SOURCE: Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

December 08, 2009 08:30 ET

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented by Food & Wine Are Pleased to Welcome the French Ambassador to the United States to the 2010 Festival

The Honorable Pierre Vimont Joins Festival Celebration of France

MIAMI BEACH, FL--(Marketwire - December 8, 2009) - Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival are pleased to announce that the French Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Pierre Vimont, will join the Festival in a special celebration of the Champagne Region of France and the cuisine of France in 2010. Festival Host Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is proud to showcase France's great champagne producers in South Florida for this celebration.

"We are honored to welcome Ambassador Vimont to the Festival this year," notes Mel Dick, president, wine division and senior vice president of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and himself a recipient of the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur from the French government. "We are pleased to host the principals from the greatest Champagne houses, and to celebrate the prestige and elegance of champagne."

Ambassador Vimont will host an exclusive champagne lounge at Wine Spectator's Best of the Best, sponsored by Bank of America, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Friday, February 26, 2010. The celebration of Champagne, France's most famous export, will add flair never before experienced at this illustrious event. Champagne will accentuate the sampling plates assembled by celebrated chefs and an international array of fine wines -- each recognized as superior by Wine Spectator -- will provide another welcome opportunity to try something new and refined.

The Festival is also pleased to honor one of the most celebrated French culinary icons in the United States. The 2010 Tribute Dinner will honor world-renowned chef from Lyon, France, Daniel Boulud -- recipient of the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur from the French government for his contribution to the advancement of French culinary culture. Sponsored by Bank of America and part of The New York Times Dinner Series, the celebration will take place at the Festival host hotel, the Loews Miami Beach, and Food & Wine's Gail Simmons -- once the special events manager for Chef Boulud's restaurant empire -- will host the special tribute evening.

Some of the world's most highly regarded chefs celebrate Chef Boulud's talent and pay homage to a career that foresees many years and accomplishments still ahead. His own executive chefs will prepare the reception courses, including Zach Bell, Café Boulud (Palm Beach, FL), Jean Francois Bruel, Daniel (New York, NY) and Olivier Muller, DB Bistro Moderne (New York, NY). Dinner chefs include: Paul Bartolotta, BARTOLOTTA Ristorante Di Mare (Las Vegas, NV), Michael Laiskonis, Le Bernardin (New York, NY), Nobu Matsuhisa, Nobu (South Beach, FL), Gordon Maybury, Loews Miami Beach (South Beach, FL), Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin (New York, NY), and Claude Troisgros, Blue Door at Delano (South Beach, FL).

French wine, spirits and cuisine will also be featured at the Celebrate France! tent at the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village this year. On Saturday, February 27th and Sunday, February 28th, this unique environment will delight guests with a variety of quality wines and spirits, creamy cheeses, and more. The Celebrate France! area will also will also offer guests educational opportunities through culinary demonstrations focused on French cuisine and mini wine seminars at "Le Tasting Bar."

Tickets for all Festival events can be purchased online at www.sobewineandfoodfest.com or by calling 877.762.3933. Follow Festival Founder and Director Lee Schrager all year long at www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager.

About the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival

All proceeds of the Festival benefit the Florida International University (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center located on the Biscayne Bay campus. FIU students also assist festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world's greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers. In addition to receiving a first-rate education in one of the country's most diversified hospitality and tourism markets, these students are provided the opportunity to work hands-on with some of the industry's most experienced leaders.

The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food &Wine is produced by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit www.sobewineandfoodfest.com or call 877-762-3933. For more information about Florida International University visit www.fiu.edu, for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management visit www.hospitality.fiu.edu and for more information about Southern Wine & Spirits visit www.southernwine.com.

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