As expected, this year's Naples Wine Festival broke records. The auction brought in $12.2 million, a full million over last year's total. 100 percent of the money raised will go go to help children. Last year, 20 charities received $7.04 million of the $11.2 million raised. Tickets to the event cost $7,500 per couple and bidding was held in a large white tent with tables decorated with a brightly-colored circus theme. Some of the highest bids included a 2006 silver-gray Continental Flying Spur Bentley for a high bid of $440,000, $520,000 for a "Capri Red" 2006 Ferrari Spyder and $520,000 for a one-week yachting excursion on the Mediterranean. Emeril Lagasse joined in the fun offering to cook an additional meal to add to those donated by four other famous chefs in an auction lot called "Kick it Up a Notch in the Big Apple" and acted as temporary auctioneer. Lagasse also bid $420,000, with a second bidder, for an auction lot called "The Perfect Getaway," featuring a trip with six couples for seven days and six nights aboard the 177-foot yacht Katharine through the Mediterranean Sea. The article doesn't say who won the Rolls-Royce Phantom that was auctioned off.
What could be better than food, wine and fun in South Beach? The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a three-day celebration of food and wine indulgence February 24 – Sunday, February 26. Events include the Moët & Chandon BubbleQ with grillmaster Bobby Flay & friends, wine tasting seminars and luncheons and a special dinner to honor the grand master of quirky cuisine, Ferran Adrià that will be attended by top chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller and Nobu Matsuhisa and hosted by Anthony Bourdain. The dinner is followed by a dessert party and the next day dessert chef Maida Heatter receives a lifetime achievement award at a special tribute brunch. Many of the most noted food and wine personalities are attending the event and there are even cooking demonstrations for kids that will include Emeril Lagasse, Alton Brown and Rachael Ray. Weekend passes are already sold out but many of the ala carte ticket options are still available including the Celebrity Chefs Golf Invitational which costs $500 per person. The picture shown here is of Todd English at last year's festival. English will also be participating this year in the Sunday tribute brunch and Wine Spectator's Best of the Best event on Friday night.