meyer lemon cupcake with sweet violet buttercream frosting. Even host Andrew Zimmern had a truck set up serving a Capretto sausage sandwich with broccoli rabe pesto. Even the folks at Cultivate Wines were there supporting the event and pouring their characteristic wines that paired well with the food truck fare. The official closing party undoubtedly ended the festival on a high note, sending satisfied foodies home with full bellies and huge smiles on their faces.
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is a must see event where you can meet your favorite celebrity chef’s, taste delicious food and try new cocktails and aromatic wine. The beautiful weather, ocean views and sandy beaches were the perfect setting for a memorable weekend, so be sure to make your plans early and head down to Miami for SOBEWFF 2013!