Nicknamed The Holy City for the many steeples dotting its skyline, Charleston in South Carolina is a laid-back yet sophisticated city with an old-South feel. Kerry Sanders of The Today Show on NBC thinks it offers “small town charm and big city luxury”. Charleston ranked as the 4th best city in the US and Canada in a Travel + Leisure / CNN Poll.
It is also considered one of the best restaurant towns in the US Southeast, especially for seafood: again, Travelocity.com named Charleston a top food destination.
The term Lowcountry designates the low-lying coastal region stretching from Charleston in South Carolina to Savannah in Georgia. The area is famed for its luscious regional cooking style stemming from a unique mix English, French, Spanish, Irish, Italian, African, and Caribbean influences.
BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival
Once a year, the increasingly successful BB&T Charleston Food and Wine Festival lures gourmands and bon vivants but also culinary experts, wine makers and authors with four days of epicurean delights celebrating Charleston’s unique Lowcountry cuisine.
Between 28 February and 2 March, the event interwines Southern traditions with the culinary wonders of top chefs from the West coast, New England, France and Switzerland.
The Culinary Village is the official hub for the Festival and features two Grand Tasting Tents filled with over seventy companies featuring food and wine tastings and interactive activities open to Culinary Village ticket holders including cooking demonstrations, book signings and a cooking competition.
Not Just Food: Wine and Beer
The Charleston Food & Wine Festival offers also Wine Seminars in which wine and champagne experts teach about a variety of topics ranging from aging and storing techniques to food and wine pairing, while the Beer School provides opportunities to learn about the amazing range of beer styles and their brewing process.
- Thursday, February 28 – The Charleston Food + Wine Festival’s Opening Night Party features 23 Charleston Chefs serving an eclectic menu showcasing best cuisine found in the Lowcountry while top winemakers from across the country pour a variety of wines accompanied by Charleston jazz musician, Quentin Baxter and his ensemble.
- Friday, February 29 – Picnic Lunch with the Stars, followed by the official opening of the Culinary Village and the King Street Sip & Stroll, with wine and cheese tastings in the retail shops on either side of Charleston’s main shopping thoroughfare. In the evening, the popular Restaurant Dine-Around event features 14 of the area’s finest restaurants including Circa 1886, an AAA Four Diamond award-winning restaurant which recently added the Mobil Four-Star Award to its list of accolades. Other participating restaurants are Anson, Carolina’s, Charleston Grill, Cypress, FIG, High Cotton, Magnolias, McCrady’s, Oak Steakhouse, Peninsula Grill, Sienna, Slightly North of Broad and Tristan.
- Saturday, March 1 – The Culinary Village hosts a Cooking Competition featuring local and national chefs paired-up to compete as teams. The Beermasters Beer Dinner serves selected beers – bocks, stouts, ales and lagers – to complement a wide assortment of dishes. In the evening, the Winemaker Reception in Private Homes opens the doors of five of Charleston’s grand private mansions, each showcasing a top winemaker. Meanwhile, 60 special guests will attend the exclusive Food + Wine with a View: A Night in California, a five-course dinner at the top of a premier Charleston penthouse whith stunning views over the city. To end the evening, the Bubbles & Sweets: Under the Charleston Stars event in Marion Square serves savors and sweets prepared by top local and national pastry chefs alongside champagne, sparking wines and dessert wines.
- Sunday, March 2 – The day kicks off with the Lowcountry Gospel Brunch and culminates with BBQ & Blues, with top Southern pit masters and BBQ professionals serving a variety of Southern barbecue favorites paired with selected beers.