The holidays may be over, but there are still plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry.

A pair of upcoming food and wine festivals in Broward County celebrate local chefs and restaurants, fine wines and creative cocktails.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Food and Wine Festival

Despite a disruption from COVID-19 last year, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Food and Wine Festival (GFLFWF) is officially celebrating its third anniversary, according to Co-founder Kate Reed. The first local celebration was held in 2019 and had just wrapped up a successful repeat performance when the pandemic hit in March 2020. Last year, a series of gourmet dinners were held throughout the county, but the festival is now back in a big way, Jan. 10 – 16.

“We had this plan all the way along — one-year, two-year and five-year plans. COVID changed that, but it also allowed us more time to build relationships with restaurants and chefs,” she said. “It definitely was the time now to grow into the week-long festival that we wanted and the response has been amazing.”

Among the signature culinary events are “Cocktail Confidential,” Wednesday, Jan. 12 at [email protected] in downtown Fort Lauderdale, an opportunity to sample signature cocktails created by The Restaurant People (YOLO, Boatyard, S3), and “Poolside BBQ Battle,” Friday, Jan. 14 at the Hyattt Centric Las Olas, featuring Fox TV’s “Masterchef” winner Shaun O’Neale and Food Network’s “Chopped” champion Ed Randolph judge entries from local barbecue joints.

The GFLFWF main event, the Grand Tasting on Saturday, Jan. 15, returns for a second year at a new location, Las Olas Oceanside Park on Fort Lauderdale Beach. Up to 3,500 guests will sample food and wines, take in cooking demonstrations and enjoy live entertainment in a relaxing, resort-like setting.

“We’re so excited by our new home at the beach, but you don’t have to deal with sand, which is a bonus,” Reed explained. “It’s all about the experiences, games, seating all over, music to listen to, but not so much a walk down the line to get a lot of samples. It’s an all-day experience to hang out with friends and eat and drink and relax.”

Visit Lauderdale, the Broward County tourism agency, is putting its marketing muscle behind the festival.

“Greater Fort Lauderdale is in fact a foodie destination and Kate and Phil [Co-founder Phil Marro] have done such a great job growing the festival and showcasing our food scene,” said CEO Stacy Ritter. “One of the things we focus on at Visit Lauderdale is our diversity and one of the great benefits of having so many cultures in our destination is the variety. You come to Greater Fort Lauderdale and you can literally eat around the world.”

Tickets and a full schedule are available at GFLFoodWine.com. Water Taxi is offering a 20% discount for rides to the Grand Tasting on Jan. 15 - 16 with code FOODWINE22 at WaterTaxi.com.

Seaglass Rosé Experience

If you like to look at life through rose-colored glasses, then Seaglass, Jan. 21 – 23 at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, is not to be missed.

“Rosé is a lifestyle,” said Founder Carlos Suarez. “It’s more than a drink, it’s more than a daytime drink. Years ago, there were two or three rosé brands, now there are hundreds of them. I didn’t want this to be another food and wine festival, but a rosé experience.”

Suarez, who also launched Venice magazine is Fort Lauderdale eight years ago, had the idea for Seaglass several years ago, but it was a cancer scare in 2019 that pushed him to make the festival a reality. It seemed particularly appropriate as the pinkish hue of rosé wines suggested the color typically associated with cancer awareness. He quickly recruited AutoNation and the DRV PNK campaign as title sponsors.  

“At the time, there really were only a couple of big events on the beach, Tortuga and Riptide [music festivals], and after much thought, I knew we could do it on the beach,” Suarez recalled.

The first Seaglass was held in 2020, just weeks before COVID-19 hit, and was a huge success. One of the keys, he said, was keeping the event small and intimate — without the long lines associated with other festivals. And, he knew 2022 was the perfect time to revive the festival.

Guests will be able to sample more than 30 rosé varieties over three events on Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Dean Max, José Mendín, Steve Martorano and Paula DaSilva are among the local celebrity chefs Suarez has recruited to cook for the parties. He’s also lined up international DJ Anna de Ferren, Tatiana Blades & The Collektives and Atlanta-based 70s/80s band Yacht Rock Revue to entertain.

Tickets are available at SeaglassExperience.com.

RELATED

FayWhat?! Back to Unite the G & the L


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS