Wine isn’t the only star center stage at South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. Foodies will delight in the delicious dishes harvested from local fields and farms and thoughtfully prepared by local chefs and nationally known food artisans. Every menu item down to the smallest bite has been specially designed to pair with the impressive roster of imported and domestic wines being poured during this festive four-day fete.
April 28 through May 1, wine and food lovers will sip, swirl … and nibble … their way through the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, located within the beach communities of idyllic South Walton in Northwest Florida.
This year the Savor South Walton Culinary Village expands to include four convenient “Nosh Pavilions” peppered along the Boulevard and mixed into the wine tasting tents.
Overseeing the ever-expanding Culinary Village is seasoned local chef Gary Serafin of The Wine Bar and The Craft Bar. After more than 40 years in the food and beverage industry, Serafin still enjoys the art of well-catered events, and relishes his role of culinary director of South Walton’s largest wine event.
“I don’t think there’s anything more satisfying,” Serafin says. “Aren’t the best times of our lives those that involve food and wine?”
After reviewing the wines, Serafin has designed a delicious menu of dishes to complement them. “We approach this event as a food and wine experience, so whether you prefer white or red wine, we will have a variety of foods — vegetarian, meats and seafood — to try to have something everyone will enjoy,” he says.
In addition to traditional food favorites, Serafin always present something new each year to keep the Festival menu “unexpected and exciting.” Three such dishes are a Penne Pasta Primavera with a medley of fresh spring vegetables, herbs and extra virgin olive oil; a classic French Duck and Sausage Cassoulet and Shrimp and Jamon Morunos — savory skewers of fresh marinated Gulf shrimp and Spanish ham.
The Festival welcomes Chef Ted Morrison and his team from Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa who will serve up a refreshing palate reset with their house made cantaloupe sorbet from Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill.
South Walton’s Chef Kevin Korman of Caliza Restaurant in Alys Beach will headline one of the new Nosh Pavilions, nestled among the dozens of wine tents on the Boulevard. Chef Korman will prepare and serve snapper ceviche and smoke shrimp and crushed avocado on pumpernickel bread.
ANCO Fine Cheeses, one of the largest importers of specialty cheeses in the United States, returns with a variety of tasty artisan cheeses that pair so well with wine. Rounding out the tasting menu is a sampling of Marconi almonds, dried fruits, assorted charcuterie and other petite bites.
Also back by popular demand are the artfully inspired and award-winning sushi creations of Yoshi Eddings of Harbor Docks in Destin. Chef Yoshi is a local institution, having trained dozens of sushi chefs during her illustrious career which includes making sushi on numerous high profile movie sets and rubbing elbows with movie and music stars.
Another perfect palate cleanser is found in the ResortQuest tent: garden fresh green salads with fresh cracked black pepper drizzled with gourmet olive oils and topped with Parmesan harvested from the organic gardens of Mac Farms located in Santa Rosa Beach.
For the first time the Festival welcomes an assortment of hand crafted cheeses by guest cheese maker of Sweet Grass Dairy of Thomasville, Georgia. Another sweet new addition is South Walton’s Honey Hutch serving homemade local honey.
And fresh baked crusty baguettes are courtesy of the Festival’s newest sponsor, Publix Grocery.
Foodies can also tuck into a series of four 45-minute tasting seminars also held within the Culinary Village on Saturday and Sunday. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is the presenting sponsor of the festival’s tasting seminars.
South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival will showcase more than 800 domestic and imported wines, 216 of which earned medals from a panel of 24 industry judges during a blind tasting in January. In addition to two days of tastings and seminars, wine lovers will be treated to live entertainment and special features such as Champagne Lane, featuring floating bubbles and dozens of Champagnes and sparkling wines.
Presented with support from Visit South Walton and Wine Enthusiast magazine, South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is made possible by the generous support of the following Founding Partners: Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, Visit South Walton Tourist Development Council, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, Wine World of Northwest Florida and Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
The event is rain or shine; sorry pets are not allowed in Culinary Village. To purchase tickets and view the full festival schedule visit www.SoWalWine.com.
About South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival: This year’s annual South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival will be held April 28-May 1, 2016 throughout the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The festival features a stunning showcase of the best wines the world has to offer. Celebrity wine producers and chefs present fine wine and food pairings from the world’s most famous appellations. The Savor South Walton Culinary Village offers a sumptuous array of foods to taste, wines to pair, as well as wine and food tasting seminars and live entertainment. The event is a major fundraiser for Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, which benefits children in need in Northwest Florida. For more information, including a list of attending winemakers and to purchase tickets, visit www.SoWalWine.com.
Photos: South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival