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The Healthier Side Of The South Beach Wine And Food Festival

Lisann Ramos

There’s no doubt the South Beach Wine and Food Festival includes many mouth-watering events. The Amstel Light Burger Bash and the Death By Chocolate Dessert Party certainly paint images of dietary free-falls.

But the festival is also starting to reflect growing health trends that are sweeping the nation.  

In only two years, the Buddhas and Bellinis event has become a huge hit. On both Saturday and Sunday of the festival, 200 people gathered by the pool of the Raleigh Hotel on South Beach for a yoga class.

"At times during these festivals you just indulge so much and the scale kind of tips literally and figuratively to one side. And if you can add a yoga component, it gives your tummy a little bit of a break," said Dawn B. Feinberg, who instructed the class. 

Credit Chira Cassel
An Heirloom Tomato Lasagna made by Chef Matthew Kenney at the festival's vegan dinner.

Chira Cassel is the director of The Sacred Space in Wynwood.The lifestyle center helped produce the healthier SoBeWFF events such as Buddhas and Bellinis, and a sold-out vegan dinner.

"A lot of people said to me, 'The food looked incredible. Then I tasted it and it tasted delicious. Then I went home and I felt great,'" said Cassel. "Miami is a city that's always about looking good. And now people are starting to think, 'You know what? I can’t just look good. I gotta feel good.'"

Other health-conscious events at the festival included Fun and Fit as a Family at Jungle Island and Surf & Surf: A Sustainable Seafood Dinner.

Cassel says she’s also seen vegetables become the main piece of a lot of the dishes. Even for chefs who before were focusing on animal-based cuisine.