10 of the best food and wine festivals the Southeast has to offer

Lifestyle

There’s no better way to taste your way through the Southeast than with a food and wine festival. From February to November and from Virginia to Florida – and every state in between – there is a lip-smacking, beverage-slurping extravaganza that will delight the taste buds.

Whether it’s tasting savory samples and hobnobbing with award-winning local and national chefs, swirling and sipping glasses of wine or checking out the latest local makers’ jams, jellies, spice blends and bloody Mary mixes, food and wine festivals are hotter than a Carolina Reaper pepper.

Bite into one of these 10 top-notch festivals around the Southeast.

Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival

February 19-23, 2020 | Miami Beach, Florida

The Goya Foods' Grand Tasting Village is four football fields long and is the highlight of SOBEWFFThe Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village is four football fields long and is the highlight of SOBEWFF — Photo courtesy of Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival

The granddaddy of food festivals, Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One kicks off festival season with more than 100 events from Miami to Palm Beach.

The highlight is the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village, a two-day celebrity gourmet gathering on the beach approximately four football fields long with bites from more than 50 restaurants, culinary demos and book signings.

Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival

February 24-March 1, 2020 | Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Oyster roasts in many forms are a big draw at the Hilton Head Island Seafood FestivalOyster roasts in many forms are a big draw at the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival — Photo courtesy of Michael Hrizuk / Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival

The Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival is so much more than seafood, starting with a James Beard dinner featuring some of the nation’s top chefs, chef-led master classes and a lip-smackin’ pig pickin’ and oyster roast with award-winning pitmasters and legendary oyster farmers.

Saturday’s family-friendly Seafood Festival is a showcase of what the Lowcountry does best with area restaurants and chefs serving up savory seafood specialties, traditional Gullah dishes, rides, live music and kid’s activities.

Charleston Wine + Food

March 4-8, 2020 | Charleston, South Carolina

A who's who of culinary legends descends on Charleston's skyline for Charleston Wine + FoodA who’s who of culinary legends descends on Charleston’s skyline for Charleston Wine + Food — Photo courtesy of Stacy Howell / Charleston Wine + Food

Celebrating the hospitality and graciousness of this Southern darling, Charleston Wine + Food is a veritable who’s who of culinary legends, James Beard Award nominees and winners, and television’s most notable celebrity chefs.

There are delectable dinners, seaside suppers, cooking classes, edible excursions, foodie fitness, cocktail conclaves, a three-day culinary village extravaganza and unparalleled wine lunches and dinners. The 125-plus events over five days, in every corner and neighborhood of the city, have helped set the wine and food festival bar.

New Orleans Wine & Food Experience

March 18-22, 2020 | New Orleans, Louisiana

The Royal Street Stroll, led by the Krewe of Cork, is a highlight of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience — Photo courtesy of New Orleans Wine & Food Experience

New Orleans has hosted one of the hottest food and wine festivals east of the Mississippi since 1992. The event features the Royal Street Stroll led by the Krewe of Cork, a two-day Grand Tasting, wine labs with Master Sommeliers and a Tournament of Rosés.

Special experiences like an anniversary dinner celebrating the newest edition of The Joy of Cooking and a twist in dinner theater with a presentation of The Meatball Chronicles are kicking NOWFE up a notch.

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

May 28-31, 2020 | Atlanta, Georgia

Learning experiences like Master Classes are one of the backbones of the Atlanta Food & Wine FestivalLearning experiences like Master Classes are one of the backbones of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival — Photo courtesy of AFWF/Raftermen

With a focus on the South, Atlanta Food & Wine Festival brings over 150 chefs, pitmasters, sommeliers and beverage innovators from Texas to Washington, DC.

They’ll tempt, teach and taste with a host of learning experiences, storytelling, lunches, brunches, dinners and the all-you-can-indulge Tasting Tent experience with wine pop-up stations, Cocktail Garden and live music. Past themes have included “Off the Eaten Path,” spotlighting off-the-grid foodie destinations and rising culinary stars.

Euphoria

September 17-20, 2020 | Greenville, South Carolina

Michelin-starred chefs host discussions, demos and dinners throughout euphoriaMichelin-starred chefs host discussions, demos and dinners throughout euphoria — Photo courtesy of euphoria

With a searing hot restaurant scene and an award-winning revitalized downtown, Greenville is the perfect place for a little euphoria. This four-day fête de foodie features a half-dozen Michelin-starred chefs (Greenville is the North American home to Michelin after all), a dazzling drove of local and regional chefs, sommeliers and cocktail connoisseurs.

You’ll also find world-class musicians at this celebration of food, wine and music with euphoric winemaker dinners, tastings, seminars, how-to classes and singer-songwriter events. The Sunday Supper finale is the cherry on top.

Music City Food + Wine Festival

September 2020 | Nashville, Tennessee

Downtown Nashville is the perfect backdrop for big name entertainers and celebrity chefs at Music City Food + Wine FestivalDowntown Nashville is the perfect backdrop for big name entertainers and celebrity chefs at Music City Food + Wine Festival — Photo courtesy of Nathan Zucker

Bringing together the quintessential sounds of Music City with the rock star chefs of this searing hot destination, the Music City Food & Wine Festival was hatched by Grammy Award-winning artists Kings of Leon and world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman.

It showcases a rotating roster of big-name entertainers (prior years have seen Martina McBride and Little Big Town) and culinary celebs with a lineup of events including tasting sessions, demo tents, Meet the Maker sessions, book signings, dine-arounds and a gospel brunch.

Chow Chow

September 10-13, 2020 | Asheville, North Carolina

The Grand Tasting features a Makers Market, a food truck rodeo, chef demos, hands-on workshops and Appalachian-style paella for all at Asheville's Chow ChowThe Grand Tasting features a Makers Market, a food truck rodeo, chef demos, hands-on workshops and Appalachian-style paella for all at Asheville’s Chow Chow — Photo courtesy of Explore Asheville

One of the newest festivals on the circuit and curated by local chefs, makers and culinary giants, Chow Chow celebrates all things Appalachia, highlighting the region’s culinary identity, contribution and collaboration.

Weekend events may include Appalachian soul food walking tours, foraged feasts, immersive pottery and glass art dinner, and vegan and herbivore fests. There’s also an expansive grand tasting featuring a makers market, a food truck rodeo, chef demos and hands-on workshops and seminars that explore the local culture, history, arts and foodways roots of “Foodtopia.”

Fire, Flour & Fork

November 5-8, 2020 | Richmond, Virginia

The Drag Queen Brunch at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture steals the show at Fire, Flour and ForkThe Drag Queen Brunch at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture steals the show at Fire, Flour and Fork — Photo courtesy of Brandon Hambright

Showcasing the bounty of chefs and ingredients of the Old Dominion with a dose of Southeastern gastronomic glitterati, the four-day Fire, Flour and Fork has helped put Richmond on the culinary map. The event offers intimate dinners pairing local and guest chefs with oyster farmers and pork producers, as well as behind-the-scenes farm tours, pitmasters doin’ up the ‘que along the James, drag queen brunches, and day (and rosé) drinking

The cobblestone streets, museums and neighborhoods of Virginia’s capital city are filled with foodie flair.

Savannah Food & Wine Festival

November 9-15, 2020 | Savannah, Georgia

The massive Taste of Savannah in the Georgia State Railroad Museum is the marquee event of the Savannah Food & Wine FestivalThe massive Taste of Savannah in the Georgia State Railroad Museum is the marquee event of the Savannah Food & Wine Festival — Photo courtesy of Howard Hackney Photography

Taste and sip, Savannah-style, at the week-long Savannah Food & Wine Festival filled with all the Southern charm and hospitality you’d expect from “The Hostess City.”

Featuring James Beard Celebrity Chef dinners, cooking classes, seafood outings, whiskey wonderlands, wine connoisseur tastings, speakeasies, barbecue throwdowns and their half-mile River Street Stroll and behemoth Taste of Savannah signature events, it’s a South-in-your-mouth smorgasbord.

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