Best guide: local foodie events to love


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 

Dec. 14-17 

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 
  • 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). 


Boca Bacchanal 

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

 


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