Artists and foodies are going to think they’ve embarked on a “heaven on earth” experience once they arrive at this culinary and art fusion event. Cocktails + Canvases is a one-of-a-kind interactive experience where you can immerse yourself in visual arts, creative cocktails and culinary explorations which pairs nicely in the luxurious coastal setting of Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.
Designed for travelers who desire a captivating getaway the event provides an ideal balance of destination, exploration and intellectual art-focused activities.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is nestled at the tip of a barrier island off the Northeast Florida coast. It’s surrounded by sparkling Atlantic waters and lush salt marshlands. Enter the lobby area and take in the smell of pineapple and coconut to instantly be transformed into relaxation mode. One of the perks of staying at this hotel is that each room has a spectacular view of the ocean.
Cocktails & Art Show at the Sprouting Project
One of the first events of the weekend is the Cocktails & Art Show at the Sprouting Project. “The Sprouting Project” consists of a state-of-the-art aquaponic greenhouse, expansive organic garden, a large collection of beehives and barrel room. Omni Amelia Island Plantation’s Executive Chef, Daven Wardynski heralds the conception of the greenhouse as his “legacy to Omni Amelia Island Plantation.”
Once you arrive at the Sprouting Project, you are greeted by the culinary team wearing bee keeper costumes offering hand crafted cocktails. This is a nod to the on-site beehive created by Chef Daven. The garden area is illuminated beautifully with small white lights and candles complete with live music to set the mood. The first vignette that caught my eye during the event was an area where guests can make their own hot sauce. A selection of fresh ingredients was available to create a mild or nuclear hot creation. If you are new to the hot sauce making scene, the team on-site will guide you through the various selections and help you make a blend that you’ll take home and enjoy with your dishes.
Following the hot sauce creating and passed hors d’oeuvres cocktail hour was a seated seven-course dinner hosted by Chef, Daven. His culinary team served beautifully prepared dishes that were fun to eat. Each course was complimented with a paired hand crafted cocktail.
Coastal Cuisine at Sunrise Cafe
A morning favorite, the Sunrise Café features local fruits, freshly baked pastries, made to order cage-free egg omelets and more. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Sunrise challenges the traditional breakfast fare and features the “Art of Breakfast” with indoor and terrace dining available. One of the best moments of the morning will be the made to order omelets. Be sure to give them a try.
Artisanal Adventure and Canvas Curation
The first art session of the day was with fine art creator Charli Leniston. The attendees watched her process of creating one of her newest paintings using her hands and a variation of tools. Far from an artist myself, I was able to observe the interest of other artists in the room who asked Charli questions about achieving some of her techniques during their painting adventures. So if you love art but maybe creation isn’t your thing, you won’t feel out of place. It was fun to just watch the artist work.
During the second art session, my group participated in a follow along style painting session, complete with a selection of wine or your choice of mimosas. Surprising, since the art instructor, Allison Watson, was a pro at guiding students through the process, even the most unskilled artist, like myself, walked away with a pretty good piece of art.
Bourbon Blending & Glass Blowing Demo
Let’s all admit that a Bourbon blending class is probably going to be one of the highlights of your experience during the Cocktails & Canvases weekend (though there are many). After donning your lab coat, you’ll watch a demonstration on the art of blending bourbon to create the right composition of rye based bourbon and corn-based bourbon to suit your taste. Once your blend is just right, pour it into the jar and take it home as a souvenir. Allow the bourbon to sit for about a week to really let the flavors set in.
Immediately following you’ll get to experience a live glass blowing demonstration. Using molten glass and a blowpipe, the glassblower will insert the blowpipe into a red hot oven and mold the glass into just about anything. It’s quite exciting to watch.
In the Spa of the Moment
During your downtime or if you are one who must have a spa moment during your travels, the Spa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort will not disappoint. It’s an alluring hideaway tucked beneath the grand Florida oaks. You are instantly transformed into a state of relaxation upon entering the full- service luxury spa. As soothing music floats through the air, slip into your robe and slippers then sip herbal teas in the tranquil lounge. The spa lounge overlooks the private gardens and glassy lake surrounding the nature-inspired spa in a floor-to-ceiling setting. It’s truly an oasis within an oasis.
Art After Dark
Art After Dark is a well thought out art and cocktail paired reception. While walking the room sampling hours d’oeuvres, you will have the pleasure of viewing artwork. The artists will be present at the reception for a meet and greet and to answer any of your questions about their work. If you see a piece of art that you must have for your home or office, take it with you – you can purchase anything you see.
In a dramatic drumroll, the curtain wall was dropped to reveal a seated dining area complete with a local jazz band in the background. Chef Daven will once again blow your mind with the art inspired dishes he presents to you over another seven courses. Think courses prepared on blank canvases, seared ahi tuna on paintbrushes and salads on a paint pallet.
Sun & Shopping
Before heading home on your final day, promenade through the local arts festival in The Shops of Amelia Island Plantation. This pop-up-shop style shopping event is your final chance to support local artists by investing in original pieces of artwork.
Though the Cocktails & Canvases event is all about food and art, don’t forget that you are at the beach (and one of the most beautiful on the east coast). Take some time to enjoy the private beach. Exclusive to Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is a beautiful beach and poolscape, featuring an adult, infinity-edge Serenity Pool.
Want to go?
Packages are available now for the 2017 Cocktails & Canvases weekend. Visit their website or call (904) 261 – 6161