By Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent Ana Mantica
What do you get when you combine Miami’s sun, sand and surf with an impressive lineup of celebrity chefs, endless tables of gourmet food and scores of fine wine? The perfect recipe for another knockout Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF).
Back for its 16th year, SOBEWFF (February 22 to 26) is rolling out more than 90 events from South Beach to Coral Gables and north up to Fort Lauderdale, including tastings, intimate dinners, seminars, live cooking demos and late-night parties.
To make the most of your gastronomic affair, here is everything you need to know about what to expect, what to taste and see, and where to stay.
What to know
While parking is available, it is quite limited, so you may be better off taking a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber. For Grand Tasting Village ticket holders, there’s a free park-n-ride option with shuttle service to and from festival parking in downtown Miami (NE Eighth Street between NE First Avenue and NE Second Avenue) and drop-off/pick-up at 13th Avenue and Collins on South Beach.
Considering you’ll be on the sand, you’ll want to pack appropriate footwear. And since Miami weather can be unpredictable, sunblock and a small umbrella are always good to have on hand.
Insider tip: Because all events start on time, avoid being tardy so that you don’t miss a bite. Before you head out the door, double check that you have your tickets and a valid ID for proof of age.
What to taste and see
The parties continue late into the night throughout the weekend. If you’re around on Thursday, head to the rooftop Food & Wine Kick Off After Party at The Langford Hotel’s Pawn Broker bar in downtown Miami (February 23, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.). On Friday, relive your ramen-noodle-eating college days at Late Night Ramen at Pubbelly Sushi, Miami Beach with chef Richie Nakano (February 24, 12 to 3 a.m.).