Foodie fans, it’s your time to shine – the 7th Annual Boca Raton Wine & Food Festival is kicking off on Saturday, November 5. The largest outdoor culinary affair in South Florida, this year’s celebration will be held in Sanborn Square and will feature 25 local chefs from restaurants around the area, including West Palm Beach’s newcomer, Jardin, and Boca Raton’s long-established Little Chalet.
This year, the popular culinary event will be scaled down to a much more intimate affair than in years past.
“A lot of people don’t want to be around 3,500 people during the grand tasting event on Saturday night, so we’re scaling it down to around 1,000 instead,” says Russell Spadaccini, president of The Bites! Network who first created the festival back in 2010. “That way, you’re not waiting in line behind 30-40 people to get a tasting. You have more room to move around and it’s more relaxing, without feeling like you have to run from one station to another.”
Guests and chefs from last year’s Wine & Food Festival.
The grand tasting event, A Culinary Affair, will be held from 6-10 p.m., and will take guests on a tour through a variety of culinary cuisines including Italy, the Mediterranean, Asia Pacific, Spain, and more. In the spirit of cultural diversity, the festival grounds will be transformed into a walkway of elaborately decorated countries and regions, complete with themed music and decor to transport guests around the world as they stroll and shop.
“Another reason for narrowing down the restaurants is because we’re trying not to make this year a repeat of the same cuisine as last year,” says Spadaccini. “So we’re going to have a nice eclectic mix of around 25 South Florida restaurants showcasing their fare, and each of these 25 restaurants will create something new and original that the other chefs aren’t, so we’ll have a lot of variety – something for everyone.”
For craft brew lovers, there will also be an additional area for the 3rd Annual Craft Brew Battle: A Hoppy Affair, along with a Vineyard, a Spirits and BBQ Village, and a Sweet Endings Village. In addition, there will be the two newest villages – the Craft Brew, Fine Wine & Artisanal Cheese Village and the Specialty Foods Village, Retail and Business Shopping Bazaar, as well as the festival’s new wine store.
“We’ll have some favorite craft beer vendors along with a whole batch of new wines,” says Spadaccini. “90 percent of the wines will be ones that haven’t been in the festival before.”
Premier vintners will offer tastings of some of the worl’ds finest varietals of wine.
One of the biggest draws of the festival is the Artisanal Cheese Village, which was first introduced two years ago after Spadaccini traveled to Australia and saw a similar set-up at another food festival, a draw Spadaccini believes is due to the fact that customers like to sample cheeses before purchasing them in case they end up disliking it.
“Everyone seems to gravitate towards the cheese village. It gets more and more popular each year, so we keep enhancing it. This year, we’ll have an even bigger variety of cheeses that will be paired with different meats, crackers, beer, and wine,” says Spadaccini. “We’ll have 10 stations of different combos, and each will have a wide variety of flavors and options.”
If you’re interested in stopping by and sampling some delicious cuisine, tickets cost $100 (and include all food, wine, beer, and spirit tastings) and can be purchased here.