Florida’s Fall Flavors
By Georgina Cruz
Each year, “the table is set” in Florida with a bounty of food and wine festivals. These festivals tempt residents and visitors alike with goodies for foodies. Here are some events taking place from mid-August to mid-November in various popular destinations, including some in, or near the Treasure Coast. Those who would like to bring a big appetite to some –or all—of these fairs can visit each festival’s website for additional practical information.
- Key West – The 21st Annual Key West Lobsterfest is a Crustacean Celebration on Aug. 10-13 that celebrates the start of the Florida Keys’ lobster season. Highlights include a street fair with lobster-inspired culinary delights, a lobster boil, a free concert and lobster brunch. Info:http://www.keywestlobsterfest.com/.
- The two-day Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, Oct. 27-28, offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 50 stations featuring culinary selections from the resort’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The event also includes hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts. For the first time in its eight years, the event will offer a grand tasting experience led by a master sommelier. The tasting will feature wines from the Italian regions of Barolo and Barbaresco and highlight the Nebbiolo grape of northern Italy. Leading the experience will be Master Sommelier Matthew Citriglia, one of only 149 master sommeliers in the Americas. Info: www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com.
Lake Buena Vista – The 35th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will offer demonstrations, seminars and 35 kiosks including marketplaces showcasing flavors from India, Spain and Thailand as well as dishes from various parts of the world at the Walt Disney World Resort Aug. 31-Nov. 13. Eat to the Beat! concerts presented by a variety of bands keep the party rockin’. Info: www.epcotfoodfestival.com.
- Sebastian – Sebastian’s Annual Clambake benefits charity on Nov. 3-5. The event, at Riverview Park, features music, crafts, historic reenactments, children’s zone, and booths offering fresh seafood. Info: http://www.sebastianclambake.com/.
- The 40th Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival treats taste buds to a variety of dishes from carefully selected food vendors Sept. 29-Oct. 1. Visitors can enjoy foods such as grilled conch, seafood gumbo, oyster croquettes, soft shell crab, coconut shrimp, Caribbean crab cakes, and more. With more than 130 arts and crafts vendors, the Pensacola Seafood Festival is also one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in Northwest Florida. Also on the agenda are live music, cooking demonstrations, a 5K run/walk, a cost-friendly children’s area. Info: www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.
- St. Augustine – The 20th Annual Greek Festival. It is sponsored by Holy Trinity Greek Church. The festival will showcase the aromas and flavors of freshly prepared Greek food and pastries on Oct. 13-15. Costumed dancers will perform to the music of a live Greek band. A portion of the proceeds benefits charities each year. Info: www.stauggreekfest.com.
- Jensen Beach – The 30th Pineapple Festival will showcase arts and crafts, concerts, midway rides, a Bahamian market and lots of juicy pineapples in downtown Jensen Beach, the “Pineapple Capital of the World,” on Nov. 17-19. Info: https://www.facebook.com/pineapplefestival.
- Apalachicola – The 54th Annual Florida Seafood Festival in Apalachicola, one of Florida’s oldest, serves up seafood, arts and crafts exhibits, seafood related events, and musical entertainment on Nov. 3-4. Highlights include oyster eating and oyster shucking contest, blue crab races, cooking contest, parade, 5k Redfish Run and The Blessing of the Fleet. Info: www.floridaseafoodfestival.com.