This exciting one day event was held in the beautiful Italian District of Tianjin, it showcased twenty wines and spirits along with twenty international restaurants. Festivities included food demonstrations featuring local and international chefs displaying their varied techniques, and wine seminars, led by expert members of the Florida International University faculty along with representatives from the sponsor companies.
Festival highlights include:
• Wine & Spirits Tastings from Local & International Distributors
• Food Tastings from Local & International Restaurants
• Food Demonstrations by Local & International Chefs
• Wine & Mixology Seminars by Industry Experts and Faculty demonstrations
In 1997 a one-day wine and food event, known as The Florida Extravaganza, originated on the campus of Florida International University in North Miami, Florida. The event showcased approximately 30 wines from national and international wineries paired with food from an equal number of local restaurants and chefs. The proceeds benefited FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and students took an active role in the preparation and execution of the event.
Over the course of the years, the event has grown from its beginning phase as a campus based event to an internationally recognized event. This process took twelve (12) years, as the event transitioned in 2001 to a one day event known as The South Beach Wine and Food Festival, eventually evolving over the last 9 years into the four day event it is today. Last year 53,000 guests attended the overall event which now includes not only a wine and food tasting, but numerous wine seminars, dinners, culinary seminars and other activities around the South Beach area. In 2009, the school received over two million dollars in benefits from sponsorships and ticket sales at the festival.
From the beginning there have been corporate partners. In the initial years, Southern Wine and Spirits, a liquor distribution company, was the primary sponsor. A media sponsor and an airline sponsor were included. Over the years, the role of corporate sponsors has grown substantially, and in 2010 included Food Network as the Title Sponsor, Food and Wine Magazine as the Presenting Sponsor, the New York Times as the Premier Sponsor and a dozen companies each in the categories of Platinum, Diamond, Gold and Silver Sponsors. Sponsors donate both cash and in-kind product and all proceeds benefit the FIU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
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