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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Chocolate lover's dream back at Pinecrest Gardens

Pouring chocolate wine.

I'm gonna be getting my chocolate fix at The Miami Fine Beverage, Chocolate and Food Show (“Fine Food Show”) when it returns in March. More than 70 specialty food and beverage vendors  will be sharing chocolate in over 30,000 square-feet of exhibitor space. Expanding South Miami’s flavored footprint in the culinary world, the annual event is slated for March 8 - 9 at Pinecrest Gardens. It features “The Miami Smoke Affair” pop-up cigar lounge, craft beers and spirits, chocolate-infused liqueurs, gourmet chocolate companies, cooking demonstrations and seminars and an international selection of restaurants.  

A dynamic program for both amateurs and the seasoned palate, the Fine Food Show is conceived as an accessible and affordable celebration with a choice of ticketed admission to the tasting marketplace for as low as $20, and an all-inclusive package at $95 boasting bottomless beverages, unlimited food tastings and festival perks. 

Launching the inaugural Fine Food Show in Chicago in 2012, founder and president Mario Pi created a Miami edition in response to consumer demand for a specialty chocolate and craft beverage concept. “We are excited to be partnering with such high-quality, innovative groups in offering a program that’s uniquely accessible in its price point,” said Pi. “We’ve thus far received overwhelming support from the chef community and the public at large, whose record attendance in 2013 prompted us to add a whole new component -‘The Miami Smoke Affair’ - for cigar lovers.”   

Last year's event.
Fine Food Show attendees can expect a roster of expertly curated craft beers and spirits. With Gold Coast Distributors, Miami Club Rum and Dobel at the helm of the two-day event, headliners will include Jose Cuervo, Three Olives Vodka and Kraken Black Spiced Rum. Chocolate-themed liqueurs will also be flowing beyond the fondue-fountain with Chopin Vodka’s chocolate infusion, a chocolate-wine blend by Gallo Wines and chocolate rum by Varela Imports.

Pi has also selected some of the top names in the chocolate industry, focusing on quality purveyors that offer some of the best single-source and original blends.  With Bark of Joy as the official category sponsor, chocolatiers from all parts of the country will be putting their best food forward, including Wicked Jacks and their famed chocolate rum cake; Romanico Chocolatier; and Miami’s own Illegal Bakery, known for their chocolate macaroons. 

A highlight of the cooking demonstration and seminar series, James Beard award-winning Chef Allen Susser, a South Florida “Mango Gang” original, will present a rare single-source chocolate tasting from Nick Troubetzkoy’s Emerald Estate in St. Lucia. ‘Chef Allen Susser: A Bean-to-Bar Chocolatier’.

The main tasting gardens will showcase cigar vendors, and in an enhanced experience tailored to connoisseurs, “The Miami Smoke Affair” sponsored by Cigar Cellar & Lounge will make its grand debut at the Fine Food Show as a pop-up event. With access granted at a separate fee of $95, this cigar tent will present more than 15 brands, and ticket-holders can enjoy the unlimited open bar, a cigar swag bag and complimentary valet. Featured participants include Gurkha, My Father, Room 101, Camacho, Rocky Patel, Drew Estate, Nat Sherman and La Hoja de Flores, to name a few. 

The restaurant area of the Fine Food Show, Restaurant Row, will further comprise a global variety of eateries.

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