Fans of fine food and vintages can indulge their appetites for both at the 2018 Key West Food and Wine Festival. Scheduled Jan. 24 to 28, the extravaganza bears the lighthearted slogan “Flip Flops Required” in salute to its island setting.
The annual festival is to feature gourmet galas and tastings, cooking seminars and more that spotlight the region’s culinary scene, talented chefs, indigenous ingredients and multifaceted flavors.
The event’s “first course” is Henry Flagler’s Welcome Party planned for 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 24, on the Atlantic Ocean beach of the Casa Marina Resort, at 1500 Reynolds St. It’s to feature domestic and international wines, hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment against a backdrop of the luxurious hotel conceived by early 20th-century railroad tycoon Henry Flagler.
Jan. 25 events include escorted neighborhood strolls through the Bahama Village and Mallory Square areas, both featuring stops at local emporiums for samples of food and wines.
The festival’s centerpiece event, the Sunset Grand Tasting, is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Reach Resort, 1435 Simonton St. The beachfront soiree blends wines and spirits and casual light bites characteristic of the property’s Spencer’s by the Sea restaurant.
Also that evening, adults can don circus-themed costumes and enjoy the 7 to10 p.m. Cirque du Champagne at the Perry Hotel, 7001 Shrimp Road on Stock Island. Jan. 27’s anticipated highlights include Old Town Uncorked Unhinged, a wine-focused stroll in Key West’s Old Town slated for 2 to5 p.m.; and a paella cookoff staged at and benefiting the Truman Little White House, 111 Front St., where President Harry Truman spent nearly six months while in office.
Among other festival standouts are “immersive” Italian cooking workshops, a tasting and tour aboard the cruise ship Celebrity Equinox, the Bad Ass Brunch Series and a traditional Key West shrimp boil close to the working shrimp docks.
For more festival information and ticketing, go to keywestfoodandwinefestival.com.