It’s no coincidence that the local growing season ushers in a sparkling series of foodie events, dinners, festivals and tastings. In a county where the concept of “farm-fresh” is treasured and celebrated, local harvests give us new reasons to experiment with ingredients, cook and feast.
Here’s a mini-guide to some of the county’s top foodie events.
Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival
With an impressive list of culinary heavy-hitters, the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival enters its 11th year in grand style.
The festival’s approach has been as pragmatic as it has been polished. Instead of aiming for carousing mobs, organizers focus on a more intimate experience in which foodies can interact with top national and local chefs. There are 14 events (sit-down feasts and walk-around tastings), most of them in Palm beach, are scattered throughout four days.
New this year:
- Gravy – James Beard Award-winning chefs Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, Chicago) and Marc Murphy (Benchmarc Restaurants, New York) join executive chef Fabrizio Giorgi at his beloved Café Sapori in West Palm Beach for a four-course dinner of Italian favorites with wine pairings and open bar. Dec. 14, 7 p.m.
- Daniel by Night – Star chef Daniel Boulud hosts a party at his Café Boulud Palm Beach, with funky cocktails and walk-around bites. Wine pairings and open bar are included. Dec. 16, 8 p.m.
- Brunch in Paradise – A constellation of chefs cooks brunch at the fetching Eau Palm Beach Resort. Dec. 17, 11 a.m.
For tickets and information: pbfoodfest.com
Swank Farm Feasts
Some years ago, Darrin and Jodi Swank expanded the functions of their Loxahatchee Groves farm to include seasonal, chef-driven, Sunday feasts. This season, they’ve expanded even further to host a new “Master Chef” dinner series on Saturday nights during the growing season. And they’ve also added a casual Sunday brunch series.
This promises to be a busy season beneath the vaulted roof of Swank Farm’s open-air pole barn.
- Swank Table – During this series, teams of noteworthy South Florida chefs create family-style dinners. Starting at 5 p.m., guests are treated to appetizers, a tapas plate, a farm tour, then three wine-paired courses that are served family-style. Add flowing drinks, live music and farm-chic table-scapes and you’ve got the essence of a Swank dinner. Sunday dinners are scheduled for Dec. 17 (gaucho-themed), Jan. 7 (farm market-themed), Jan. 21 (70s party), Feb. 17 (Chinese New Year), Mar. 4 (vegetarian), Mar. 18 (coastal seafood), April 8 (white party) and April 22 (pig roast). Price: $160 per person, per dinner
In just another month we will be eating the best food, meeting, the best chefs, listening to the best music and meeting new friends. That's what it's all about. Join us "down on the farm" for the best time. Www.swankspecialtyproduce.com #dinnersonthefarm #brunchonthefarm #givingback #getready. #SWANKTABLE
- Swank Master Chef Series – This new series focuses more on individual master chefs who will create five-course dinners for Swank guests featuring farm-grown ingredients. Each chef also presents “The Best Dish I’ve Ever Created.” These Saturday night dinners start at 7 p.m. and include wine pairings and music. The dinners are scheduled for Dec. 2 (Diplomat Hotel chefs), Jan. 13 (Miami chef Michael Schwartz), Feb. 3 (San Francisco chef Sara Hauman), Feb. 10 (Charlotte chef Tom Condron), Mar. 10 (Boca Raton chef Mark Militello), and April 14 (South Florida chef Sean Brasel). Price: $160 per person, per dinner
- Swank Brunch – On select Sunday mornings during season, the farm hosts casual, themed brunches complete with chef-created dishes, live music and bottomless brunch cocktails. They are scheduled for Nov. 26 (fall harvest), Jan. 28 (reggae morning), April 1 (Easter Sunday) and May 13 (Mother’s Day). Brunch time goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets: $87 per adult, $45 per child ages 4 to 12; kids ages 3 and younger enter free. For information and tickets to Swank Farm events, visit SwankSpecialtyProduce.com or call 561-202-5648.
Kai-Kai Farm Foodie Events
Farmers Diane Cordeau and Carl Frost have stepped up the pace of the foodie events at their Indiantown produce farm. Here’s a glance:
- Wed. Oct. 25 – Fall Cooking Dinner with Chef Kitty Philips. A full menu of autumnal dishes by the farm’s “resident chef.” (Sold out.)
- Sun. Nov. 5 – Early dinner with Chef Rick Mace. A five-course, wine pairing dinner by Café Boulud’s acclaimed chef. Price: $95 per person.
- Sat. Nov. 18 – Arabian Dinner with Chef Rasheed. Early dinner featuring Middle Eastern dishes. Price: $70 per person.
- Wed. Nov. 29 – Cocktail Party with Chef Kitty Philips. The farm’s chef demonstrates how to make easy appetizers for a dressy cocktail party. Price: $50 per person.
- Sun. Dec. 3 – Dinner with Chef Adam Brown. The Cooper’s executive chef creates a special feast at the farm. Price: $90 per person.
- Wed. Dec. 27 – Upscale Mexican Dinner with Chef Kitty Philips. Learn to make an elegant Mexican dinner. Sold out.
For event information and tickets, visit kaismusicgarden.com.
Wellington Bacon & Bourbon Festival
March 23-25, 2018
A celebration of bourbons, whiskey and bacon takes over Wellington’s Community Center and Amphitheater (12100 Forest Hill Blvd.). Expect porcine-inspired dishes and more than 40 American bourbons and whiskeys.
For more information, visit the festival’s Facebook page (@BaconBourbonFest).
April 6-7, 2018
Each spring, well-heeled foodies in south county look forward to this weekend of intimate dinners and other tastings.
- Bacchanalia 2018 – a Saturday grand tasting event featuring more than 30 local restaurants and live music at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. Price: $125 per person.
- Vintner Dinners 2018 – a series of sumptuous, Friday night wine dinners hosted at grand private residences and historical sites. Price: $325 per person.
For more information on the Boca Bacchanal, visit bocabacchanal.com.