A Refill of Forks and Corks 2024

Good Bite

Pictured: The champagne bell at Forks and Corks. Photo by Peter Acker.

This weekend, food and wine lovers descended upon Sarasota for the 2024 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival. Put on by a group of local restaurants known as the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, Forks and Corks celebrates dining in our region and allows visitors to sample wines from across the globe.

A fan-favorite event is the Grand Tasting, held in the courtyard at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Amidst the courtyard’s lush greenery and beautiful statues, the Grand Tasting opened a portal into local restaurants and far-flung vineyards. Attendees indulged in wine from around the world and sipped on cocktails in coconuts or made with infused vodkas. At one booth, visitors could procure champagne by ringing a bell attached to a leafy facade with openings just large enough to fit a glass.

A plethora of local restaurants participated in the event, each with its own table laden with delicious morsels. The Global Market area featured international restaurants, from JPAN Sushi and Grill to Bevardi’s Salute. One area of the Global Market was called the Fiesta and highlighted Mexican and Latin-American-inspired cuisine. At the Kolucan booth, Gino Callejas and his team served up mouthwatering cochinita pibil, a traditional Yucatan pork dish. In the afternoon, a mariachi band played at the Fiesta, creating a festive atmosphere.

Many eateries showcased their take on tuna dishes, a popular trend this year. Each sample, whether a mini crab cake from The Ringling Grillroom or a sweet cinnamon roll from The Breakfast Company, represented the care and effort that local restauranteurs put into each of their dishes. “The Sarasota-Manatee Originals was founded 20 years ago when its members found a need to unite as one, and they found that they were stronger together,” says Liza Kubik, who does marketing and communications for the Sarasota-Manatee Originals. “Twenty years later, a lot of the restauranteurs are telling me that it's never been a harder time to own a restaurant. The post-Covid effect, with staffing shortages and price increases, is causing it to be a very challenging industry.” With every bite they enjoyed, attendees had the opportunity to savor local food, and hopefully, keep supporting these establishments for years to come.

To learn more about the Sarasota-Manatee Originals, visit eatlikealocal.com.

Pictured: The champagne bell at Forks and Corks. Photo by Peter Acker.

Sarasota-Manatee Originals

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