Every February the South Beach Wine & Food Festival® delights tens of thousands of foodies with a delicious weekend benefitting the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU). The Festival is a star-studded, five-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Its 19th annual edition will take place February 19 – 23, 2020.
After attending some of the Festival’s delectable events year after year, we have put together a survival guide with our best tips for living your best #SOBEWFF life.
1. Put your best foot forward.
Picture this: sand between your toes with a beer in your left hand and a burger in your right hand, fangirling (or fanboying) hard over your favorite celebrity chef. This year’s talent includes Andrew Zimmern, Ted Allen, Valerie Bertinelli, Anne Burell, Scott Conant, Bobby Flay, and many, many more! So turn off Food Network or Cooking Channel, and make this dream a reality! With that said, many of the Festival’s signature events take place on the sand, so we recommend that you put your best foot forward and leave the heels and loafers at home. Your feet will get sandy as you taste your way through Italian Bites on the Beach hosted by Giada De Laurentiis and Dario Cecchini, Burger Bash® hosted by Rachael Ray, Beachside BBQ hosted by Guy Fieri, and more! Sandals or casual shoes that you don’t mind getting sandy are your best bet.
2. SPF is your BFF.
Sunshine is abundant if you’re hanging poolside at Rosé Pool Party hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian or dancing around the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village. While you’re paying attention to all the eats at the Festival’s daytime events – you may forget how strong those rays are. Make sure you apply sunscreen before, during and after!
3. Don’t break the bank and try events under $100
With over 100 events over five days, there is definitely something for every palate and every budget. Interested in pizza under the stars? Check out Miami Design District presents Sliced: A Genuine Pizza Party hosted by Michael Schwartz! Do you love cocktails and have a greenthumb? Sips & Succulents Master Class might be your dream event. Fitness and bubbles tickle your fancy? You may find your ultimate zen at Buddhas & Bellinis. There’s something for everyone with all of these events under $100.
4. Dine with award winning chefs.
Is it your dream to dine on food prepared by James Beard-Award winning chefs? The Festival offers a variety of intimate dining experiences that are more low-key, but just as delicious as the signature events. At Dolce Italian guests will be treated to an authentic tasting from three renowned chefs, Tony Mantuano, Marc Vetri and Paolo Dorigato. You can also enjoy an elevated dining experience at Prime Private by some of the most relevant names in the industry, Carlo Mirarchi, Brady Williams and Marcelo Palacios. Check out the full list of intimate dining experiences here.
5. For the 21 and under crowd.
SOBEWFF® is not just a culinary affair for adults, there are plenty of events for families, too! From Goya Foods’ Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Kidz Kitchen in Jungle Island to an art (and wine) filled family shindig in Hallandale, you can start training the little ones to be culinary experts at any age! Do you have fur babies? SOBEWFF® has got you covered there too with a super fun Yappie Hour.
6. Venture off the beach.
Even though it’s called South Beach Wine & Food Festival, there are events happening all around South Florida. You can head to the Design District and fuel your evening with Miami’s favorite snack food – the croqueta – at Croquetas and Cocktails. You can indulge in a top-notch private dinner at Bachour in Coral Gables hosted by Cedric Vongerichten (who trained under his father, the acclaimed Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), Antonio Bachour and Herbert Schulz. You can even explore north of the Miami border to Fort Lauderdale and crown yourself the sandwich king or queen at Sandwich Showdown hosted by Jeff Mauro. On the beach or beyond, tasty times and libations are abound.
7. Late Night Parties
After sunset there are plenty of reasons to stay on the beach thanks to Late Night Parties. You can get your Dim Sum & Disco on, cheer on your favorite local bartender at Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown or snack on Tacos After Dark. Want to end your night on a sweet note? Let desserts fuel your dance moves well into the next day at Sweets & Beats!
8. Make getting around the beach a breeze.
Many of the Festival’s events happen on and around South Beach. While most are a quick walk away from each other, be sure to look into alternative ways to get around instead of looking for parking at each individual event. Besides ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber, consider taking a free ride with the City of Miami Beach’s trolley service, or the Freebee App. Both services cover all of Miami Beach so you can minimize your walk between your prime parking spot and events like brunch at Juvia on Lincoln Road or Sips & Dips on Collins.
9. What you should wear.
Not all of the events are the same, and figuring out the perfect outfit may be difficult. You can dress down for the fun and casual BACARDI’s Beach Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmern, but be sure to bring out your finest ensemble for Best of the Best in the Fontainebleau! When figuring out your ideal outfit for Festival events, make sure to check the event listing for the full 411. The event listing will clarify if it’s casual or “smart casual” (see photo), indoor or outdoor, sit down or walk-around, so you can enjoy the event of your choice in both comfort and style! And don’t forget, your bag completes your lewk, and the festival has a strict bag policy. Keep bags on the small side. Full details here.
10. Vote for Yelp’s Best Bite on the Beach
If you’re checking out Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village on Saturday or Sunday – make sure to vote for Yelp’s Best Bite on The Beach! There will be more than 50 restaurants to try at this signature event, and you can help crown a Festival favorite by casting your vote at sobewff.org/bestbite
Members of the Yelp Elite Squad are eligible to win free tickets for South Beach Wine & Food Festival® via various giveaways Yelp Miami and Yelp Fort Lauderdale will be hosting in February 2020. Stay tuned at Yelp.com/Events.