The Florida Film Festival has always been known not just for showing great movies, but for throwing a great party. But when festival organizers officially added the “Film, Food & Wine Celebration” to their lineup in 2007, the fun got kicked up a notch as they started programming culinary films, forums, panels and parties in earnest and attracting celebs like Eric Schlosser, Bill Buford and Anthony Bourdain.
While the overt connection between the culinary and the cinematic has grown tenuous over the years, the traditional Saturday foodie panel has gained in prestige and liveliness – rather than simply mingling at the parties, chefs and food writers tell tall tales and make outrageous accusations at the annual Southern foodways-focused discussion. (This year’s panel is scheduled for a Sunday morning, meaning hangovers from Saturday night’s feast may loosen tongues. Fingers crossed.) Interspersed with the usual Sunday brunches, opening and closing night parties, and the traditional Italian Cinema Night (this year, Fellini’s 8 1/2 and free food samples from Buca di Beppo), here are the highlights:
A Taste of Movie Magic with Francine Segan (4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Enzian; $10) The author of Movie Menus shares film clips of favorite food scenes; guests can order from a menu of dishes inspired by movie quotes.
Saturday Night Whole Cookery Feast (7 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Cask & Larder, 565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; $150-$250) Start calorie-banking now, and schedule a juice cleanse starting Monday morning. This is the night local chefs James and Julie Petrakis go big with whole roasted suckling pigs, whole smoked ducks, whole roasted fish and a whole roasted lamb.
Southern Fare: Tales From Great Storytellers (11 a.m. Sunday, April 7, at Enzian; $10) "Well, butter my behind and call me a biscuit." Practice saying that with conviction, and you'll fit right in at this event. An assortment of local chefs is joined by Martha Hall Foose (Screen Doors and Sweet Tea), Donald Bender (Mississippi’s Mockingbird Bakery), lady moonshine distiller Troy Ball, and Southern Foodways Alliance filmmaker Joe York, along with some of the subjects of his film Pride and Joy (see our review), including Will Harris of White Oak Pastures, one of our favorite faces from the movie.
Revel 22 (8 p.m. Saturday, April 13, atRick’s Speakeasy, 1116 Solana Ave., Winter Park; $20) This year’s closing night party takes a speakeasy theme in a nearby classic-car garage — think the Jack Rabbit Slim’s scene from Pulp Fiction – and rumors abound of a pop-up theme park (yes) nearby: a spooky, gaslit Victorian entertainment dubbed the Celluloid Circus. Get your secret invitation to the circus at the Revel (celluloidcircus.com).
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