Creative cuisine, premium wines and unique events in a subtropical island setting are to characterize the third annual Key West Food and Wine Festival, now through Sunday, Jan. 29.
Indoor and outdoor events showcase local chefs’ culinary flair and favorite indigenous ingredients while offering “only in the Keys” experiences.
Attendees whetted their appetites at a barefoot evening beach party Thursday, Jan. 26. Island cuisine, wine and music, but no footwear gathered at the oceanfront Southernmost Beach Café at 1405 Duval St.
Additional festival highlights include Turtles and Sharks and Mermaids, Oh My!, a grand tasting among the undersea denizens at the Key West Aquarium, 1 Whitehead St. Surrounded by live “seafood,” guests can sample fine vintages and offerings from land and sea while enjoying entertainment by “sirens” from Fancy Pants Entertainment. The aquatic affair is set for 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27 — and guests might even get to pet a shark.
Saturday evening, Key West’s renowned Duval Street is to become an appetizing avenue during Duval Uncorked. The mile-long stroll between the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean features a feast for the senses from more than 40 participating restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques.
Florida Keys seafood stars at two festival favorites: a traditional Key West shrimp boil Saturday afternoon at the Hogfish Bar & Grill beside the shrimp docks and Sunday’s Seafood Shakedown culinary competition spotlighting the Keys’ pink shrimp and other bounty of the sea.
The festival also includes “wine around” explorations showcasing foods and libations in Key West’s Bahama Village, Historic Seaport and other neighborhoods. Additional events include an outdoor wine market, a goofy “coconut bowling” tournament and coconut recipe contest, food and wine seminars, the 18th annual Master Chef’s Classic and more.
VIP passes are available covering admission to multiple events, or attendees can purchase tickets for individual events. Festival information: www.keywestfoodandwinefestival.com
In Key West’s 18th annual Master Chefs Classic, top local chefs vie for culinary honors while food-lovers savor their edible entries. The culinary competition is scheduled 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, overlooking Key West Harbor at the Westin Key West Resort and Marina Pier, 245 Front St.
Chefs are to compete for first-, second- and third-place honors in the appetizer, entrée and dessert categories. Attendees at the waterfront event can enjoy tapas-sized meals in all three categories prepared by chefs from more than 15 restaurants.
The celebration of cuisine raises funds for the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens, also called MARC, a nonprofit agency that provides services for developmentally disabled Florida Keys adults.
Only 400 tickets are available for the culinary tasting and competition. Ticket prices begin at $55 per person, and groups of attendees can reserve tables for eight with unlimited premium wine and a wine server for the table. Tickets can be purchased at www.keystix.com.
Event information: www.masterchefsclassic.com/ or 305-294-9526, ext. 25
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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