Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama’s beautiful beach towns, are home to pristine waters, sugar-white sand beaches and wonderful, delicious culinary options. And, this year, the area is hosting several foodie festivals that will feature internationally-recognized chefs, local cuisine and fresh Gulf seafood.
Seafood is the king of cuisine on the Alabama Gulf Coast. With several local chefs and restaurants constantly creating new and inspiring dishes, dining options are constantly evolving.
The fall boasts some of the most highly anticipated culinary events of the year on the Alabama Gulf Coast. The Wharf Uncorked Wine and Culinary Event (Sept. 15-17) is celebrating its third year at The Wharf in Orange Beach. The event features over 150 wine selections that guests may sample and purchase. Wharf Uncorked also showcases some of the top chefs from the area. These chefs create unique dishes that are scored by veteran culinary judges from around the Gulf Coast. Wharf Uncorked raises funds for Make-A-Wish Alabama. In 2015, the event raised over $14,000 for the organization. The 45th Annual National Shrimp Festival (Oct. 13-16) takes place at the public beach in Gulf Shores. Presented by Zatarain’s, this festival attracts more than 250,000 attendees and features over 300 arts, crafts and retail vendors. And, of course, there will be plenty of fresh Gulf shrimp for guests to indulge in. Live music will be playing all weekend by local and regional musicians. Then, The Hangout will host its 9th Annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend (Nov. 4-6). Over 60 restaurants from across the Southeast will be represented at this event serving oysters prepared in a variety of ways. Last year, the event featured James Beard certified chefs, Food Network stars and many other talented culinary stars. More than 60 craft beers will be available from breweries such as Oskar Blues, Good people, Fairhope Brewing and Goose Island. The Cook-Off also includes a North American Oyster Showcase with over 30 oyster growers from across North America. Lastly, the newest culinary event to be hosted on Alabama’s beaches is the World Food Championships (Nov. 8-15), the largest food sport competition. Chefs compete in nine categories, then face off at The Finale Table, with the winner being awarded the grand prize of $100,000.This year, the event is expected to bring 400 teams from 20 countries and 45 states. The week-long event will be held at The Wharf in Orange Beach.
Aside from the exciting culinary events being held in 2016, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have a multitude of dining options for all occasions. With waterfront and open-air seating to live music performed nightly, many restaurants have become destinations on their own. Many take pride in serving not only fresh local seafood but locally-sourced produce, cheeses and meats as well. In Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and surrounding areas, there are also several seafood shops and farmer’s markets that are perfect places for visitors to pick up fresh fish and produce.
The cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach offer so many culinary options and events for guests to enjoy. And, as the culinary scene continues to grow in this area, there is only more to come from the beaches of Alabama.
Visit GulfShores.com to learn more about the Alabama Gulf Coast. While there, be sure to request a copy of the 2016 vacation guide, a 100-page magazine that features a photographic tour of the area, and includes complete listings of accommodations, things to see and do, and great places to eat.