South Beach’s 2022 edition of its world-famous Wine & Food Festival returned with a vengeance after having to hold off the last two years due to the menacing Covid-19 Pandemic. As usual, stars from all over descended in droves upon the Magic City to indulge themselves in culinary heaven as elite chefs from all over the globe passionately showcased their best dishes and libations at a plethora of festival food and drink events scattered all around not only South Beach, but also areas to the North such as Hallandale Beach and also in Miami’s Coral Gables neighborhood—which is where the University of Miami sits.
And with this being the Festival’s 21st year, it certainly has amassed impressive firepower by way of having an eclectic and diverse roster of over 400 highly acclaimed chefs, winemakers, spirits producers, as well as a long list of lifestyle and culinary personalities. At that, it should not be surprising that the South Beach Wine & Food Festival for eight years straight has been named the # 1 Food & Restaurant industry event by BizBash.
Miami’s vibrant Latin and Caribbean fueled local city culture was also in full effect as always. That is, no matter where one ventured at the Festival the pulse of Latin America and the Caribbean islands was strongly felt in the atmosphere, food, and music. A taste of Jamaica—which was palpably featured as part of a number of marquis festival events—was likewise at the fingertips of the Festival’s vivacious food and drink aficionados, who savored bites of just about everything that was served up while sipping and strolling through the many walk-friendly events. Presented by Schweid & Sons, the Red Stripe Burger Bash shindig spotlighted the best burger restaurants from across America, as they competed for top accolades from the panel of judges on hand. Red Stripe, of course, is Jamaica’s national and ever-popular beer brand.
As it happened, there was so much for festival-goers to partake in where food events, city attractions, and entertainment were concerned. For instance, culinary giants such as Guy Fieri, Rachael Ray, and José Andrés appeared at several festival events. What’s more, in being the USA’s largest wine and food event it never fails to attract legions of stars from a variety of different realms—including as examples the likes of Adam Levine (frontman for Maroon 5); actresses Eva Longoria and Kate Hudson; and former Victoria Secret Model, Behati Prinsloo; Rev Run of legendary Grammy award winning hip-hop group, RUN DMC; three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade; TV personality Kalen Allen; Food Network star Jeff Mauro; Tik-Tok creator and Founder of The Golden Balance, Ahmad Alzahabi; chef and restaurateur Melba Wilson.
Hallandale Beach Food & Groove Experience Featured Jamaica’s Chef Irie
So popular was the Hallandale Beach Event Series, that two-sessions took place in order to accommodate the robust attendance. The cue of attendees, dressed in all-white attire, snaked for a good distance back from the Gulfstream Park entry gates. Upon entry, festival-goers were greeted with gift bags as well as live on stage jazz and R&B entertainers. Once inside, the chefs, food vendors and their decked-out stalls beckoned as the aromatic scent of plates from Juan Magana’s ‘Shredded Beef With Frisee and Cilantro Aioli on a Potato Roll’, to Robert Mastrosimone’s Cider Braised Short-Ribs’, to Peruvian ceviche (Ceviche Ave), to Antonio Cao’s Cuban ‘Croquetas de Jamon de La Casa’, to Argentinian steaks and sausages, to Jamaican jerk chicken and pork, the Hallandale Beach Food & Groove venue was nothing short of a foodie’s paradise.
Arguably, three of the most popular food stalls at the venue were Jamaican. Hugh ‘Chef Irie’ Sinclair certainly attracted a lot of attention as he featured his ‘Coconut Pumpkin Rum Soup’ and ‘Pumpkin Polenta Bites With Jerk Pork Belly’. Mable’s Island Kitchen also made its mark by featuring some delightful and scrumptious jerk pork eats topped with shrimp that packed a lot of spices and flavors. Another Jamaican culinary force to be reckoned with was the Dunns River Island Café—which served up fantastic featured jerk food dishes as well.
Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village Along South Beach was a ‘Big Hit’ Among Festival Attendees
Yet another hugely popular attraction at the 2022 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, was the Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village, which was housed by massive tents set up right on the sands of sun-kissed Miami Beach. Indeed, the Tasting Village festival exuded a good vibe as evidenced by the sea of patrons actively milling around while chatting and catching up with friends after the long, hard slog of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And the Village was not without live entertainment as its sandy courtyard served as a mini-music festival of sorts with a jubilant crowd of music lovers that was entertained by high-energy beats courtesy of Gianluca Vacchi, the Italian DJ and Instagram sensation. Popular rapper of Morrocan descent, French Montana, also did his thing in a big way by serving up some of his biggest song hits, including ‘Unforgettable’ .The audience surely knew his songs very well, as they bounced along with Mr. Montana while singing the lyrics word-for-word.
In South Florida, Jamaican cuisine is seemingly found everywhere in the region—with over 500 Jamaican restaurants, bakeries, and shops at one’s finger tips. Also, Jamaicans are the largest immigrant group in Broward county—in which the City of Miramar is located along with some other South Florida cities with “nuff” Jamaicans, most notably, Miami Gardens, Lauderhill, Miramar, and Pembroke Pines. And it was certainly nice to see Bob Marley’s son, Kymani, enjoying the 2022 South Beach Wine & Food Festival and its flavorful Goya Foods’ Grand Tasting Village.
All photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.