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Gourmet Play-day in South Carolina

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By Wayne Lazarus on February 10th, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Charleston is famous for its beauty, culture, history and inimitable cuisine. It’s a perfect setting to bring together those who celebrate food in a spectacular four-day weekend. The BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival held every March is truly a gourmand party. Wine professionals from around the world will be on hand to guide participants in an understanding and appreciation of various wines. Some of the country’s best chefs will be in town to add their creative touch to low-country food. Combine the two and the food-lovers in attendance are going to have some exquisite pairings.

CharlestonThere is something for everyone here — from the $200 meals to the sommelier contest, which is free. Besides promoting the culinary industry, the festival supports several charities, including the Low Country Food Bank’s Kids Cafes program. It also funds scholarships at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, the University of Charleston and the Art Institute of Charleston.

The latest buzz in food is farm-to-table, and several events are scheduled, including a tour of Wadmalaw Island, the Charleston Tea Plantation, Irvin House Vineyards and Thackery Farms, with lunch provided by the Square Onion in Mt. Pleasant. At “Wine Around the Garden,” guests will tour Middleton Place, sample wines and eat a meal prepared by local chefs. Other wine events include a South American wine tasting, a Spanish wine tasting and (of course) a wine and chocolate pairing. Almost all of the meals involve “perfect pairings” and wine experts. Many retailers along King Street are participating in the Sip + Stroll Friday afternoon, offering wine and food tastings.

The planners haven’t left anything out — birdseyescheduling a champagne tasting and a champagne and charcuterie seminar. For beer lovers, Anheiser-Busch’s head brewmaster Angelo Cayo will talk about the brewing process and guests can choose between the Here’s to Beer Brewmaster’s Dinner or the Craft Beer Dinner. There’s even a Bourbon-Q dinner, featuring master distiller Julian Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery and a Bourbon Born Spirit tasting.

Or course, it wouldn’t be low country without a Gullah luncheon, putting Gullah cooks from around the region together with national chefs to create some special dishes. (Novelist William Baldwin is one of the personalities at this event.) On Sunday, ten restaurants will have a Gullah Gospel brunch.

The festival culminates with the Culinary Village and Fed-Ex Grand Tasting Tents, offering food, wine and a chance to talk with some of the chefs, followed by a BBQ, Blues and Brew in Marion Square.

(Photos: courtesy Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Used with permission.)

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