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Superstar food and wine fest set for March 13-16 on the Mexican Caribbean

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This has got to be some kind of heaven for food and wine lovers: over 50 famous chefs from around the world plus dozens of wine stewards, all in one place for a three-day festival. And what a place! From March 13-16, foodie heaven is going to be along the powdery Caribbean beaches edging Cancun and the Riviera Maya out on eastern Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

It's called (not surprisingly) the Annual Cancun & Riviera Maya Food & Wine Festival. Some 5,000 international guests showed up for the event last year, and this year's guests “can expect to witness the next stage of a bigger and better (festival) that can only be described as delectable,” says Jesus Almaguer, CEO of the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The 2014 festival, themed “Europe Meets the Americas,” will celebrate France with the participation of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, considered “a culinary authority that has evolved French cuisine in the Americas and around the world.” Also to be honored will be Mexican chef Guillermo Gonzalez Beristain from Monterrey, “who has revolutionized traditional and contemporary food in the northern part of Mexico.”

Well-known culinary stars from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Venezuela will attend more than 25 events during the festival including interactive cooking challenges, wine and spirits tastings and celebrity dinners.

Among host hotels in Cancun will be Secrets The Vine, NIZUC Resort & Spa and Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa.

The festival, now in its third year, has been a big help in “changing the misconception of Cancun as a party and spring break destination as guests realize Cancun’s potential as a unique...culinary destination,” a spokeswoman noted.

Getting there: Cancun International Airport, near both Cancun and the Riviera Maya, is served by nonstop hops from major U.S. gateways including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York-JFK, Phoenix and San Francisco, among others.

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