Here are some of the more notable dining and drinking events going on in the U.S. and around the world in the coming month and a bit beyond that. You'll find celebrity chef dinners, craft beer festivals, international summits, and crowd-pleasing staples, all of which are worth the drive or even a flight or two.
Celebrity Chef Tour
When: February 3-4 and February 24-25, 2012
Where: Atlanta, GA and La Quinta, California
What: The celebrity chef tour will make two stops in February. The first, in Atlanta, will be a dinner that includes chefs John Currence and Hugh Acheson. The second, in La Quinta, will showcase Stephan Pyles and the legendary Nancy Silverton. Tickets are still available for the La Quinta dinner.
International Great Beer Expo
When: February 4, 2012
Where: The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, New Jersey
What: Over fifty brewers from around the world will come to Jersey to showcase their stuff, and for $40, you can try it all.
When: February 5-7, 2012
Where: Geneva, Switzerland
What: Omnivore, the alternative gastronomic publication and event organizer, will make the first stop of its 2012 world tour in Geneva. As with most of their affairs, this one will be made up of master classes, parties, and dinners from local and guest chefs.
Identita Golose Milan
When: February 5-7, 2012
Where: Milan, Italy
What: This year, the Milanese chefs congress will focus on the primary product and eschewing artifice from cooking: "We are rediscovering ingredients, giving new value to primary products, both our own, with a somehow nationalistic pride, and those of others, in a sincere and propulsive globalization, respectful of each scenery." Set to appear are many heavy-hitters, including Alex Atala, Ferran Adrià, Jonathan Benno, Massimo Bottura, René Redzepi, and Christian Puglisi.
Gourmet Abu Dhabi
When: February 8-23, 2012
Where: Abu Dhabi, UAE
What: The fourth installment of Gourmet Abu Dhabi will attract close to 10,000 visitors with demonstrations and dinners from a starry roster of international chefs (Rodrigo de la Calle, Bruno Ménard, William Ledeuil) and some U.S. talents (Daniel Patterson, Christina Tosi).
San Francisco Beer Week
When: February 10 - 19, 2012
Where: San Francisco, California
What: The San Francisco Brewers Guild has organized a dizzying slate of events — tastings, seminars, pairing dinners, and more — to take place throughout ten days. One focus and one focus only: beer.
Arizona Beer Week
When: February 18-25, 2012
Where: Throughout Arizona
What: For a whole week, beer and those who love it will spread to "every corner of the state." The whole thing kicks off with a bang, Phoenix's Strong Beer Festival, which will focus on brews with a high alcohol content.
South Beach Food & Wine
When: February 23-26, 2012
Where: Miami, Florida
What: Lee Schrager's annual mega festival, with more American chefs and food media stars than you can shake a stick at. As usual, it is a very hot ticket.
Charleston Wine & Food
When: March 1-4, 2012
Where: Charleston, South Carolina
What: A very cool food weekend intensely focused on local flavors, traditions, and chefs, including one Sean Brock. There's a nice variety of events on offer, and few of them are devastatingly expensive — that's if you don't count an epic-sounding $1000 dinner from all-star outsiders Marc Vetri, Andrew Carmellini, Mark Ladner, and Michael Tusk.
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
When: March 2 - 21
Where: Melbourne, Australia
What: For their 20th anniversary, Melbourne Food & Wine have organized a monster of a festival: 20 days of tastings, master classes, and parties all across Victoria. Draws include the "Theatre of Ideas," a congress of sorts in which René Redzepi, Ben Shewry, David Chang, and Massimo Bottura will make presentations, as well as special dinners from chefs like Redzepi, Chang (who'll be collaborating with the team from New York's Torrisi Italian Specialties), Corey Lee, and even barbecue legend Ed Mitchell.
The Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo
When: March 22-24, 2012
Where: Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
What: A decidedly luxe, laid-back production from Food & Wine, in which the focus is on regional Mexican cuisine, American stars like Michael Symon and Marcus Samuelsson, and spending lots of time drinking mezcal, enjoying spa treatments, and lounging on the beach.
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