By Daniela Ortega, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Food Network and the Cooking Chanel South Beach Wine and Food Festival (aka SOBEWFF) is probably one of the most outstanding weekends of the year in Miami. This year events start taking place Wednesday, February 20th, and will last until Sunday February 24h.
SOBEWFF is hosted by Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits and Florida International University. The festival is celebrating its 18th year, it attracts more than 60,000 people every year, and with more than 100 events taking place all over the city, there really is something for everyone.
According to organizers, the mission is to “EAT. DRINK. EDUCATE. Between SOBEWFF® and its sister NYCWFF, which takes place each October in New York, more than $39 million has been raised to benefit the respective charities for each Festival.”
“Beyond the funds raised, both Festivals draw attention to the vibrant dining culture in their respective cities, provide economic stimulus in their communities and serve as an invaluable platform to drive awareness, engaging and inspiring people to get involved in philanthropic activities.”
The main and classic events, called “The Signature Events” take place in Miami Beach, but many are now happening all over Miami, even all the way up to Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Although there are some events under $100, the range for most tickets is from $150 to $250.
Events and the Festival itself are always crowded with celebrities, especially celebrity chefs. For example, among the Miami Beach Signature Events you can find “Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach” hosted by famous Giada De Laurentiis, and the “Heineken Light Burger Bash” hosted by David Burtka and Neil Patrick Harris. Pretty much everyone loves Italian food, burgers and these delightful hosts.
Now most events at the beach include a marvelous celebrity chef, but not all are only for enjoying their food, you can also learn from them. Asides from the intimate dinners, happy hours, tastings, dinners, lunches and brunches, other activities include learning the trades. For instance, cooking classes are an option.
This year one of the most popular events is “Pizza-Making Master Class & Lunch” hosted by Laurent Tourondel, for example. Tourondel is the award-winning French chef behind The Alley at the historic Betsy in our own Miami Beach, as well as L’Amico and The Vine, among others top-notch venues.
Perhaps cooking is not one of your passions, but spirits might be. In this case, you could attend the “A Riedel Seminar Champagne Tasting Seminar: See, Smell, Taste the Difference a Glass Makes.” Like this one, there are several fun tastings and events dedicated to liquors and the nightlife as well.
There is even an event for fitness and yoga lovers at the Lowes Hotel, named “Buddhas and Bellinis” Asides from the catchy name, it features one of Miami’s hottest yoga instructor, accompanied by an amazing DJ, followed by sips of bubbly by Ruffino Italian Wines.
While most events are for adults over 21 because there is usually alcohol involved, there are a few that are family friendly. For instance, Goya sponsors cooking classes for the little ones, there is also an Ice Cream Soirée with Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro for the whole family to delight themselves with sweet treats!
For more information follow the festival @sobewffest and share all your awesome photos, stories and videos using #SOBEWFF.