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15 Food & Drink Events For April and Beyond

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The lineup for René Redzepi's MAD has been announced
The lineup for René Redzepi's MAD has been announced
Photo: MAD

Spring is (sort of) here and it's time to take a look at the food and drink events coming up this 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.

Taste of the Nation
When: April 2012
Where: Multiple cities
What: These events are great: eat food from some of the best restaurants in the country while helping fight childhood hunger. This month they'll be making stops in Winnipeg (April 10), Charlotte (April 11), Atlanta (April 12), Worcester (April 23), Manchester (April 19), Boston (April 19), Wilmington (April 19), Honolulu (April 29), and NYC (April 30).

Spring Beer Fest
When: April 6-7, 2012
Where: Portland, Oregon
What: A massive two-day expo at the Oregon Convention Center showcasing craft beers and wines from around the country. Entry is free for the first 1000 attendees, and $5 after that.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine
When: April 12-15, 2012
Where: Pebble Beach, California
What: This is the pricey, fancypants, star-studded festival with events hosted by Guy Fieri (his dinner is already sold out), Todd English, Daniel Boulud, and more.

Jersey Shore Restaurant Week
When: April 13-22, 2012
Where: New Jersey
What: With events like "Shellfish & Chardonnay," "Tour d'Porta," and the "Great Jersey Shore Martini Contest," you can count on this being the premiere food festival of the year.

National Grits Festival
When: April 14, 2012
Where: Warwick, Georgia
What: This 15th annual National Grits Festival will again celebrate the official prepared food of Georgia and serve as proof of the wonderful things human beings are capable of. Leave it to them to explain: "throughout the day, there will be live entertainment, food vendors, craft dealers, pony rides. Other events unique to our festival are the corn-shelling event, the Quaker® Grits eating event, the Quaker® Grits cooking event, and our antique tractor and antique car show. At noon, we will have a parade of the "Grits Queens." Later in the afternoon, we will host the famous and unprecedented “Roll in the Quaker® Instant Grits Event”! There is nothing like rolling around in a cattle trough full of cooked Quaker® Instant Grits to entertain you."

Celebrity Chef Tour
When: April 16, 2012
Where: St. Louis, Missouri
What: The Celebrity Chef Tour will make one stop in April at the Sidney Street restaurant in St. Louis. Set to cook are Michael Sullivan, Martin Rios, Gerard Craft, Debbie Gold, Alex Lee, Josh Galliano, and Kevin Willmann.

Miami Wine & Food Festival
When: April 18-21, 2012
Where: Miami, Florida
What: The lineup for this Miami festival doesn't really touch Sobe Wine and Food, but that could be a good thing if you're looking for something low-key. There'll be wine tastings in Coral Gables, dinners at the Fontainebleau, and an event where tables will team up to cook dinner, coached by chef Kevin Sbraga.

Taste of Pearl
When: April 22, 2012
Where: Boulder, CO
What: A charming small festival that consists of fifteen different local restaurants occupying fifteen different galleries around downtown Boulder. Access to everything is $60, and excellent places like Frasca will be involved.

Omnivore World Tour
When: April 24-28, 2012
Where: Moscow, Russia
What: Omnivore, the alternative gastronomic publication and event organizer, will make a stop on its 2012 world tour in Moscow. As with most of their affairs, this one will be made up of master classes, parties, and dinners from local and guest chefs.

New York Culinary Experience
When: April 28-29, 2012
Where: New York, New York
What: New York Magazine, in collaboration with the International Culinary Center, will put on a weekend of master classes, cooking demonstrations, and conversations with some of the city's greatest chefs. On the lineup: Dan Barber, David Bouley, Seamus Mullen, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Brooks Headley, and many more. Tickets are a measly $1,395 for the entire thing.

Austin Food & Wine Festival
When: April 27 - 29, 2012
Where: Austin, Texas
What: A monster of a festival from Food and Wine featuring chefs like Jonathan Waxman, Bryce Gilmore, Aaron Franklin, Michelle Bernstein, and Masaharu Morimoto. Lucinda Williams and Mayer Hawthorne will be playing sets.

San Francisco International Beer Festival
When: April 28, 2012
Where: San Francisco, CA
What:The San Francisco International Beer Festival enters its 29th year with an event featuring hundreds of craft brews from around the world. 65 bucks gets you a taster mug which you can fill and refill as much as you want. Tickets are currently sold out, but there's plenty of stuff available on Craigslist.

Sweetlife Festival
When: April 28, 2012
Where: Columbia, Maryland
What: The organizers of Sweetlife, a concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion featuring Kid Cudi, Avicii, and Fitz and the Tantrums, have announced the lineup for their "Food Forest." It's probably better than what'll be going on on stage: Shake Shack, Pepe (José Andrés' food trucks), Momofuku Milk Bar, Roberta's Pizza, and Toki Underground.

Looking Ahead:

Atlanta Food & Wine
When: May 10-13, 2012
Where: Atlanta, GA
What: The Southern all-stars Sean Brock, Frank Stitt, Hugh Acheson, John Currence, John Besh, and Linton Hopkins will cook dinners and host events at this festival from Food & Wine.

MAD Symposium
When: July 1-2, 2012
Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
What: René Redzepi has released the names of the first round of speakers for his second annual symposium in Copenhagen. Among those confirmed to present are Ferran Adrià, Wylie Dufresne, 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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