Over the last two weeks Delray Beach and Boca Raton have hosted a series of food fests.

While South Floridians can be a spoiled group, we are big charity givers, and if a charity has a food and wine component, we are there.

It all began with the 10th Annual Boca Bacchanal, a three-day celebration of superior food and wine. The vintner dinners marked the first, star-struck night of the event. The dinner featured visiting vintners like Tom Johnson from Silver Oak Cellars, Clarke Swanson from Swanson Vineyards, and Laurent Drouhin from Maison Joseph Drouhin.

Top award-winning chefs flew in from around the country to participate, like Ken Frank from La Toque in Napa, the Jacinto brothers with two California kitchens, and Carlos Guia from Wynn Las Vegas.

I have not included them all, but I’m sure you can almost smell the food and wines that were served in the most beautiful, private locations in Boca and Delray. There was impeccable service, personal attention, and education from both the visiting vintner as well as the star chef.

The Bacchus Bash was held the second night at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The vintners and the chefs once again shared the fruits of their labor with more food and wine…and an auction.

The fun did not stop until 3:00 p.m. on Sunday when the Grand Tasting, the best community picnic, was held at Mizner Park. The amphitheatre closed to showcase 30 amazing local restaurants and even more varieties of wine.  

If you love food and wine, one (or all) of these days should have been on your calendar. The special anniversary of this event may have been the best of them all. If you were not there you really missed a great weekend!

Boca Bacchanal benefits the educational programs of the Boca Raton Historical Society.

If that weekend did not satiate our palates, Savor the Avenue was held in Delray Beach on the following Thursday.

More than 1,000 diners enjoyed gourmet dinners from 18 participating Delray Beach restaurants with wine from Rutherford Wine Company and cocktails from Xanté Spirit  (a pear-based cognac).

The restaurants’ competitive juices kicked in and one chef attempted to outdo another with creative menus and personalized table settings.

Dining under the stars, on a beautiful night, at Florida’s longest table was truly a sublime experience. These restaurants realized their guests deserved the best.

Next year it will be the event’s fifth anniversary! Time does fly. Savor the Avenue benefits the Office Depot Foundation, which in turn provides funds to children and education. Savor sold out this year. Snowbirds arrange their time down here around this event, so plan now for next year.

Our local chefs are some of the best in the country; some have almost celebrity status! The greater Boca Raton area is also known for its exceptional residential planning and country clubs. Hospice of Palm Beach sponsored a country club chef showdown this season and the winner was executive chef Roger Brock from Boca West Country Club.

Last night in Bloomingdale’s, Brock and his team treated guests to a cooking and wine tasting class. Sommelier Stephanie Miskew paired the wines, and all in attendance had a fun night. The wild New Zealand salmon with Indian spices over a bed of curried lentils was delicious. The pickled, fresh veggie salad and minted Greek yogurt sauce was a perfect addition to this dish.

This season had all foodies salivating for more. We are very blessed to have dining sensations running the gamut in South Florida. Bon appetit!