Presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, this four-day culinary celebration brings together celebrated regional chefs and world-renowned vintners. In the past seven years, the festival has raised more than $250,000 for area charities and remains the region’s top food and wine event, reinforcing the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination.
(Sarasota, Florida) Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, a four-day culinary festival presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO), unites food, wine and beer enthusiasts with preeminent regional chefs and celebrated vintners from around the world. The festival, January 23-26, 2015, features various winemaker events at area restaurants and retail shops (January 23, 24); interactive wine seminars (January 24); The Grand Tasting in The Ringling Museum’s courtyard (January 25); and a trade event for area restaurants, retailers and hoteliers (January 26). Each participating winery will submit wines of their choice to be judged by a panel of wine professionals in advance of the festival. Winning wines will be awarded gold, silver or bronze in a number of categories. Event goers will have an opportunity to purchase all of the wines—including the award-winners—at The Grand Tasting.
The Grand Tasting, which features signature dishes from the area’s top chefs, along with a vast array of wines and beers presented by guest vintners and breweries, is Sunday, January 25, noon to 4 p.m., at The Ringling.
The Grand Tasting’s general admission tickets are $95 (plus service charges). VIP tickets are $250 (plus service charges) and include a $100 wine voucher for purchases made at The Grand Tasting, VIP parking, early admission to the event, a champagne reception, a guided tour of the art museum, covered seating at the event, and an invitation to the kick-off party. Tickets to The Grand Tasting go on sale Monday, November 10, at 7 p.m., and can be purchased only online at: www.dineoriginal.com/forksandcorks. (See separate release attached about a special Patron Sponsor offer.)
This year’s The Grand Tasting will feature a silent auction of fine wines to benefit All Faiths Food Bank. “Raising money for area non-profit groups is a vital element of this event,” says Atkin. “We’ve raised more than $250,000 over the past seven years for our charitable partners and hope to continue to raise much needed money for these worthy organizations.”
According to Atkin, a main objective of Forks & Corks is to reinforce the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination.
“The restaurant industry is a vital part of our community’s economic make-up,” says Atkin. “In terms of how we sell Sarasota to the world, we see our part as integral to the big picture as are our beaches, climate and cultural amenities.” Atkin adds that the festival is an important way for Originals restaurants to market themselves to both residents and visitors.
“Participating restaurants almost always report increased new business immediately following the event,” she says. “The Grand Tasting is an invaluable tool to introduce menus and services to hundreds of foodies who may have never stepped through their doors.”
For more information about the eighth annual Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, visit www.dineoriginal.com/forksandcorks, or call 941-365-2800. For more information about The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, visit www.dineoriginal.com.
About the Sarasota-Manatee Originals
The Sarasota-Manatee Originals is a not-for-profit trade organization founded in 2003. Together, more than 50 locally-owned, independent restaurants throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties work collaboratively to celebrate and promote the creative cuisine of the region, from unique quick service eateries and waterfront family restaurants to award-winning fine dining establishments. Passionate member restaurateurs work together to produce community events, optimize cooperative marketing efforts and develop synergistic partnerships among members as they focus on preserving the culinary heritage of the region. With more Florida Trend and Zagat top-scoring restaurants within a 20-mile radius of downtown Sarasota than any other area in the Florida, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals is dedicated to sharing the area’s vibrant culinary scene with the world. For more information, call 941-365-2800 or visit www.dineoriginal.com.