A Tasty Day at the Beach
It is nice to have busy friends. Sometimes they overbook themselves and end up giving me their tickets to some great events.
Such was the case in April when I found myself with a “free” VIP ticket in my hand to Cocoa Beach Uncorked. As an added benefit, it allowed me for the first time in years to feel the sand between my toes of one of world's preeminent beaches near Alan Shepard Park. I was one lucky guy that day.
This was the third year for Cocoa Beach Uncorked. Based on the crowd's response and quality of food and beverages, this annual event will have many years of smooth sailing ahead. How could any event fail with the catchphrase, “Sip. Savor. Repeat.”
Whether planned or not, the entrance is downwind of the chefs' tables. My mouth watered as I waited for the gates to open. I soon found myself standing under the 20,000 square-foot Grand Tasting Tent surrounded by 360 degrees of aromas. To pace myself, I decided on a formula: Two samples of food for every sip of spirits, or was it the other way around?
Either way, I had a delicious time.
The informal setting also made meeting new friends easy. It is hard to be pretentious when shoes are optional and ocean waves provide the soundtrack. I met Beth and Jay Herman of Melbourne who have attended every year. They come to test the flavors of new restaurants they had not discovered before.
I also met Savannah and Stephan Burnett, who traveled over from Orlando. They liked the option of unlimited food tasting. Judging by their technique of standing in separate lines, then joining back together to share what each found, they didn't leave hungry — nor thirsty. Of course, no one did.
I forgot to tell you about the great goody bag attendees receive. In addition to drinkables and eatables, many vendors give away various memorable trinkets, wrapped samples, and other pirate booty to enjoy later. Could this day get any better? My favorite trinket was the hands-free wine glass holder to wear around your neck. It is a great way to solve the serious wine spillage problem we have in this country.
When ready for a break, slide into a chair and watch one of the several ongoing cooking demonstrations. Like a puppy, I always sit in front hoping the chef will toss me a scrap or drop something which I can scoop up before it hits the ground, or at least within five seconds thereafter, according to the rule.
Mark your calendar for next year's event. Details can be found at CocoaBeachUncorked.com.
Not convinced yet? It is a two-day event, so if part of your weekend is occupied, you can attend on either a Saturday or a Sunday. Moreover, a portion of the ticket price will go to the Marine Resources Council to benefit the Indian River Lagoon. It's a win-win.
So, see you there. Just follow the sound of the wine corks. I won't be far away.
Read more in our DIGITAL MAGAZINE.