South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival Elevates & Expands Culinary Village Showcasing Premier Restaurants, Food Artisans and Seasoned Chefs

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March 22, 2017
Wine, charity and fun converge during Northwest Florida Beaches Ultimate Wine Week
 
Miramar Beach, Florida (March 22, 2017) – Wine is best paired with … fabulous food! And thanks to an elevated culinary experience at the 2017 South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival, foodies soon will delight in delicious bites thoughtfully prepared by local chefs and nationally known food artisans.
 
April 27 - 30, 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.
 
There are several opportunities to tuck into the Festival’s culinary scene beginning with Friday night’s Craft Beer & Spirits Jam serving up small plates prepared by local favorites on EATS Street. Featured restaurants and eateries include Roux 30A, Cantina Laredo Modern Mexican, Cabana Café, Another Broken Egg Café, Crepe La Rus, The Craft Bar and more.
 
At the Saturday VIP Tasting delectable dishes prepared by signature restaurants from Grand Boulevard are featured including Cantina Laredo Modern Mexican Food, Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar, Mitchell’s Fish Market, P.F. Chang’s, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria and Everkrisp.
 
During the Saturday and Sunday Grand Tastings, Festival-goers can enjoy small plates and bites throughout Savor South Walton Culinary Village as well as five delicious “Nosh Pavilions” peppered along the Boulevard, each showcasing a notable area celebrity chef.
 
Overseeing the ever-expanding Savor South Walton Culinary Village is Pensacola native Scott Plumley, 42, culinary director of Wine World, The Craft Bar and The Wine Bar. With 25 years in the food and beverage industry, Plumley is elated to lead the culinary vision for South Walton’s largest wine event for the first time this year.
 
“My approach is to serve simple dishes with complex flavors,” Plumley says. “This year we are pairing to an Italian theme. The wines are bright and crisp and sit on your palate, so we have prepared dishes with flavors that will cut through, but also complement.”
 
Not only are the foods well paired with Festival wines, but Plumley also has designed a menu with the event experience in mind. “It’s a festival, so most dishes will be easy to eat in one bite. Everything will be light, fresh with heartier dishes designed to help those absorbing alcohol,” he says.
 
Plumley has created four dishes: Alabama Goat Cheese Fritters with San Marzano Tomato Sauce; Cavatelli with Pork Ragu, Tuscan Kale, Parmesan and Lemon Breadcrumbs; Spicy Lamb Meatballs with Italian Salsa Verde and Dirty Risotto “Jambalaya.”

As part of an elevated culinary experience, two of Plumley’s dishes will be prepared as live demonstrations. “The food experience will be a lot of fun in the Culinary Village, the Cavatelli and the Risotto will be finished and plated live on site, which is always exciting,” he says.

A perfect palate cleanser is found in the ResortQuest tent: garden fresh seasonal green salads harvested from the organic gardens of Mac Farms located in Santa Rosa Beach atop freshly baked baguettes drizzled with their house made gourmet olive oils and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.

ANCO Fine Cheeses, one of the largest importers of specialty cheeses in the United States, returns with Marconi almonds, dried fruits, Italian Prosciutto and a variety of tasty aged artisan cheeses including Asiago D’Allevo Vechhio, Parmigiano Reggiano Extra and Provolone Piccante, all of which pair well with wine.

Chef Kevin Korman, who recently opened Roselie Dining & Seafood Bar in South Walton, returns for his second year to bring his fresh, sustainable approach to the Festival’s menu. A chef who enjoys a sense of surprise, Korman will serve up a fresh twist on a Southern favorite with his Shrimp & Grit Fritter served with Tomato & Pepper Jam.

“Shrimp and grits is popular, but I’ll be serving something a little different. Normally the grits are on the bottom and the shrimp is on top, but I’ve made almost a dip with grilled shrimp and finely chopped tomato sofrito. The fritter is made with Anson Mills grits and parmesan cheese and deep fried. It’s crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, and then we have a saucy jam made with roasted pepper, agave syrup and crushed red chili pepper. You just dunk the fritter in the jam, so it’s designed to grab and go.”

Joining the Festival for the first time is Chef Stephen Bucalo of The Hub on 30A. A graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon in 2002, Bucalo traveled the west coast developing his skills in an array of different kitchens, all the while developing a deeper love and respect for food. He comes to South Walton after leadership roles in several of Atlanta’s most acclaimed restaurants including Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Proof and Provision and Livingston Restaurant + Bar.
 
At The Hub, Executive Chef, Stephen Bucalo oversees all seven eateries located within the multi-mix venue that also hosts an amphitheater for live music, 25' LED Jumbotron for sports and movies, faux grass lawn for corn hole, onsite catering and shopping.

Bucalo will be serving smoked chili-lime wings and pickled gulf shrimp ceviche from his Mexican restaurant, Mile Marker Fifteen.
 
The Festival welcomes back 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 Blood Orange sorbet from Barefoot’s Beachside Bar & Grill.
 
Also back by popular demand are the artfully inspired and award-winning sushi creations of Yoshie Eddings of Harbor Docks in Destin. Yoshie and her sushi have been with the festival since the beginning and attendees flock to her tent to watch the master in action.

The fifth Nosh Pavilion is presented by Publix Super Market, returning for the second year. Their popular Pavilion will once again be filled with beautiful and fresh sweet treats from their bakery.

Chef Korman seems to echo the sentiments of all the special culinary guests who say they are thrilled to again take part in a Festival with so much to offer. “This event is more and more food driven, which is wonderful” he says adding. “It’s one of the best wine festivals I’ve ever attended. There’s such a great selection you can easily find new favorites of both wine and food, which is wonderful. There are great vintners, great vendors and great chefs doing some really interesting food — and it’s all for an amazing cause.”

South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival will showcase more than 800 domestic and imported wines, 212 of which earned medals in 71 categories from a panel of 21 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 the Champagne Lane tasting, featuring floating bubbles, tasty treats from Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream and a selection of Champagnes and sparkling wines. Winemaker Laurent Gruet will be featured and pour his sparkling wines from Gruet Winery. Gruet will also present a tasting seminar on Sunday.
Presented by Visit South Walton and Wine Enthusiast Media, the festival offers the ideal backdrop for a beach getaway. South Walton beaches are consistently named among the best beaches in the country.
 
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. ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is the official lodging partner.
 
The Craft Beer & Spirits Jam kicks off the festival Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; the Grand Tastings are on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $35 for Friday; $99 for Saturday and Sunday (tickets include Spirits Row, Champagne Lane, wine and food tastings, seminars and live entertainment); the VIP Tasting is already sold out. Two-day Grand Tasting Passes are available for $175. The Grand Tasting starts at 1 p.m. and 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 27-30, 2017 throughout the Town Center of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The festival features a stunning showcase of more than 800 of the best wines in the world. Meet the celebrity wine producers and master distillers presenting their fine wine and spirits from around the world. The Savor South Walton Culinary Village offers a sumptuous array of foods to taste, wines to pair, as well as popular wine and food tasting seminars. Visit Spirits Row, Champagne Lane and Nosh Pavilions and enjoy entertainment throughout the weekend. The event is a major fundraiser for Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation which benefits children in need in Northwest Florida. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.SoWalWine.com.
 
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Contact:
Stacey Brady, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
stacey@grandboulevard.com, (850) 837-3099 x-203