Whether you’re a foodie, a bon vivant, or just a straight-up chowhound, mark your calendar for the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival presented by Agua Caliente Casinos from March 21-24, 2024. The annual culinary festival includes a variety of events that will appeal to all types of food and beverage fans from those with a sophisticated palate to those with a barbecue stain on their shirt. Food lovers are food lovers after all. 

There’s everything from a celebrity chef wine dinner and countless cooking demos, to Grand Tastings with endless samples of food, wine, beer, and spirits. Most of the events are located underneath the big white tents atop the parking structure at The Gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert, but there are a few off-site events that will tempt your tastebuds as well. 



A crowd of people sip wine and eat underneath a huge tent during the Grand Tasting event at the 2023 Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival.The main course of the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival is the two grand tastings. One is on Saturday, March 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the second is Sunday, March 24 from Noon to 3 p.m.

The grand tastings feature bites from more than 40 restaurants, created by accomplished chefs from the Coachella Valley and other parts of California. Add to that more than 60 premium and sparkling wines, beers, and spirits from the Golden State, and that’s a lot of bang for any foodies’ buck.

As a veteran of several grand tastings over the years, here’s a pro tip. Start by grabbing a wine tasting and then sipping on it while waiting in line for a delectable food bite. Some restaurants will have longer lines than others. Grab another pour and repeat. Remember which ones you loved and then plan to go back for more. Finish by filling up on the foods and wines you love the most. That’s how I like to attack the sometimes hectic, always fulfilling fest. 

And don’t forget to take time out to talk to people, too. That’s half the fun. Talk to the person pouring your wine, talk to the chef who made the food, and talk to the person next to you. Asking them where they got that delicious-looking dessert on their plate is a perfect conversation starter.

Tickets: Saturday, March 23 Grand Tasting - 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Early access, $225), Noon to 3 p.m. (General access, $150). 

Sunday, March 24 Grand Tasting -  Noon to 3 p.m. ($125). Details on each event and ticket-purchasing directions can be found at palmdesertfoodandwine.com.



Tyler Florence during a food demonstration at the 2023 Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival.A hallmark of the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival is the growing number of celebrity chef-hosted events your tastebuds won’t want to miss.

Aarti Sequeira

When: Thursday, March 21 at 9 a.m.

Take a bus tour led by Sequeira that is all about the desert’s most celebrated fruit - the date. Sequeira will take you to Hadley Date Gardens, The Packhouse and Aziz Farms for a hands-on journey of how dates go from palm trees to your lunch plate. This new event includes a picturesque lunch among the date trees.  ($95)

Afrim Pristine

When: Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Become a bona fide turophile, which is someone who knows everything about cheese. Also called in some circles a cheesemonger, or in Green Bay a cheesehead. Chef Afrim Pristine leads the cheese masterclass. He’s the world’s youngest maître fromager or certified cheese master and will share his expertise on cheese and wine pairing. ($75)

James Beard Gourmet luncheon hosted by Zac Young and Jamie Gwen

When: Friday, March 22 at 11:30 a.m.

It’s an afternoon feast a foodie could only dream of. It’s a four-course lunch prepared onstage by celebrity chefs while they dish about their dishes. The meal includes fine wine pairings to match the cuisine. Other chefs involved are decorated culinary maestros like Susan Feniger, Mary Sue Milliken, Meg Bickford, Dominique Crenn, and Gale Gand. ($250)

Commander’s Palace Meg Bickford

When: Sunday, March 24 at 9:30 a.m.

Be transported to New Orleans with a special jazz brunch that features Bickford, the executive chef of the famous Commander’s Palace. Enjoy the food of the Big Easy and listen to a live jazz performance at the same time. It’s a feast for your bellies and your ears. ($165)

And while The Gardens at El Paseo is the hub, the festival also extends to other spots in the Coachella Valley for special events. Trio Restaurant  in Palm Springs hosts celebrity chef Aisha Ibrahim for a full wine-paired dinner, alongside Jeremy Loomis, executive chef at Trio.  (Thursday, March 21, at 6 p.m. $125)

The Savory Spice Shop in Palm Desert hosts nationally acclaimed pastry chef Gale Gand as she reveals the secrets of cooking with spices. (Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. $40)



Wine is being poured into a glass during the 2023 Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival.Only ticket holders know the location of this exclusive party (Saturday, March 23 at 6 p.m.) It’s a cocktail reception that you can attend along with many of the celebrity chefs in town for the festival. And this isn’t just watching them talk from a stage, this is about mingling with them. Asking them those culinary or non-culinary questions you always wanted to ask. The location is kept a secret, known only to those who purchase a ticket. ($125) 


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