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South Beach Wine & Food Festival Adds 6 New Fort Lauderdale Events, And We Can't Wait To Attend All Of Them

Come February, Fort Lauderdale's foodie scene will finally have its time to shine.

The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is launching the inaugural Taste Fort Lauderdale Series during its 2016 edition, taking place Feb. 24 to Feb. 28. That means we'll no longer have to leave Broward County to enjoy one of the nation's top culinary events.

The introduction of the series is part of a natural evolution of SoBe Wine & Food. After hosting its first Fort Lauderdale event during the 2015 festival—a dinner on Fort Lauderdale Beach held at S3 Restaurant—SOBEWFF has expanded to a line-up of six events for 2016.

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"The dinner that we did at S3 Restaurant last year was certainly a way for us to see how the area responded to the festival being there," SOBEWFF founder Lee Schrager said. "With the help of Tim Petrillo of The Restaurant People and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, we’re happy to be expanding on the success of last year’s event."  

So happy, in fact, that the kick-off party for the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series, called Seaside Eats, will get the entire South Beach Wine & Food Festival underway. Hosted on Wednesday night, it will be the first event of the 2016 festival; in the past, events have generally run Thursday through Sunday. 

Seaside Eats, hosted by chef Robert Irvine (star of Food Network's "Restaurant: Impossible" and soon "Chopped: Impossible"), will celebrate this new partnership by showcasing the best of Fort Lauderdale at the historic Bonnet House.

The kick-off event (which happens to be one of Schrager's top picks this year) will feature bites from plenty of recognizable chefs at Fort Lauderdale's favorite restaurants, including Steak 954, Louie Bossi's Ristorante, S3 Restaurant, Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille, Himmarshee Public House/Tacocraft/ROK:BRGR and more.

Schrager said he's looking forward to drawing more attention to the Fort Lauderdale area.

"We’ve watched the boom over the years of the culinary scene in Miami, and while we’d never take credit for it, we do think we’ve played a small role in it by bringing the chefs, industry leaders and national media attention to the area," he said. "We hope that the new Taste Fort Lauderdale series of events is a step in bringing that same awareness to the area as a culinary destination."

The series will also bring attention to some of Fort Lauderdale's top resorts. A Saturday night dinner hosted by Napa chefs Robert Curry and Paul Lemieux will offer guests a sneak peek at the Auberge Beach Residences & Spa coming to Fort Lauderdale in 2017. 

In addition, the Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by the "Chopped" cast will be held by the beach at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, which will have completed an $8 million renovation by the time of the festival. 

With about 15 percent of ticket sales coming from Broward County last year, the response to the festival's new Taste Fort Lauderdale series is expected to be good. But Schrager doesn't want to keep it in the county.

"We also hope that those living in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach will take the opportunity to experience the culinary experiences in the neighborhood as well," he said.

The full list of Taste Fort Lauderdale events can be found below:

The festival’s MasterCard presale period begins Oct. 5 at 9 a.m., and public ticket sales open at midnight on Oct. 19. 

Tickets can be purchased by visiting sobefest.com or calling 877.762.3933 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This post has been updated with comments from SOBEWFF founder Lee Schrager.

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