BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival
Thurs. March 1-Sun. March 4
Prices and locations vary by event
Forgot to get your $500 ticket for the Saturday night dinner created by celebuchef Tom Colicchio, along with Sam Talbot, Paul Kahan, and Norman Van Aken, to be served in the chichi setting of a penthouse in the People's Building? Yeah, so did we. But don't despair. While most of the big-ticket parties and events have already sold out, the Charleston Food + Wine Fest still has a couple of options for those without gold running through their veins. Indeed, the festival this year has expanded and added some new events along the way.
Dozens of chefs, writers, and locals will come together for this four-day event to help promote Charleston as a unique and worthy foodie destination. Pretty much every chef in town will be participating -- from Ken Vedrinski of Sienna on Daniel Island to Chris Brandt out at Kiawah's Ocean Room and everyone in between -- for a total of 35 local chefs. Some, like Robert Carter of Peninsula Grill and Bob Waggoner of Charleston Grill, will be in their own kitchens on Friday night working with guest chefs like John Fleer of the Blackberry Inn and Susan Spicer of Bayona to prepare special menus for the Dine Around (a main attraction of the festival that sold out early).
Some of the same chefs will be showcasing their food at Thursday's opening night party, the Salute to Charleston's Chefs, which will have wine, food pairings, and desserts. Pastry chefs will get to strut their stuff at the Friday night dessert and champagne party, Bubbles and Sweets, hosted by Moët and Charleston Magazine. Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin, Brent Wertz of Kingsmill Resort and Spa, and Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of Lassi and 14 local chefs will each whip up their own delectably decadent desserts and present them to the crowd of partygoers, who were smart enough to get their tickets early to this hot event. Last year's party was the bomb and this year's sold out pretty quick.
Over the course of the weekend, 30 wine professionals will be hosting seminars and dinners, sharing their vast knowledge of the grape. While big events like the King Street Sip + Stroll, the Gibbes' Southern Masterpieces Art + Wine Reception, and the Winemaker Receptions in private homes no longer have tickets available, many of the seminars and tastings still have room for more. Whether you're interested in learning about Syrah, hearing from winemakers with Southern ties, or exploring Spanish wines, the producers and importers on hand will share their knowledge and let you taste some varietals. Most of the wine events happen earlier in the day on Saturday with only one tasting on Sunday. The seminars range in price from $25 to $50.
Twelve food writers will be signing cookbooks, holding demonstrations, and generally hanging about at the Culinary Village in Marion Square and other events around town. The Culinary Village will host 70 vendors, covering everything from the finest restaurants of Charleston to more casual joints along with representation from more than 20 wineries and vineyards. A Kids Village will let kids get in on the action and a rousing Lowcountry Gospel Brunch prepared by John Zucker of Cru Catering and guest chef Walter Royal of Angus Barn in N.C. will help bring the festival to a fitting close on Sunday morning.