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South Beach Wine & Food Festival: When Florida Becomes a Foodie Heaven

Get those palm trees, gators and sports cars out of your head – holidays to Florida are about much more than that. In fact, few people overseas know that once a year Miami becomes the American capital of… cuisine? Since 1997 the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival has grown to become a major event in a city that had hardly been associated with culinary delights on the international stage – although as we’ll discuss later this week, Florida is well known within the US for producing world-class citrus fruit, avocados, bananas, shellfish and other tasty foods.

In the last 15 years, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival festival has seen a tenfold increase in size, and is now attended by 60,000 visitors a year; it is the perfect attraction for families, couples or friends who want to head over to Florida without spending the whole time on the beach.

The 2013 festival is scheduled for February 21-24, when temperatures in Miami average 25 C but most of Europe will still be dominated by chilly winds and snow. The festival takes full advantage in Florida’s fantastic weather, and takes place in the welcoming outdoor areas of Florida International University’s Biscane Bay Campus.

This year Miami is set to welcome some of America’s finest chefs and food personalities, from celebrity chef Andrew Matsuhisa, who co-owns a chain of restaurants with Robert De Niro, and the British star of cooking, Nigella Lawson, to Andrew Carmellini, the American master of Italian cuisine, and country-music-icon-turned-cook Trisha Yearwood.

Festival events include exclusive dinners with celebrity chefs, classy food parties, seminars about wine, beer and cheese tasting and brunches prepared by the world’s best chefs.

If you think continental Europe is the only place for trips inspired by culinary delights, you should think again: the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a surprise waiting to be discovered, one that comes at an ideal time to escape the British winter and enjoy all that the Sunshine State and package holidays overseas have to offer.