TRAVEL SCOOPS

Wine and food festivals offer excuse for a getaway

February 8, 2015
Aspiring chef at Gourmet Tasting Village at last year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival (Credit: Jerome Levine)
Gourmet Tasting Village at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort (at last year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival)

Gourmet Tasting Village at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort (at last year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival)

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.

Aspiring chef at Gourmet Tasting Village at last year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival (Credit: Jerome Levine)

Aspiring chef at Gourmet Tasting Village at last year’s Cancun-Rivera Maya Wine and Food Festival (Credit: Jerome Levine)

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.

Vendor at Culinary Village at 2014 BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival

Vendor at Culinary Village at 2014 BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival


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.]

  • Reply
    Muza-chan
    February 9, 2015 at 8:30 am

    You’re right 🙂

  • Reply
    Mike
    February 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Wow, these both sound absolutely amazing, Irene! It’s awesome that folks here in the U.S. would have the opportunity to eat all of the elite international fare at the Cancun-Riviera Maya festival. I would love to be a diner for that Chefs Star Dinner. I hope all is well and have a great day! 🙂

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      February 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      Yes, Mike. These are pretty spectacular meals—and great events for foodies like you.

  • Reply
    Sheryl
    February 11, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    What fun! I think my husband would love any wine and food festival – two of his favorite things!

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