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World-famous food festival returns to southern Florida

8 Feb 2013 1:41 PM
World-famous food festival returns to southern Florida

In its 12-year existence, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival has become one of the country's most heavily attended, anxiously awaited and hunger-inducing gatherings in the country. Last year, more than 60,000 guests from around the world came to the event to sample food from more than 150 renowned chefs and drink wines from more than 250 vintners and spirit purveyors. 

This year's incarnation, which will be held between February 21 and 24, looks to be no different. The Food Network, which sponsors the event, has lined up a collection of its most popular personalities - including Paula Deen, Giada De Laurentiis and Guy Fieri, among others - to host seminars, interact with guests and discuss some of their favorite culinary secrets. 

However attractive the star-studded celebrity chef lineup is, the food and drinks will no doubt occupy center stage. More than 60 events are sprinkled throughout the four-day festival. Many of these will allow visitors to experience tastes they are unlikely to encounter in their normal lives - smoked black buck antelope, spicy green papaya salad and barbecued brisket sliders will all be on hand for adventurous diners. If guests develop a taste for these specialties, it will be easy for them to incorporate them into their culinary routines - there are plenty of dishes and ingredients to take home. In fact, nearby residents are likely to return to their Miami or Palm Beach homes weighed down with bags full of some of the event's most popular foods and wines. 

It is the latter of these that will no doubt entice many of South Florida's most devoted wine lovers. Wine and spirit experts will be on hand to discuss - and share - some of the most expensive and rare drinks in the world. Luxury champagne makers, modern mixologists and expert tasters will all explain their crafts and divulge some of their secrets.

Of course, at some point guests will be completely sated by the ample food and drink on hand. Luckily, there are many events that also feature food for thought. A screening of the award-winning sushi documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" and a discussion about sushi and sake hosted by Anthony Bourdain will give guests a new perspective on Japanese cuisine.