KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Contemporary and traditional cuisine, a star-studded group of food and wine experts, and libations ranging from Spanish sherry to fine rums, mojitos, Bombay Sapphire Gin and wines from Argentina are to characterize the second annual Key West Bacchanalia. The gourmet gala is set for Thursday through Sunday, June 9-12, with a multifaceted menu of events for food and cocktail aficionados.
Standouts include culinary face-offs between Key West chefs and all-star competitors, rum and craft-brew fests, gin and mojito “mixology” demonstrations, the world’s best burger competition, a Latin-flavored sherry and tapas cocktail hour, wine and spirits seminars, dive opportunities on Keys reefs and wrecks, and an offbeat beer and barbecue bash for bulldogs and their human companions.
Culinary notables sharing their talents at Key West Bacchanalia include Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” contestant Howie “Bulldog” Kleinberg, nationally renowned chef and cuisine pioneer Norman Van Aken, leading American chef and restaurateur Cindy Hutson and Executive Chef Brendan Orr of Key West’s Rooftop Café.
Cocktail creators on hand are to include Tony Abou-Ganim, author of “The Modern Mixologist, Contemporary Classic Cocktails,” Junior Merino of “The Liquid Chef” fame, wine and spirits experts, writers and festival founders Aga and James Hilferty, Mark Drobiarz of ABC Bartending Schools and Rums of Puerto Rico mixologist Ahmed Naveira.
A panel of 100 industry leaders is to judge spirits and wine for the Bacchanalia Awards of Excellence.
The event benefits the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, which works to provide awareness, prevention, support and ultimately a cure for paralysis.
Event information, schedule and ticketing: www.keywestbacchanalia.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY