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The four-day culinary and wine celebration brought together celebrated area chefs, world-renowned vintners and industry insiders. The event also raised thousands of dollars for The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and The American Red Cross.(Sarasota, Florida) Forks & Corks, the four-day food and wine festival presented by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, was “a complete success,” says Kate Atkin, executive director of The Sarasota-Manatee Originals. The festival, which ran January 27-30, 2012, featured interactive food and wine seminars, vintner events at area Originals restaurants, a trade tasting for restaurants, retail and hotels, and The Grand Tasting at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Atkin says that the all-day event at the museum, The Grand Tasting, attracted more than 1,500 attendees. “We experienced the fastest sell-out ever," she says. "The Grand Tasting was sold out eight days after tickets went on sale!” The Grand Tasting featured signature dishes from over 40 Originals member restaurants, wines from more than 80 vintners, live entertainment, and a charity wine auction to benefit The American Red Cross. According to Atkin, the silent auction raised more than $6,000. The event also raised more than $25,000 for The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. New this year was a retail wine area where guests were able to buy bottles of wines sampled at the event"We sold more than 4,000 bottles of wine in the retail area," says Michael Klauber, co-chair of The Grand Tasting and co-proprietor of Michael’s on East. "It was so popular that we've decided to include it again next year."The festival also featured winemaker events at Originals member restaurants and two wine seminars. One seminar, presented by leading Italian vintners, showcased some of Italy's most prestigious wines. A second seminar, presented by winemakers from Oregon, California and France, explored the intricacies of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. “It was a truly inspired festival—from start to finish!” says Klauber. “Every event was sold out. It's very heartening to participate in something that works so smoothly and delights so many people.” Klauber says that a main objective of Forks & Corks is to reinforce the Sarasota-Manatee region as a significant culinary destination. “The restaurant industry is a vital part of our community’s economic make-up,” he says. “In terms of how we sell Sarasota to the world, we see our part as integral to the big picture as are our pristine beaches, wonderful climate and rich cultural amenities.” Atkin says that the event is also an important way for Originals restaurants to market themselves— especially in a tough market. “Participating restaurants almost always report increased revenues immediately following the event,” she says. “The Grand Tasting is an invaluable tool to introduce menus and services to hundreds of people who may never have stepped through their doors.” Next year’s festival is January 25-28, 2013. "We’re already getting requests from vintners to be a part of it, and from the public to purchase tickets," Atkin says. 
 
2012 FORKS & CORKS FUN FACTS
 
Winemaker events/dinners
  • 17 different winemaker events took place over the weekend at various Sarasota-Manatee Original member restaurants, private residences and at event partner’s resort.
  • 589 guests attended these events, which included casual tastings, luncheons, and multi-coursed, formal dinners.
  • 26 different winemakers from around the globe were guests of honor at these winemaker
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Tickets still available for “The World of Pinot Noir & Cabernet is King”. Saturday, January 28 ~ 9:30 am – 2:30 pm. Educational, inspiring and delicious—these interactive seminars are led by recognized wine experts from around the world. Tickets for the "The World of Pinot Noir & Cabernet is King," wine seminar, tasting and four-course gourmet lunch, are still available—but going fast, says Kate Atkin, executive director of The Sarasota Manatee Originals. "We've sold out the 'Vino Italia!' session but still have a few tickets left for the full-day seminar.” Both events are part of Forks & Corks University, interactive seminars and tastings led by recognized wine experts from around the world. Forks & Corks University is a popular part of the Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival, a four-day event, which runs January 27-30, 2012. "The World of Pinot Noir & Cabernet is King" is Saturday, January 28, 2012, 9:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m., at Michael's Wine Cellar, 1212 East Ave. S., Sarasota. The program features a diverse selection of Pinot Noir wines in the morning and a four-course gourmet lunch catered by the Sarasota-Manatee Originals member restaurants, featuring wine pairings with each course. Following lunch, guests will sample and learn about Cabernet Sauvignon. Tickets are $110 per person and can be only purchased online. "These educational seminars are what set Forks & Corks apart from most other wine and cuisine festivals," says Michael Klauber, Forks & Corks events co-chair. "It takes it to another level. Guests are not just passively consuming—they’re also absorbing the expertise of world-renowned wine experts."
 
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The Sarasota-Manatee Originals is partnering with Historic Spanish Point to celebrate “Mrs. Palmer Returns,” November 20 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m., on the grounds of Mrs. Potter Palmer’s former estate now known as Historic Spanish Point, 337 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey.

Enjoy dishes from Originals members Euphemia Haye, Libby’s Café + Bar, Michael’s On East, Sharky’s On The Pier, and Siesta Key Oyster Bar. Activities include live music and outdoor games. Tickets are $35 for Historic Spanish Point members and $40 for the general public. A silent auction and raffle will also be held with proceeds to benefit Historic Spanish Point. Tickets may be purchased online at www.historicspanishpoint.org or call Laura Dean at 941-966-5214 Ext. 295.

 

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Chef Douglas is a recent addition to the long-standing Siesta Key Oyster Bar. After graduating from Florida State University, Douglas began his culinary exploration of the South and North Eastern United States. Whether sautéing frog legs in Louisiana, kneading seitan in Brooklyn, tossing vodka rigs in Jersey, or shucking oysters in the Village, Douglas is ready to please his guests. Come join him, and the rest of the SKOB family, for some good food, good drinks, and good times.

 

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