Southern California’s mild and cloud-free weather by the Coast provides scenic backdrop for great pictures. Coincidentally, the months from April through October also provides the perfect time line to attend Food and Wine Festivals in Southern California. But with an abundance of these Food and Wine festivals every weekend, which one should you spend your hard earned cash to attend to?
Personally, I have attended many of these “all-inclusive” festivals in which the price of admission includes the food and wine. If you are looking for something a little different than your usual samples of food and wine and call it a day, take a look at the list below for a unique food and wine experience in the price of your ticket.
Newport Beach Wine and Food For all you Top Chef Super Fans, the Newport Beach Wine and Food will make you feel like a VIP at an instant. The three day weekend starts off with “One of a kind” dinners with high caliber chefs known by their first name such as Hubert and this year Nobu. During the weekend at the Grand Tasting, enjoy some of the best wines not available at other wine-fests. Expect exclusive pours from the Hundred Acre Group, Nellcôte, and Freemark Abbey. With glass in hand, pair with on some of the best eats Orange County has to offer from the The Winery and The VACA Group.
Once you’ve made your rounds, relax with newly mingled friends in over-sized couches and enjoy live music between the two grand tasting pavilions. At the cooking stage, members of the audience will be chosen and have an opportunity to cook along side with a Top Chef. Though the price of the ticket isn’t cheap, the exclusive experience to sip on member-only wines and chat with master sommeliers is an experience not to be missed.
Do: Mingle and have a Photo-OP with celebrity chefs.
Don’t: Buy your ticket too late, as it’s quantities are limited.
Located inside the MBS campus, the current home of James Cameron’s Avatar 2, this food festival hosted by The Manhattan Chamber has perfect panoramic photo opportunities with street scenes from New York and Manhattan Beach. Walking down the street surpassing local artists / vendors, you’ll find numerous local Manhattan Beach restaurants along side lots of breweries at this event. Though there are a few wine booths, do make sure you hit up the Home Brew Booth.
But the most spectacular and unique experience that set it apart from other food festivals is the seated beer and wine pairing provided by Lisa’s Bon Appetit catering pairing with Absolution beer. Led by Executive Chef Oscar Gonzales and his culinary team, the sit down, four-course tasting along with Absolution pours is a must if you are looking for an added personal touch.
Do: Take a ride on an electric EV3 shuttle back to your car.
Don’t: Miss out on the Homebrew booth.
Pacific Wine and Food Classic-Situated on the sand of Newport Dune’s Resort, the Pacific Wine and Food experience exemplifies that of the coastal lifestyle. Munch on raw oysters from Baja Shell Fish Farms and enjoy Torch Hamachi with Truffle Emulsion from Taps Fish House. Walk through the sun-filled sand and sit by the DCS Paykel Stage to learn tips from celebrity chefs and mixologists. If you are lucky to purchase to VIP ticket, a special enclosed pavillion with Patron drinks and popsicles awaits.
Do: Come here with Flip Flops
Don’t: Buy the GA Admission ticket and miss out on Patron fruit and tequila Popbars
In a word, “LOCAL”. One of the best most relaxed food festivals with a neighborhood vibe. See festival goers bring their own foldable chairs, summer hats, and gathering of friends to enjoy the sun, bites from local Huntington Restaurants, listen to live local Rock music, and views of iconic VW bus on display. In addition, you’ll be able to bid on silent auction and vote for your favorite local restaurants. The winners hold bragging rights for another year and this event is the perfect place for the local restaurant to be discovered. Lots of great craft beer choices, more than the wineries.
Do: Bring foldable chairs to enjoy the tunes from the live band.
Don’t: Miss the free covered parking a short walk away and skip the $5 valet.
If food festivals and Dinner En Blanc had a kid together, it would certainly become White Light White Night. The annual summer fundraiser hosted by Walk With Sally, raises money for kids mentoring programs. The white signifies a celebration of hope, healing, and to everyone who has to battle cancer. You’ll find one of a kind Silent Auction items donated from musicians and stars. Speaking of stars, past celebrities include Lindsey Godfrey and Dean Winters and musical guests past year featured Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray. But the REAL celebrities are the mentors who help support the children facing the family environment undergoing cancer.
Do: Bid on silent auction for a great cause
Don’t: Wear Black
So if you want something a little more than the ordinary, consider these food festivals above. What are some of your favorites? Please let us know if we missed any.