Toes in the sand, drink in your hand, Barilla Bites On The Beach highlighted the best of Italian food.
The annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is a foodies dream. From celebrity chef sightings to parties all night long, the annual festival is must for the serious food lover. At the beginning of the multi-day event, Barilla Bites On The Beach showcased the brightest and best Italian foods and cocktails.
Barilla Bites On The Beach, photo by Cristine Struble
The Thursday night event was hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli and Valerie Bertinelli. Both chefs/television personalities met with guests, took to the main stage and created dueling pasta style dishes. Having two women headlining a main event was inspiring. Often women chefs have a nuanced approach to cooking. The two chefs varied palates were prevalent in their Italian dishes. These dishes embodied varied styles of Italian cuisine.
Barrilla Bites On The Beach, pasta bites, photo by Cristine Struble
Chef Guarnaschelli is known as a restaurateur and chef-personality. From her hosting duties on several Food Network shows, liked Chopped, Guarnaschelli has a very clear vision to her food. Guarnaschelli’s dish, from her restaurant Butter, was a more classic, heartier composed pasta dish. The layered flavors were robust, yet nuanced.
Barilla Bites On The Beach, Valerie’s Home Cooking, photo by Cristine Struble
From Valerie’s Kitchen, the béchamel based pasta dish was a creamy, almost decadent option. Béchamel, a white sauce, is often associated with fettucine Alfredo. While the dishes were vastly different, it was difficult to choose a favorite.
Barilla Bites On The Beach crudo, photo by Cristine Struble
Italian food is more than just pasta and red sauce as seen at Barilla Bites On The Beach.
Barilla Bites On The Beach showcased the varied aspects of Italian cuisine. Some of the most inspired, creative dishes focused on fish. The Clam’s, Mike Prince, Red Snapper crudo was a delightfully balanced bite. Maybe with the sand and beach backdrop, crudo is somewhat expected, but this dish’s flavors were spot on. The dish combined Red Snapper with Sicillian pistachios, grapefruit, basil and Campari emulsion.
Barilla Bites On The Beach, seared tuna with espresso crust, photo by Cristine Struble
Other seafood highlights included tuna crusted in espresso. The espresso crust stood up to the fatty, seared tuna. The slightly bitter coffee flavor is a creative twist to a crust for fish. The flavor combination was unexpected yet highly sophisticated for the beach-side food festival.
Saluti to Italian cocktails at Barilla Bites On The Beach
Since eating your way through a food festival creates an unquenched thirst, Barilla Bites On The Beach features a wide array of Italian inspired cocktails and wines (non-alcoholic beverages were also available). Many of the cocktails used Italian spirits as its inspiration. From a Negroni Sbagliato, featuring Campari, to an Aperol Spritz, these cocktails were meant to be sipped and savored. Even Coke got into the cocktail spirit with a Bucking Branca, featuring fernet.
Barilla Bites On The Beach Aperol Spritz, photo by Cristine Struble
In addition to the cocktails, the event offered a wide variety of other beverages. Italian wines varied from crisp pinot grigio to a sippable Brunello. Wine is always delightful with Italian food and the variety allow party goers to try many varietals. Also, beer, cider and soda was available. SmartWater, an event sponsor, ensured that guests were well hydrated with their still and sparkling electrolyte waters.
A food event isn’t complete without a sweet ending.
Barilla Bites On The Beach Cannoli, photo by Cristine Struble
After the pastas, crudos and even pizzas, the evening wouldn’t be complete without dessert. Barilla Bites on the Beach offered cupcakes, gelato and, of course, cannolis. Filled on site, the cannoli offered a crisp pastry filled with a creamy, sweet filling. Other highlights included a lemoncello cupcake and spiked raspberry gelato. These treats proved a sweet ending to a fabulous food event.
Barilla Bites On The Beach was one event of many events and dinners at the 16th Annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The 2018 SOBEWFF will be held February 21-25, 2018.