We all read about great food and wine festivals from coast to coast that seem like the perfect excuse to hop on a plane and indulge in a weekend full of oysters, sparkling wines, truffles, or some other supreme local fare. But then motivations quickly deflate as you begin to trudge through “last seats available at this price!” warnings, particularly when that price is upwards of $500.
So this year, we’ve rounded up a handful of fantastic travel packages geared toward food festival enthusiasts, brought to us by CheapOair and their many hotel partners. Whether you’re looking to spend a weekend on the beach tasting all that Key West has to offer later this month or feel like skipping town for wine country, these deals have you covered, with airfare and hotel reservations on the cheap so all there is left to do is enjoy a culinary-obsessed weekend. Without further ado, here are five tempting reasons to skip town this month. (We also hear that resolutions are drowned out by airplane noise, so those should prove to be no problem.)
Keep in mind that to get the exact prices listed below, you have to book by Jan. 22.
San Francisco’s Zinfandel Festival: Jan. 26–28
This festival, in its 21st year, showcases the flavors and stories of more than 50 top zinfandel wines via food pairings, chats with winemakers, wine flights, a grand tasting, and a celebratory gala.
Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend: Jan. 26-28
Hosted by Food & Wine magazine, this festival pairs winter sports with food and wine for three days of skiing, snowshoeing, wine tasting, and indulgent dinners. Chefs’ dinners, wine seminars, an après-ski burger and beer event, early morning skiers' breakfasts, a snowshoe with picnic lunch afternoon, and of course, a grand tasting, pack this weekend full of fun and food.
Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival: Jan. 27-29
Hilton Head’s 27th annual Wine and Food Festival kicks off this year with a BYOB-style event where winemakers, wine lovers, and festival-goers come together to sample fantastic wines from around the world. The weekend continues with an international wine competition, a “Great Chefs of the South” dinner (complete with pairings), a bartender’s challenge, and demonstrations on healthy cooking. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Lee Coursey)
Key West Food & Wine Festival: Jan. 26-29
This still-new festival, now in its third year, focuses on the area’s covetable seafood and paradise-like year-round weather. Events include a Barefoot Beach Party, wine “strolls” through town, a chocolate and wine pairing seminar, an evening highlighting the flavors and wines of Italy, a traditional pig roast (with pairings), and ample events to sample the day’s freshest catch.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival: Feb. 23-26
Food Network and Food & Wine magazine come together each year to host the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, bringing chefs, experts, and aficionados together for one sun-drenched weekend. There are more events over the course of the long weekend than can really be listed here, but they include a seminar with Wine Spectator, a Swine and Wine dinner hosted by Pat LaFrieda Meats, a barbecue with Michael Symon, and a “Rum, Cigars, and Sparkling Wine” Cuban-inspired brunch with Aarón Sanchez.