Key West Food and Wine Festival: The Grand Tasting

A beautiful setting.
A beautiful setting.

The Grand Tasting is always one of my favorite events at the Key West Food and Wine Festival. It is held in a different location each year – one year the aquarium, one year on the dock at Turtle Kraals, and this year, poolside and the new, and gorgeous, Marker Resort

The Marker, a stunning property on Caroline Street, was the perfect backdrop. Clear blue skies and ample space

The folks from J. Lohr were pouring some goodies!
The folks from J. Lohr were pouring some goodies!

made for happy wine tasters. There were thirty-plus wines to sample, along with food prepared by Cero Bodega, the poolside restaurant. Seared tuna served on spoons made for a perfect bite. Double fried chicken wings with tamarind glaze were an easy sell, too. The mozzarella and sauteed mushroom flatbread was delicious. It is possible that I sampled it more than once. There were crispy scallops passed as well, and those looked good, too. This was in addition to the large table overflowing with cheeses, fruits, and breads. Really, it was all good.

Yummy, fresh, delicious tuna.
Yummy, fresh, delicious tuna.

Traditionally at this tasting, attendees are given a crystal glass with the festival logo. This year, however, we were in a strict glass-free zone. (I did hear one horror story of a hotel guest, a six pack of beer and the pool needing to be vacuumed over the holidays. The event organizers did not want to be in that camp.) Instead of the usual crystal, we were supplied with fabulous, high quality plastic go vino “glasses”. These are stemless, and have a thumb indentation, making it is easy to hold on to your glass. Plus, even if yours falls into the pool (mine did not), it won’t break.

It seemed like everyone was having a great time. Honestly, how could you not? Perfect

See? I wasn't the only one enjoying the good eats!
See? I wasn’t the only one enjoying the good eats!

weather, delicious food, free flowing and yummy wines make for a great evening. If you have been thinking of coming down for the Key West Food and Wine Festival, but haven’t yet taken the plunge, give it a try next year. It is a five day eat-and-drink fest with perfect weather. Plus, as an added bonus, stop back here before tickets go on sale and I will share a discount code with you!

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