Chocolate and seafood fests, barbecue battle this weekend


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables, celebrates the cacao bean and its many splendors at its seventh annual International Chocolate Festival from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Headliners for the full slate of cooking demonstrations and workshops include chef Allen Susser, author Maricel E. Presilla and Fairchild’s Richard Campbell, who’ll talk about growing your own cacao trees. Lessons in chocolate-beer pairings add to the fun.

Admission is free for garden members and youngsters 5 and under, $25 adults, $18 seniors, $12 children. A complete schedule is at

Seafood fest

Shrimp- and Key lime pie-eating contests are among the attractions at the Key Largo Stone Crab & Seafood Festival Saturday and Sunday at mile marker 104.5. Cooking demonstrations, live music and kids’ activities are on tap, too, with fresh local seafood available for purchase. Admission is $5, free for kids 12 and under;, 800-822-1088.

Barbecue battle

Students from Florida International University, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Johnson & Wales University, Le Cordon Bleu and Miami Culinary Institute square off Sunday for the 9th annual Culinary School BBQ Battle. This year’s challenge: brisket.

Sponsored by the South Florida chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food, the event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. at Esplanade Park, 401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale.

Tickets are $50 if purchased by midnight Saturday, $60 on Sunday at Proceeds benefit Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and the AIWF scholarship fund.

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