If you love food and wine as much as I do, pack your bags right now and get down to Key West for the 11th Annual Food & Wine Festival happening Sunday, January 26 – through Sunday, February 2.

With gourmet galas and tastings, tours and seminars, parties and lots of tasty “Only in–Key West experiences,” this foodie extravaganza will simply blow you away.

One of the festival’s biggest events (and my personal favorite) is the highly anticipated Grand Tasting. Embracing this year’s “One Island |One Ocean | One Earth” theme, the “Turtles & Sharks & Mermaids – Oh My” Grand Tasting, which takes place on Friday, January 31 from 2 – 5pm, is being held among the undersea denizens at the Key West Aquarium.

Surrounded by creatures of the deep, you can sample fine vintages and inventive offerings from both land and sea, all served by “mermaids,” courtesy of the Key West Mermaid Festival. If you’re feeling really courageous (wine will do that), you may even get to pet a shark – Oh, My!

Another one of my all time favorites is “Old Town Uncorked Unleashed,” an adventurous afternoon wine stroll from 2 – 5pm on Sunday, February 1 that spans the length of Key West’s renowned Duval Street.

Prepare yourself for this one because it’s an over-the-top, mile-long “sipping and shopping” spree that will put you through your paces.

Other stand-out happenings include a Sunset Kick-Off Party aboard the historic US Coast Guard Cutter Ingham, now a military museum moored at Key West’s Truman Waterfront Park; a Coral Reef Wine Tour & Lunch where you can learn about pioneering coral restoration efforts, and a Paella Cook-Off at the “summer White House” of former US President Harry Truman.

And if that isn’t already enough, this year’s extensive schedule also includes a Tropical Garden and Historic Architecture Tour & Tasting; Cannabis & Culinary Workshops; the Master Chef’s Classic Tasting & Competition, a traditional Stock Island Shrimp Boil; the “Let Them Eat Cake” French Revolution Masquerade Dance Party and a whole lot more.

Have I whet your appetite yet? Then hit up keywestfoodandwinefestival.com and find out all the deeds. Cheers!