It’s a given that food and wine make a perfect pairing. But adding music to the marriage takes the tasty match to the next level.
The Southern Delaware Wine, Food & Music Festival—known as SoDel Fest, for short—celebrates all three on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in and around the clubhouse at Independence, a Millsboro community near Lewes.
Founder Stacy LaMotta is geared up for the festival, which received Southern Delaware Tourism’s 2019 Event of the Year award. This is the sixth year for the event. The 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19-related restrictions.
“We’re thrilled to be back this year—better than ever,” she says. “We have 20-plus restaurant participants, as well as wine, spirits and craft beers.”
Participating restaurants include Bramble & Brine at The Buttery, a new eatery which is scheduled to open this fall in Lewes.
“Owner Megan Kee is giving us a preview at SoDel Fest,” LaMotta says. “She is also bringing Dalmata.”
Kaisey’s Delights, located in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, will provide the French fare for “Breakfast in Paris,” which will feature sommelier Ray Kurz of Cuvee Ray Wine Academy. The VIP pre-fest event begins at 11 a.m. and will focus on French wine, including Champagne.
Two other “events within an event” are free to ticketholders. Art on the Rocks pairs a bartender with an artist. The eight teams will compete to best represent the flavors and beauty of Sussex County.
A Chopped-inspired Chef Throwdown returns this year with a new twist. “Surf vs. Turf” pits a coastal Sussex County chef against one from the inland area. Participating chefs on the Surf team include Colby Hill of 14 Global, Kathleen Hy of Salt Air and Frederick Lee of Beebe Healthcare. On the Turf team is Franco Brattoli of Two Meatballs, Frank Dubinski of Plate & Palette and Osvaldo Ayala of Left’s Alley and Eats.
The contest will be hosted by local TV and radio personality Michael Sprouse. Judges include Dr. David Tam, president and CEO of Beebe Healthcare; Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association; and James Beard Award nominee Matt Kern, executive chef at One Coastal in Fenwick Island.
This year’s featured musicians are Keith Mack and Taylor Knox.
Tickets are $125 each. The VIP “Breakfast in Paris” is an additional $35.
This year, attendance is limited to 500 people.
“It’s always fun,” LaMotta says. “People genuinely have a really good time tasting food from 20 different restaurants all under one roof.”
For tickets and information, visit sodelfest.com.