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Calling All Food Enthusiasts: 9 Mega Festivals to Plan for Now

December 13, 2018

Are you tired of promising to live a more adventurous foodie life in the new year but keep eating the same stuff, at the same restaurants every year?

Does that line read like an infomercial?

Read this entire post, if you answered “Yes” and save this post to read later if you answered “No.”

Either way, stay tuned!


I put together a super-duper fly list of all the food-centric events worth packing a bag for a  weekend getaway.

And you know I only want the best for you; meaning an up-close and personal with some of the tastiest food crafted from some of the most bangin’, decorated –and equally respected– chefs in the country.

Does that sound all right to you?

I must warn you: it may cost you a little, or it may cost you a lot but know it’s going to cost you.

These events represent some of the most eclectic, established and highly-lauded food events in the country, but trust me you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

Now prepare your wallet to have the best time of your life and keep reading!

1. South Beach  Wine and Food Festival 


Where: South Beach Miami, Florida (Various Locations)

When:  February 20-24th, 2019

+21 Crowd Few Events for All Ages

What Can You Look Forward To? 

Tan lines with your delicious bites.


South Beach Wine and Food Festival has over 100 events running with the usual suspects: grand tastings, demos, dinner series and so much more.

Examples of some of the events you can attend:

Miami Beach Signature Events 

Tacos After Dark hosted by Michael Symon of “Burgers, Brew & Que.”

Southern Kitchen Brunch hosted by Trisha Yearwood

BARCARDI’s Beach Carnival hosted by Andrew Zimmerman


$100 and Under Events 

Mangia! A Taste of Italy After Dark hosted by Marc Murphy

Bootcamp & Bites hosted by Robert Irvine

Rosé Pool Party hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian (Commonly seen on Chopped)
Intimate Dinners 
Dinner hosted by Nina Compton, Eduardo Jordan, Dolester Miles and John Kunkel
Cristal Dinner hosted by Xavier Barlier, Guillaume Goupil, Pascal Hainigue & Laëtitia Rouabah
Dinner hosted by Aaron Sanchez and Richard Sandoval
Brunches + Lunches 
From Harlem to Overtown Brunch hosted by Marcus Samuelsson
Master Class & Lunch hosted by Hy Vong and Norman Van Aken
Lunch hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Gilles Epié
Plus, Trades & Seminars, Fitness, Family Fun, and Bal Harbor Villages events. There’s so much to choose, try not to get overwhelmed.

Can’t make it to Miami?

Food Network and Cooking Channel host, a sister event in New York City, going down later in the year, keep scrolling!


2. Charleston Wine and Food Festival


Where: Charleston, SC (Various Locations)

When:  March 6-10th, 2019

+21 Crowd

Charleston is coming up on the food scene in a big way! Charleston’s Wine + Food Festival is vibrant in all its Southern glory, filled with hospitality and well-being centric courses.

This event is selling out now! Tickets started going on sale on August 29th, with a full preview of the schedule on the 28th.

So just an FYI, for 2020; plan to buy tickets six months in advance.

However, there are a few events still open for you to take advantage of in a weekend dedicated to total fulfillment.


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What Can You Look Forward To?

Charleston Wine + Food Festival is catering to all of your needs with the following event types:


Culinary Village 

Culinary Village opens on the Friday of the festival week in Marion Square and is considered to be the “heart + soul” of the festival.

In other words, check in here first for kick off.  The events carry on through Sunday and include (but is not limited to) five hours of continuous tasting, sipping, chef demos, live music, retail therapy and a boatload more.


Signature Events 

These are events meant to revitalize the soul and come varied in size, concept, and identity. Signature events give the guest an unusual experience of food and wine taking place in venues along some of the most scenic addresses in Charleston.

These events are said to “offer an experience rooted in our [Charleston’s] local culinary heritage.”

Signature Dinners

If you’re looking for an intimate, exclusive dining experience in a few of Charleston’s most beloved dining rooms, this will scratch that itch.

You and your accompaniments will revel in food prepared by a distinguished guest chef along with expert beverage pairings for a one-night-only, multi-course dining adventure touching on all the senses.

Beverage Workshops 

Come to learn and to drink and be comforted in an intimate experience of wine, beer, and cocktails.

These workshops are not only a treat, but give the guest an informative base to learn from beverage professionals from all over the globe.

Brunches + Lunches 

Who doesn’t love a good brunch, and who doesn’t enjoy a second lunch? Brunching is an integral part of the food culture and practiced like a religion. Charleston Food and Wine Festival hosts several different restaurants and venues around Charleston with specially curated menus and of course, drinks!



Like the beverage workshops, the trips are meant to be insightful and a platform for education. The tour is intended to educate guest on all the charm of Charleston’s cuisine.


Hands-On Classes

You see the chefs, but maybe you want to be the chef, at least for a day.  Or perhaps you want a day of relaxation; all are found in the hands-on classes guided by experts, chefs and artisans alike.


3. ATL Food and Wine Festival


Where: Midtown Atlanta, GA (Various Locations)

When:  May 30-June 2nd, 2019

+21 Crowd

What’s not to love about ATL? Kicking off towards the tail-end of Spring go back to your Southern Roots for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival where — if you haven’t guessed– you can taste some of the best the South has to offer from award-winning chefs and tastemakers.

ATL Food and Wine Festival hasn’t released there 2019 schedule, but if you peruse around the 2018 site, you’ll see the event is boasting with talent and plenty of events to suit everyone’s needs.


What Can You Look Forward To?

Tickets types expected to be available for purchase:

Day Passes

Multi-Day Passes

Connoisseur Passes

Tasting Tents

Master Studios

Connoisseur Dinner Series

Make sure to subscribe to the ATL Food & Wine  Festival Subscription list to stay updated on a festival schedule, and events.



4. Feast Portland


Where: Portland, OR (Various Locations)

When:  September 12-15th, 2019

+21 Crowd


Have you traveled to Portland yet? Are you aware of how huge of a food destination Portland is becoming?

If you haven’t dipped your feet in yet, Feast Portland is the event you want.

All you need is a 3-day weekend to explore Feast Portland’s impressive talent and Portland’s culinary landscape in a way that is inspiring, personable and creative.

What Can You Look Forward To?

Feast Portland offers grand tastings, brunches, panels, and casual parties throughout the weekend as well as intimate dinner series. Having traveled to Portland for this event, skip the grand tasting and go for the jugular, the dinner series. 


While the event is excellent and covers all bases, I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t encourage you to make a small list of other restaurants to visit in the area.

I wrote about my fantastic experience at Mother’s –a must-stop, highly-recommended spot– and my boyfriend and I are still raving about it.

Portland’s food scene is booming.

There’s so much food to eat with so little time.


5. Chicago Gourmet presented by Bon Appetit


Where: Chicago, IL (Various Locations)

When:  September 27-29th, 2019

+21 Crowd

Chi-town baby! Are you ready?

Chicago Gourmet is all about the celebration of the Windy City’s best food and wine in a highly interactive event with some of the most notable faces in the culinary industry.

A limited number of tickets were up for sale during the weekend of Black Friday.

However, tickets are expected to relaunch for sale in the Spring of 2019 per the website.

What Can You Look Forward To?

The options are limitless with four types of tickets for sale; you can purchase:

Main Event Tickets

Main event tickets include two stages with live cooking demos, two spaces featuring expert seminars, gourmet tasting, and more.

Grand Cru Tickets 

The Grand Cru Tickets are for attendees seeking an exclusive experience with some of the best wines and food tastings from some of the prized chefs.

Along with a fantastic experience, is the opportunity to rub elbows with master sommeliers and winery representatives who will be in attendance presenting and discussing selections.


Hamburger Hop Tickets 

If you’re looking for a little entertainment in the name of food competition, you’ll be satisfied with the Hamburger Hop where top chefs battle in a winner-takes-all burger competition and patrons enjoy a juicy gourmet burger and, of course, beer, wine, spirits and more.

Then to cap off the night, a celebrity panel of judges will determine who deserves the city’s best burger, and the attends weigh-in for a people’s choice.

The Late Night Gourmet 

Do you like your parties and food in limbo?

Then you need a ticket to the official after-party of Friday’s Hamburger Hop.

You dance in the melodies of music from one of Chicago’s hottest DJs, eat more and drink right alongside Chicago Gourmet chefs, sommeliers, and other tastemakers.

For more information on these events and FAQ check here.



6. UnCork’d Las Vegas presented by Bon Appetit


Where: Las Vegas, NV (Various Locations)

When:  TBD

+21 Crowd

Image result for vegas uncork'd

Uncork’d is all about flashy food, prominent personalities and a whole lot of spectacular going on.

After all, we are talking about Las Vegas.

Does Gordon Ramsay sound familiar?  Christina Tosi? Freakin’ Bobby Flay? Cake Master Buddy Valastro?

At Uncork’d you can hang out with the chef squad and — cliche coming!– Much more.

What Can You Look Forward To?

Master Classes with some heavyweights in the culinary industry. ,

Uncork’d 2018 listed Multi-Michelin awarded Chef/TV Personality Gordon Ramsay (Does “Where’s the lamb intended?“,  Hell’s Kitchen, or Masterchef, ring a bell?) hosting a Master Series in Hell’s Kitchen

He appropriately served infamous dishes such as beef wellington and scallops, paired with carefully crafted cocktails.

Other Master Series and Intimate Events included:

A Master Series celebrating the success and continuance of “five successful years of one of the largest Nobu Restaurants in the world,” located inside the very first Nobu Hotel with legendary Chef  Nobu Matsuhisa.

Master Series: Women’s Power Lunch and Conversation put guest up close and personal with some of the most highly-respected women in the industry including Christina Tosi, Elizabeth Blau, Saipin Chutima, Nicole Brisson. 

Not interested in a Master Series and want to be seen and mingle with your comrades?

An event you can be sure to count on in 2019 is Vegas Uncork’d’s nighttime signature event, the Grand Tasting  where last year plus 2,500 food enthusiast indulged in delicious preparations from the world’s most renowned chefs in all the glitz and glam of the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

And you can bet your last it’s only going to blow up from there.

With the return of award-winning chefs gassing up the stoves and more of the best wines and spirits you could ever put your lips too, you’ll want to put your fingerprints on everything.

What do you have to lose?

Maybe  3K, but oh the memories you’ll make.

If you can swing it, start planning your trip now!




7. New York City Wine and Food Festival


Where: NYC, NY (Various Locations)

When: (UPDATE 01/10) October 10 – 13, 2019

+21 Crowd


The New York City Wine and Food Festival has something for everybody and every budget, like the Miami version.

With over 80 events, the NYCWWF is the largest food and wine festival in New York City.

The weekend is expected to spilleth over with loads of entertainment and appearances from world-renowned chefs, culinary personalities, entertainers and spirit producers and every favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel stars.

What Can You Look Forward To?

The festival brings together thousands of food enthusiast from all over to the following event types:

Dinner Series, Grand Tasting, Culinary Demos, Signature Rooftop Parties, Brunches, Late Night Parties, Cocktails and Spirits, Family, Hands-On Classes and Panels and Trade.

NYCWWF takes pride in having an offering for everyone’s price level.

Whether you have thousands to spend or less than $100, you can find an event to attend especially with a category dedicated to events that are less than $100.


8. Emporiyum


Where:  D.C.  + Baltimore

When: TBD (Check Back for Updates) 

+21 Crowd

Emporiyum is a smaller event, filled with vendors and charismatic eats booming with plenty of food lovers.

What I loved most about Emporiyum is the option to purchase full-sized entrees. The prices we’re appropriate and the various vendors made me want to split my stomach open and implant a larger one so I could indulge more (after three vendors I tapped out)

The venue hummed with enthusiasm and celebrated food purveyors, artisans, and bites from all around the country in one location; a quality I much appreciated.

While the food here is less contemporary, creativity doesn’t cease to exist. The food is fun, inventive and of course, packed with all the foodgasm one can handle in a 1-2 hr window.

What I loved, even more, is not having to pay an all-inclusive entry fee. While this may seem like a good deal with some venues, sometimes — excuse my frankness– it can screw you and not in the way anyone likes.

For around $30, you can surely have your Swizzler dog and a cone of ice cream too, topped with a donut also. 

What Can You Look Forward To?

Spending money on noms you won’t plead temporary insanity over later, a bloated stomach, split denim and not eating for the rest of the day.

9. Taste of Soul LA


Where: Los Angeles, CA

When: TBD

All Ages

Related image 

Sprawled along Historic Crenshaw Blvd. , Taste of Soul LA is a one-day event catering to the love of street food from vendors serving cuisines–as seen this year– such as African, Carribean, American and Creole Soule.

Arguably the most abundant food festival in LA; an article published by Eater LA described Taste of Soul as being “LA’s Biggest Street Food Festival”.


What Can I Look Forward To?


Taste of Soul isn’t all about food; the entertainment is lined up to last the entirety of the festival.

DJ B-Hen graced 2018 Hyundai Sound Stage as did Roland Martin, 90’s R&B sensation Ginuwine and Chante Moore; Jussie Smollet, Star Quest winners and Sister Sledge to name a few made waves on 94.8 Soundwave.

Then there’s the KJLH Stage, McDonald’s Gospel Stage, Children’s Zone and a Budweiser Beer Garden.

The entertainment was as plentiful as the food.

You can get in free, eat all day and dance the night away in the company of friends.


That’s all from me, and I am so excited for you guys to get out there and indulge in a life you love.

Traveling is a beautiful thing, and the more you step out of your comfort zone and just go somewhere already the more you’ll see what life is all about!

It’s been a dream of mine to travel writing about food, and with the encouragement from family and close friends, I took my first foodie trip to Portland for Feast Portland this past September!

Before my mom died, we always said one day we would take a summer and travel around the country eating.

Though I’m not quite there yet I know, I’m honoring her memory by seeking out my most passionate life.

I urge you to do the same!

Whether you’re an aspiring food writer, or just love to eat, get out of your city and live your best life!



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Asiah G.

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