Swank Farm hosts the world’s largest food film festival this Sunday

Call it cinema vérité, farm style: a menu of movies and plates to match, all served and seen at Swank Farm.

The Loxahatchee Groves boutique farm will host Devour!, the world’s largest food film festival, on Sunday, May 22. Farmers Darrin and Jodi Swank will transform their grand, open-sided barn into a rural screening room where one can enjoy film shorts and one 50-minute documentary between bites of pricey, big-city cooking.

When West Palm Beach cookbook author and filmmaker Judith Olney attended Devour in Wolfville, Nova Scotia last year, she decided it was the “most exciting food event” she had experienced.

“Everyone who was anyone in Canada culinary circles attended,” she recalled by email last week. “I wished we had something like this in Palm Beach County.”

Knowing that the film festival puts on smaller events in cities around the world, Olney asked the organizers if they would come here. They accepted.

So attending the Swank Farm film feast will be Devour founder Chef Michael Howell as well as the festival’s managing director Lia Rinaldo. They will be joined by a series of local chefs.

“The Canadians will be bringing wine, cheeses, sea vegetables, oysters, caviar, Haskap berry, fiddlehead ferns – spring in Canada! – and we will play off a few Florida products against those Canadians,” said Olney, whose own film about life at Swank Farm will be screened as the event’s finale.

In all, the chefs will create seven dishes inspired by the films.

One film about making pasta will be paired with a conchiglie (shell-shaped) pasta, golden tilefish and bay scallop cioppino dish by Four Seasons Palm Beach resort chef Tory Martindale. Later in the feast, Martindale’s cheese course will pair with a short film about a cheese shop.

“There is something about the connection between the film and what you’re eating that just makes for a great time,” says Laurie Herrick, the resort’s publicist. “It’s really quite a fun experience.”

The culinary lineup includes Chef Clay Carnes of Antique Row’s upcoming Cholo Soy taco eatery, Swank resident chef Simon Stojanovic and pastry chef Darlene Moree.

The Swanks, who hosted eight multi-course feasts at their farm this growing season — more than any other season — have installed a massive movie screen and film projection system for the festival.

“It’ll be fun. The films are short. The food is great,” says Jodi Swank. “People can come, maybe have some popcorn and have a great time.”

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