With the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival set to take the San Diego gastro-scene by storm for its 15th year now through November 18, there is a cornucopia of flavor-fueled activities poised to satiate the hearts, minds, and palates of foodies throughout the week-long fest. As always, the event will showcase the best of “America’s Finest City’s” flourishing cuisine scene and the ever-talented culinary creators, both locally and from afar, whose ingenuity ensures our epicuriosity endures.
As one of the largest and most premier events of its kind in the United States and certainly the largest in all of the southern California region, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is among my personal favorite of the year. As always, this action-packed week is brimming with activities, including cooking classes, tasting panels, celebrity chef dinners, and multiple tasting events.
With the festival offering so many options, either singularly or as packages, I thought I would whip up my top reasons why this year’s event is a can’t miss occasion:
1. Top Talent
The 2018 class of chefs, winemakers, and tastemakers that will host or otherwise appear at this epic festival filled with food, wine and culture boast some of the most elite folks in their fields. From nationally-recognized celebrity chefs, legendary winemakers, guest mixologists, and James Beard Award-winning authors to Master Sommeliers, brewmasters, and artisans, this year’s lineup is designed to delight, entertain, and make your taste buds sizzle at every turn. Among the culinary elite that’ll be on-site this year is television chef-lebrityand author Graham Elliot, The Hearty Boys television personalities, Bernard Guillas of the famed Marine Room, season six MasterChef winner Claudia Sandoval and Sam the Cooking Guy, the local fan-favorite television personality and owner of Not Not Tacos. These are in addition to throngs of other industry movers and shakers hell-bent on leaving attendees longing for more.
2. Locavore Cultural Immersion
As the festival is surrounded by a multitude of laid-back beach towns, coastal cities, and bustling urban centers, attendees will be tempted to traverse across the city to experience a range of San Diego’s cultural diversity, buzzing culinary scene, and signature flavors. Over 40 city-wide events will be held, ensuring there’s something for everyone. One notable option includes traveling to the burgeoning Valle de Guadalupe for a truly immersive cross-border experience. You can also opt to chow down on iconic SoCal fish tacos or indulge in local microbrew beers—a must given San Diego’s standing as the “craft beer capital of America.”
3. Edu-Tastings Abound
The fest offers a range of educational experiences and hands-on classes with food and wine tastings led by culinary rock stars. And, not reserved for savory sensibilities, there are plenty of sweet experiences as well as those that are sipping-intensive. One notable is with renowned chocolatier and chef of Chuao Chocolatier, Michael Antonorsi, who will helm a hands-on truffle rolling class and a fun, behind-the-scenes tour of the Joy Factory. Craft cocktail aficionados are also duly accommodated, with instruction on how to mix up drinks like a pro courtesy of the You & Yours team. They’ll show attendees how to measure, shake, stir and pour cocktails as you make and enjoy two seasonal elixirs (along with artisan cheese and charcuterie boards), all while learning cocktail basics along with the history behind the drinks and distillery.
4. First-of-its-Kind Experiences
One of the most remarkable tasting experiences offered at this year’s event will compare Library Barolo wines crafted from 1947 through 2013—a range of incredible Barolo wines all from the private library of The Rare Wine Co. of San Francisco. Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation for how these amazing Barolos have held up through the decades. This esteemed event will be hosted by the distinguished Giancarlo Paterlini of the Michelin two-starred Acquerello restaurant of San Francisco, who will also enlighten with his commentary on the wines. In another unique event opportunity, one of today’s most prolific culinary authors, Michael Ruhlman, joins this year’s Festival to guide attendees through the craft of pâté and charcuterie. This experience will feature Groth Vineyards & Winery, set amid the backdrop of the Born & Raised rooftop.
5. The Grand Tasting Epic Ending
As the week of eating and imbibing ends, during which 10,000-plus patrons are expected to partake, many will come together to celebrate the spirit of food and frivolity at the monumental Grand Tasting event to be held Nov. 17 at San Diego’s stunning Embarcadero Marina Park North. Here, television personality and San Diego Magazine food critic Troy Johnson—best known as the co-host of ‘Guy’s Grocery Games’ on Food Network—is set to serve as Grand Marshal. In a not-to-be-missed moment, guests will be welcomed to the Grand Tasting with a Champagne saber demo to officially open the day of celebration.
I fervently believe that the most valuable things in life these days are not tangible, but rather are memorable and meaningful experiences that move us from our normal, often mundane, every day state-of-being to a place of mind, heart, and spirit that makes you revel at the moment, be fully present, and have gratitude for the “here and now.” Those like me who are wanderers, travelers, foodies, and adventurers thrive on awe-inspiring moments—and those moments that concurrently tease and please the taste buds and inspire a sense and desire of discovery drives us ever forward. So do yourself a favor and move forward with your own plans to attend one more of the fabulous San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival events. I envisage the experience will leave you chomping at the bit to return year after year.