The West Coast’s Best Food and Wine Festivals
These three over-the-top food and wine festivals are worth the trip out of town.
Courtesy of San Diego Bay Food and Wine Festival
San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival
November 15–22, 2015
Epicureans take over San Diego each fall just in time to warm up Thanksgiving taste buds. Foodies traverse the city to experience more than 100 wine and cooking classes, dinners prepared by local and international chefs, and tastings. Don’t miss the Chef of the Fest Competition—considered one of the biggest culinary showdowns in SoCal—during Saturday’s grand tasting event. sandiegowineclassic.com.
How big? Roughly 10,000 attendees are expected.
Star-studded? PBS’ Rick Bayless, known for putting a modern twist on Mexican food, will be whipping up dishes in the border city.
Distance? 486 miles.* Fly direct from Oakland Airport.
Pebble Beach Food and Wine
March 31–April 3, 2016
It’s all about style and sophistication at this granddaddy of West Coast food and wine celebrations. With golfing greens and the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, attendees taste more than 300 wines, snap selfies with 100 celebrity chefs, and indulge in lunches and dinners. At night, when the tents transform into an exclusive nightclub scene for industry members and special guests, the vibe evolves from resort casual to L.A. chic. pbfw.com.
How big? More than 8,000 attended in 2015.
Star-studded? Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto led a red-hot ramen demo at the last fest.
Distance? 122 miles.* Road trip!
Food and Wine Classic in Aspen
June 17–19, 2016
Nestled at the foot of the mountains, this food and wine extravaganza draws restaurant professionals, plus 80 celebrity chefs and wine experts, many of whom spend the weekend mingling with guests in between panels, meals, and cocktail parties. Just remember to match your booze intake with water to combat the altitude: You’re in the Rockies! foodandwine.com/classic.
How big? Tickets are limited to 5,000 attendees.
Star-studded? Author and producer Andrew Zimmern, the celebrity chef behind Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods, moderated a couple of panels this year.
Distance? 1,125 miles.* Book your flights.
Cost? Roughly $1,400.
*Distance from Walnut Creek.