Summer food festivals, enjoy flavorful bites and delicious sips


Warm weather, sunny days and breezy evenings make summer the perfect time to enjoy life’s pleasures. Summer food festivals are a delightful way to spend a day.

Summer food festivals fill many summer weekends. From multi-day events to smaller happenings, food festivals can be a delicious way to explore new foods, restaurants and beverages. A quick glance at Facebook, a local publication or word of mouth shows many food and beverage festivals almost every summer weekend.

Summer food festival, Cocoa Beach Uncorked, photo by Cristine Struble

Recently, I attended Cocoa Beach Uncorked, a new wine and food festival in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The two day event featured local restaurants, snack companies, craft beer and wine. With over 60 food and beverage stations, the afternoon was filled with a bounty of guilty eats.

This smaller, local food festival brought together well-known brands with up and coming names. For example, many Florida residents love Florida Beer Company, the brand with the philosophy, in Florida, drink Florida. But, a great find was Uinta Brewing Company from Utah. Its new summer beer, West Coast IPA, is a wonderful citrus forward India Pale Ale. The fruit forward flavors make it a warm day quencher. Although meant to be served in a snifter, a long pull from the bottle is just as enjoyable. I can’t wait to serve it at our July 4th barbecue.

Summer food festival, Uinta West Coast IPA, photo by Cristine Struble

Local restaurants provided much of the food at Cocoa Beach Uncorked. The flavors and choices were plentiful. The bulgogi from Fat Snook was one of the best bites of the event. Its sister restaurant, Crush XI, had a memorable sausage. And, Salt from the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront plated a gorgeous surf and turf dish. With no shortage of food, no one left the event hungry.

Also, the food and wine festival had a variety of snacks that are perfect for summer entertaining. Primizie Crispbreads are the flavor forward way to dip, spread or just enjoy. These artisanal crispbread snacks could be used with cheese, a fresh hummus or simply eaten as a snack itself. The flavors, Gouda & Garlic and Ancient Grains, put plain cracker and crisps to shame. Another great find, I have stocked my pantry with these crispbreads.

Summer Food Festivals, Primizie Crispbreads, photo by Cristine Struble

Even Dandy Food’s offered a healthy option for festival goers. The conveniently packaged celery with peanut butter is a great on-the-go snack for any summer event. After all, a few servings of veggies can make anyone feel a little less guilty after indulging on all the wine, beer and delicious bites.

The Cocoa Beach Uncorked event is just one example of a summer food festival. A quick look at any city’s monthly event calendar shows many events. Chicago has Taste of Chicago, Ribfest and many neighborhood street festivals. The Wisconsin state fair and its iconic cream puffs usually have some inventive new foods to try. Any quick search on summer food festivals will produce hundreds of results.

Summer food festival, Cocoa Beach Uncorked, photo by Cristine Struble

Tips on attending a summer food festival.

A few things to consider when attending a food festival. First, understand the type of ticket you are buying. Some food festival tickets include all the food and beverage tastings in the ticket price. Other food festival tickets are just an admission fee, with food and beverage tasting at an additional cost. Understanding the food festival cost can help gauge your expectations.

Second, some food festivals are unlimited tastings and others are not. The tickets should state unlimited or a specific number. Also, some festivals are very specific on the beverage amounts poured. 10, 2 -ounce pours are very different than 10 cups of beer.

Lastly, food festivals are held at all types of locations. Weather and location should be taken into account. For example, South Beach Wine and Food Festival is held on the sand, literally. Wearing heals to that food festival could make the experience less enjoyable. Plan accordingly to make the event an entertaining one.

Next: Disney Springs adds Jaleo and Wine Bar George

Summer food festivals are a great way to explore new flavors, different foods and popular beverages. Plus, these events are a wonderful excuse to grab some friends and spend some time together. I’m looking at the local event calendar to see what’s next? Who’s ready to join me?