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.
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 $1,000 dinner from all-star outsiders Marc Vetri, Andrew Carmellini, Mark Ladner, and Michael Tusk.
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
When: March 2 - 21, 2012
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.
Great Arizona Beer Festival
When: March 3, 2012
What: Sample local, national, and international craft beers on the Tempe lakeshore. And while you're getting hammered, be pleased about the fact that it's to benefit the Sun Sounds of Arizona, which provides reading and information service for people who are blind or otherwise print-disabled.
When: Portland, OR (3/11) and Boston, MA (3/25)
Where: Portland and Boston
What: The porcine competition will have ten events in ten different cities to determine the ten chefs that will square off at the Grand Cochon — the finale — at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado. After knocking down Napa, New York, and Memphis in the last few months, it's time to stop in Portland and Boston in March.
When: March 11-14, 2012
Where: Paris, France
What: From March 11th through the 13th, Omnivore, the alternative gastronomic publication and event organizer, will stage a series of F*** Dinners throughout the city. Among the pairings are Jean-François Piège with Quique Dacosta, Cyril Lignac with John Fraser, Pascal Barbot with Josean Martinez Alija, and David Toutain and Alexander Bourdas. There'll be parties and masterclasses, too. Bookings start in January.
The Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival 2012
When: March 15-18, 2012
Where: Cancun, Mexico
What: Ferran Adrià is the guest of honor at this Cancun festival which seems to nicely blend beachy leisure with serious cooking. Stay at a resort, get some color, and try food from Mexican heavy-hitters (Enrique Olvera, Alejandro Ruiz) and other international chefs (Jacques Pepin, Normand Laprise, Mara Salles). The headlining event is a gala dinner in which some of the aforementioned cooks will prepare a "molecular gastronomy meal" for Adrià.
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.
Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert
When: March 23-25, 2012
Where: Palm Springs, California
What: If Coachella isn't your thing, then maybe try this festival from Food & Wine, which features personalities like Sara Moulton and local giant Mark Peel, as well as some of the great California wineries.
Culinaria 5K Wine Run
When: March 24, 2012
Where: San Antonio, Texas
What: For the second year in a row, the folks at Culinaria are staging a 5k race on the edge of the Texas Hill Country bookended by lots of wine drinking and food eating. Register for $25 a runner.
Celebrity Chef Tour
When: March 30-31, 2012
Where: Eggleston, Virginia
What: The celebrity chef tour will make one stop in March at the Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston, Virginia. Set to cook are Barton Seaver, Jennifer Carroll, Mike Isabella, Dana Herbert, and Aaron Deal.
When: March 30-31, 2012
What: This is pretty neat: Alain Passard, Alvin Leung, Chan Kwok, Enrique Olvera, Hans Valimaki, and Virgilio Martinez will each present three or four dishes at this Singapore event. Instead of charging the big bucks for a guest dinner, as is usually the case with major food festivals, the folks at Savour have made it so you can sample dishes one-by-one at a fraction of the price they'd go for at the chefs' restaurants.
Pebble Beach Food & Wine
When: April 12-15, 2012
Where: Pebble Beach, California
What: This is the pricey, fancypants, star-studded lineup with events hosted by Guy Fieri (his dinner is already sold out), Todd English, Daniel Boulud, and more.
When: July 1-2, 2012
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
What: René Redzepi has released the names of first round of speakers set to appear at his second annual symposium in Copenhagen. Among those confirmed to speak are Ferran Adrià, Massimo Bottura, Fergus Henderson, and Enrique Olvera. This year's symposium will center around the word "appetite," which "has been chosen due to its evocative meaning and fundamental importance to our work as chefs," according to Redzepi.
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