We’re hot off the plane from Charleston, where we were in town for the twelfth annual Charleston Wine + Food. The dates for next year have already been announced (bookmark your calendars: February 28 to March 4, 2018!), but back at the ranch, we’re still dreaming of the past weekend. Here are six things we’re still thinking about from this year’s festival.
While every major food festival brings kitchen talent, this weekend was brimming with culinary talent. Whether your kitchen hero is French demigod Daniel Boulud, bestselling food writer Ruth Reichl or Top Chef‘s Gail Simmons, there was someone at Charleston Wine + Food to bring out the fangirl in everyone.
The Lowcountry Ingredients
Caper’s blades and Charleston salts oysters, plump white shrimp, crawfish, okra: South Carolina’s famed Lowcountry ingredients were out in full force during the entirety of the festival. After this past weekend, we’ve come to realize that the South Carolina coast quite possibly has the best seafood in the United States.
The Energy Combined with Gorgeous Charleston Scenery
Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the Eastern Seaboard and beyond travel into Charleston to attend this festival, and the energy is palpable. Combine that with the small-town Southern charm of the Holy City, and you’ve got an extra-special setting for a food festival that simply couldn’t exist anywhere else.
Pecha Kucha + Wine + Food
PechaKucha, a storytelling format that’s used in hundreds of cities worldwide, took Charleston Wine + Food by storm. The festival’s PechaKucha night took place on the second floor of an old cigar factory with food trucks serving dinner downstairs, breweries pouring saisons and IPAs upstairs, and a projector and a stage with a microphone as the center of the evening. Six different chefs, urban farmers, food truck owners and artisans told their stories, all in a six-minute and 40-second format, with a projector showing 20 different images for 20 seconds each for every speaker. We loved the fresh, informal way of sharing ideas and telling stories.
The Culinary Village was popping with music all weekend long: Some of our favorites included The Bluestone Ramblers, a bluegrass band, and The New South Jazzmen, a Dixieland jazz group, both based locally.