Scores of tasty reasons pair wine and food lovers together with the Upper Keys' annual "Uncorked: the Key Largo and Islamorada Food and Wine Festival," an 11-day culinary extravaganza set for Thursday, Jan. 5, through Sunday, Jan. 15.
Cuisine-conscious visitors can explore the flavorful tastes of two Upper Keys areas during the food, wine and spirits celebration that this year boasts over 40 foodie events at venues that stretch from mile marker 107.9 to mile marker 82.
Events include complimentary beer and spirits tastings, a progressive "Dine Around Town" gourmet dinner, a back-by-popular-demand "Dine in the Dark" multicourse tapas experience, a grape stomping contest, pig roasts and a Spanish paella pairing.
Additionally, a popular junior chocolatiers cooking class is to be held with the Keys' only chocolatier at the Key Largo Chocolates emporium, and multiple Sunday brunch opportunities also are planned as part of the Uncorked festival's food and wine festivities.
A repeat appearance by chef, restaurateur and author Tony Leck from Guernsey in the British Channel Islands is also planned as part of the festival's International Celebrity Chef exchange, showcasing a champagne reception and four-course, gourmet dinner and wine pairing alongside chef Andy Niedenthal at the Islander Resort, A Guy Harvey Outpost, at MM 82.1.
The festival's largest event, the signature outdoor "Grand Tasting," is set for Saturday, Jan. 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Islamorada's Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina at Holiday Isle. Attendees can sample signature dishes from numerous area restaurants, complemented by an impressive selection of wines. Live music, cooking and mixology demonstrations and cocktail tastings round out the afternoon on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
General admission tickets are $65 (plus tax) per person, in advance, and $75 at the gate. VIP tickets are available that allow early entry at 11 a.m. and a VIP hour until noon for $90 (plus tax). The VIP package includes a souvenir T-shirt, tasting glass and gift bag with a 2017 cookbook featuring Keys chefs' recipes.
Event information is at floridakeysuncorked.com