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All About the Food and Wine at Superbowl 50 in San Francisco

On February 7, San Francisco will host the Super Bowl for the first time since 1985, and the 50th anniversary of the big game is shaping up to be the ultimate foodie event. Food and wine will be as important as passing and punting, and top chefs like Michael Mina are commanding the same five-figure appearance fees as star NFL athletes—tickets to Mina’s “Culinary Kickoff” event on February 5 are proving as hard to get as tickets to the main event.

Three days before the NFL championship, 80 foodies will pay $10,000 a head for a five-course meal at Michael Mina’s in the Golden Gate city. The meal will be cooked by Mina and fellow celebrity chefs Charlie Palmer, Todd English and David Burke. “There’s food at all of these parties, but we wanted one that was the serious food and wine event,” said Palmer.

Mina is also teaming with the NFL during Super Bowl Week to convert his RN 74 restaurant on Mission Street into “On the 50,’’ a football-themed eatery. And his members-only Bourbon Steak and Bourbon Pub establishments at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara will host “tailgates” on Super Bowl Sunday, under the direction of top chefs. “Food has become an intricate part of any big celebration, and the Super Bowl is the biggest celebration there is,” said Mina. “What’s making this one so special is the restaurants here and the access we have to everything important to a restaurant, whether it’s seafood, beef, California produce or the wine.”

Taste of the NFL, the granddaddy of Super Bowl epicurean events, is celebrating its 25th anniversary on February 6. The Super Bowl eve strolling food and wine festival has raised more than $24 million for food banks. This year’s Taste will be hosted by James Beard award-winning chef Andrew Zimmern and will serve 45,000 tastings to 2,500 guests. Tickets are $700. “New York sells itself as the nation’s culinary center, but San Francisco is really the best place for foodies,’’ said Minneapolis restaurateur and Taste founder Wayne Kostroski, who will be participating.

In addition to these two main events, wine pairings will be debated as intensely throughout Super Bowl Week as quarterback-receiver combinations. Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Keith Bruce noted his organization’s financial support from Napa Valley and Sonoma County. “Food and wine are a big part of who and what we are out here, so we’re going to put that in front of everything,” said Bruce. For the first time, the NFL is licensing a Super Bowl wine; Wine by Design and Napa’s Freemark Abbey vineyard are producing a $100 Bordeaux meritage with a Super Bowl label. “You’ve got athletes like Joe Montana investing in wineries and restaurants and collecting wine,” said Wine by Design founder Diane Karle. “We’ve seen this pairing coming for a while.”

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