Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival: March 31-April 3, Monterey, CA

Is eating fantastic food cooked by some of the country's best chefs while sipping top wines from around the world your idea of a good time? I thought so. How about doing this on one of the most beautiful stretches of California coastline imaginable?

That's pretty much the shortest summary I could come up with for the event known as the Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, a star-studded event that continues to serve as the premier food and wine event held in California every year. While the event has gone through several incarnations under different organizations and ownerships, it has remained the event with the most famous chefs and the most sought-after wines of any public tasting on West Coast.

Held at The Inn at Spanish Bay and the Pebble Beach Resort in Monterey County, the event features cooking demonstrations, fabulous meals, wine seminars, evening parties, and a grand tasting that feature the handiwork of Michelin starred chefs from around the country, some of the top sommeliers in America, and some of the world's greatest wines.

By way of example, this year includes a tasting of wines from Burgundy's Domaine Faiveley, food from Joshua Skenes of Saison Restaurant, a cooking demonstration by Jonathan Waxman, and a seminar highlighting the "newest" cult Cabernets from Napa. Many more sessions and tasting opportunities exist, so you'll want to pop on over to the event's web site to check them out and see if anything appeals to you.

Tickets are going fast, and many things will likely sell out, so if you're looking for something tasty to do the last weekend in March, better start planning now!

Ninth Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival
Grand Tasting Sunday April 3
12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
The Inn at Spanish Bay
Equestrian Center
2700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953

Tickets for the event start at $100 for some wine seminars, and go up from there. A ticket to Sunday's Grand Tasting will set you back $225. Some seminars are sold out, but many are still available, and tickets to the Grand Tasting are also still available, but will sell out soon. Get yours today online, and if you plan to stay overnight, make sure you make those arrangements as soon as possible, (or check to see if you can find a room, as they may be scarce).

2016 Flavor! Napa Valley Festival: March 16-20, Napa

Do you dream of rubbing shoulders with celebrity chefs while eating phenomenal food and drinking amazing wines? Then Napa is just the place for you. With the right itinerary, the motivated wine lover could certainly accomplish this trifecta of gourmet aspirations any day of the year in Napa, but in a few weeks, anyone with a ticket to Flavor! Napa Valley will simply wallow in such pleasures for five whole days.

Flavor! Napa Valley was conceived of as a world-class food and wine experience that would both showcase the phenomenal talents in the Napa Valley, while giving back to one of the institutions that has made Napa such a destination for food and wine lovers: the Culinary Institute of America. The profits from this star-studded event go to fund scholarships at the CIA.

Anyone who has been to, or dreamed of going to, events such as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic or Masters of Food and Wine at Pebble Beach will understand the type of event that we're talking about here. Think lectures, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, multi-course dinners, and excursions into the heart of Napa Valley, all done in the highest of style.

In past years, this event has taken place in the somewhat chilly weeks of November, but in its new incarnation it will take advantage of Spring's bloom.

The full schedule of events can be found online, but some of the highlights include a retrospective tasting of Chateau Montelena and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, two of the winners of the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976 that changed the wine world forever; an in-depth interview with SF Chronicle restaurant reviewer Michael Bauer; a class on higher-altitude Napa wines; and of course the grand tasting event.

If you're looking for something to do around St. Patrick's day, you'd be hard pressed to find something tastier than Flavor! Napa Valley.

Flavor! Napa Valley 2016
March 16-20, 2016
Locations throughout Napa Valley
& The Culinary Institute of America
St. Helena, CA

Ticket packages for multiple events range from $265 to $1555, while individual tickets range from $80 to $280. Buy your tickets online here.