Key lime pie, pink shrimp, and conch fritters -- Florida's southernmost city of Key West has a well earned reputation as a foodie haven. And fans of fine food and stellar vintages can indulge their appetites for both at the annual Key West Food and Wine Festival scheduled Wednesday through Sunday, Jan. 22 to 26, 2014.
Now in its fifth year, the edible extravaganza spotlights Key West's lively culinary scene, talented chefs, indigenous ingredients and multifaceted flavors through a series of tastings and seminars. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in Key West's unique offerings from tours of Ernest Hemingway's home to jet skiing around the island to watching a magical sunset at Mallory Square.
Festival highlights include a guided tasting of eight wines from around the world with scores in the 90s, a barefoot beach party, a pig roast, and a mile long wine tasting, food sampling and shopping experience along Duval Street from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition, offbeat adventures are scheduled that combine food and fun. Among them are a quirky afternoon of coconut bowling in historic Bahama Village, an indulgent "bean to bar" chocolate experience and a traditional Key West shrimp boil beside the working shrimp docks.
Exclusive VIP passes are available covering admission to multiple festival events, as are tickets for individual events.
Festival participants can extend the indulging of their palates by also attending the 20th Annual Master Chef’s Classic. To be held at the Westin Key West Resort & Marina Pier on Sunday, Jan. 26, this culinary competition and tasting in appetizer, entree and dessert categories benefits the Monroe Association for ReMARCable Citizens, which provides life services for developmentally disabled adults in the Florida Keys.