Thanksgiving is just around the corner, thus signaling the beginning of the food frenzy that lasts until New Year’s Day. And while every year your goal might be to not overdo it, a true foodie doesn’t even have those thoughts in their realm of consciousness.
So if your attitude is “Game on!” here are a wealth of foodie-licious events going on this season, as well as a few taking place in the beginning of next year, so you can plan accordingly to get the most nibbles for your travel dollar. Bon appétit and cheers!
Nov. 29-Dec. 1 2013
Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the country, particularly in the fall, so it’s no wonder that the Willamette Valley Wine Country Thanksgiving is an annual holiday hit. During this two-day event, over 160 wineries open their doors for a come-one-come-all celebration of the year’s grape harvest. Food pairings, special tastings, live music, holiday gift ideas, discounts and more are part of the fun. Youngberg Hill, Tyee Wine Cellars, Alexana Estate Vineyard &Winery, Seufert Winery, Dukes Family Vineyards, Arborbrook Vineyards and Honeywood Winery are among the numerous prestigious vintners welcoming you into their “homes” this Thanksgiving season. 503-646-2985, willamettewines.com
“All things epicurean” is the backdrop for the annual Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival in Palm Beach, Fla. Recognized as one of the nation’s premier culinary festivals, the event highlights over 50 of the world’s brightest culinary talents—who bring their unique and innovative ingredients, menus and other culinary creations together, adding them to the flavor and flair of a wide array of mixologists and winemakers—to create some of the most fabulous tastings, receptions and multicourse dinners. An added “appetizer” for attendees is knowing that their contributions make a difference for several charities that will receive all net proceeds from the event through the organization Chefs Dish Back. 561-389-1222, www.pbfoodwinefest.com
Who wouldn’t want to jet down to the Cayman Islands this winter? Well, you have even more reason to go knowing that you can celebrate the food, flavors and excitement of the island during the annual Cayman Cookout. Here, host Chef Eric Ripert will be joined by culinary chefs and personalities including Lidia Bastianich, Anthony Bourdain, Vidyadhara Shetty, José Andrés, Rick Bayless and others for the Caribbean’s biggest culinary event. 345-949-0623, www.caymancookout.com
Eat. Drink. Ski. Sounds good to me, except that it has been about 20 years since I last hit the slopes. But the latter is not a requirement in order to enjoy the Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend, hosted by venerable culinary magazine Food & Wine in magnificent Beaver Creek, Colo. For four days, foodies from across the country will mix and mingle with some of the country’s top culinary talent during a variety of events, including, of course, gourmet wine pairing dinners, interactive cooking demonstrations, an “ultimate Rocky Mountain luau,” a special ski race brunch and more. 800-226-0355, www.beavercreek.com
Feb. 28-March 16
Australia is one of the many countries on my travel bucket list, so I think the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is good enough reason to accelerate my plans to visit this spectacular place. Australia’s cultural capital has hosted this 20-day festival for 20 years, a showcase of the continent’s culinary mastery through cooking demonstrations, special tours and food tastings throughout the city. Meet celebrity chefs and artisan food crafters, go to gala dinners and discover Down Under’s most fantastic flavors.www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
Also presented by Food & Wine magazine, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival is one of the nation’s most popular food festivals of the year. Intimate dinners, late-night parties, grand tastings and demonstrations, amazing lunches and brunches—the list goes on and on, highlighted by the some of the most recognized culinary talents, including Bobby Deen, Ariel Acosta-Rubio, Spike Mendelsohn, Miguel Aguilar, Suzanne Battle, Tony Velazquez and April Bloomfield among dozens of others. 877-762-3933, www.sobefest.com.
Join Chefs Paulina Abascal, Daniel Boulud and Guillermo Gonzalez B. at this year’s Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival for exceptional wine and spirits tastings, a tasting village, interactive cooking challenges, and if you can get on the A-list, a series of special events, including a sunset catamaran cruise and private island dinner! All of this takes place against the awe-inspiring backdrop of Cancun and the Riviera Maya in Mexico. www.crmfest.com
Food & Wine magazine doesn’t mess around. They are yet again presenting another fabulous culinary event, the seventh annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival. Check out their description: “Pebble Beach Food & Wine is the premier epicurean lifestyle event on the West Coast, matching 250 acclaimed wineries and 75 celebrity chefs to create a hedonistic four-day destination on one of the most picturesque strips of coastline in the world.” Previous guest chefs have included Jose Garces, Masaharu Morimoto, Anne Burrell, Dean Fearing, Tyler Florence, Christopher Kostow, Guy Fieri and Carla Hall, just to name a few. Sign me up and let the culinary hedonism begin! 866-907-3663, www.pbfw.com
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.