If you’re seeking an excuse for a mini-vacation, two popular wine and food festivals in March may whet your appetite. The fourth annual Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival will be March 12-15, 2015. This year’s event honors Spain’s top chefs and the top female chefs from Mexico. Now in its 10th year, the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival from March 4-8, 2015 celebrates the Lowcountry food culture of this vibrant South Carolina city.
Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival
At the Cancun-Riviera Maya festival, the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa will host a Star Chefs Dinner with a menu prepared by 25 chefs from Mexico and international locales. A five-course Divas of Mexican Cuisine dinner showcasing the skills of female chefs from Mexico will be at Secrets The Vine. A tribute to French cuisine will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun. Two important winemakers will be honored: Hugo D’Acosta of Mexico and Alvaro Palacios of Spain.
Participants can sign up for cooking classes and demonstrations; wine and spirit tastings; talks by celebrity avant-garde Spanish chefs Juan Mari Arzak and Joan Roca; and visits to the Gourmet Tasting Village at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort.
BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival
The BB&T Charleston festival celebrates Charleston’s culinary excellence, bringing together top chefs, winemakers, authors, storytellers and food enthusiasts. The festival features more than 200 local and guest chefs, plus 48 winemakers, mixologists and beer experts at more than 100 events.
An opening-night gala will be at the Art Institute of Charleston. Participants also can attend various lunches; signature dinners at top restaurants; food-related excursions; classes and seminars; and food and wine tastings. The popular Culinary Village takes place under tents at historic Marion Square. Beverage events will be at the Culinary Institute of Charleston.
Both festivals benefit their communities. A portion of funds from the Cancun-Riviera Maya festival will be used to provide computers for a nonprofit housing program, for educational and social services for needy families, and for scholarships for gastronomy students. The nonprofit BB&T Wine + Food Festival provides culinary and hospitality scholarships.
IF YOU GO
- For Cancun-Rivera Maya information and festival tickets, see crmfest.com.
- For hotel and travel information, go to cancun.travel/en.
- For Charleston festival information and tickets, see charlestonwineandfood.com. For hotel and travel information, go tocharlestoncvb.com.
[This article by Irene S. Levine was previously published in the Chicago Tribune Travel section on February 4, 2015.]