Fun (Plus Lots of Food and Wine) in the Sun

If you’re a foodie…or even if you’re not…you’ve probably heard of Paula Deen.

You may own one of her cookbooks. She has sold more than 10 million of them.

Or you may have seen her on TV. On the Food Network, she has hosted “Paula’s Home Cooking,” “Paula’s Party” and “Paula’s Best Dishes”).

You may even have dined at one of her restaurants. The original, The Lady and Sons, is located in Savannah, Georgia. The Paula Deen Buffet is inside Harrah’s Tunica Casino in Tunica County, Mississippi. Other casino locations have followed.

Much like fellow celebrity chef Rachael Ray, Paula Deen is seemingly everywhere. And come the long weekend of April 18-21, she will be all over the27th annual Sandestin Wine Festival, hosted by Destin, Florida’s Sandestine Golf & Beach Resort.

The “big event” will take place on Saturday: “A Southern Lunch.” It will feature some of Deen’s favorite dishes, paired with wines, plus a photo opportunity with Deen and admission to the festival’s Grand Wine Tasting. At $195, it is the highest priced of the festival’s individually ticketed events.

But there are other ways to encounter Deen, including a book signing at the Events Plaza Stage (bring your own Deen cookbook and she’ll sign it), and a pair of 30-minute cooking demonstrations at the Coastal Living Cooking Stage.

Both the book signing (limited to the first 150 people) and the cooking demonstrations (with limited seating) are included with festival general admission tickets.

Other ticketed events include a Sunday Brunch ($38), a VIP Connoisseur’s Event ($150), and a five-course wine dinner, featuring the wines of Alexander Valley Vineyards, aboard SunQuest Cruises’ Solaris yacht ($115).

Destin is located along Florida’s Emerald Coast—about 320 miles due west of Jacksonville, between Pensacola and Panama City—and is known for its emerald green waters and well-kept white sand beaches.

And for four days in April, it also will be known for great food and great wine.

Posted in Wine Buzz
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