The fifth annual BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival is running March 4-7, 2010 at the Culinary Village in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. This culinary event has been praised as one of the top five food and wine festivals in the U.S. by Forbes Traveler, as it showcases the talents of the world’s most celebrated chefs, culinary professionals and winemakers.
Unlike any other Festival in the country, the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival offers attendees the opportunity to sample and learn about Southern cuisine, including the regional variation known as Lowcountry cuisine.
The Lowcountry, a low-lying coastal region roughly stretching from the Festival host city of Charleston to Savannah, Georgia, is known internationally for its regional cooking style that evolved from its many influences. The English, French, Spanish, Irish, Italians, Africans, and Caribbean Islanders who settled across the South, beginning some 300 years ago, brought with them the tastes from their native lands, creating what is now called Lowcountry cuisine.
The Opening Night Party is a Salute to Charleston Chefs, sponsored by Ben Arnold Beverage Company. This event features servings from more than 19 local culinary icons, including Jeremiah Bacon of Carolina's, Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill, and Marc Collins of Circa 1886. The special culinary delights are accompanied with a sampling of wines from across the country, as well as a signature drink from the winner of the second annual Festival Mixologist Competition, sponsored by Brown-Forman Brands.
A new event on the Festival schedule, The Perfect Pairing Winemaker Luncheon is hosted by two of Charleston’s premier downtown restaurants, MUSE and 82 Queen. Each will host a three-course lunch paired with carefully selected wines.
Another new event is the Celebrity Authors Reception, where culinary authors will be signing books for attendees. This year’s guest authors are Michelle Bernstein, Chris Hastings, Martha Hall Foose, Elizabeth Karmel, Matt and Ted Lee, Donald Link, Barbara Lynch and Frank Stitt. The event includes hors d’oeuvres by Chef Thomas Egerton of MUSE, Mini cupcakes from Cupcake, and a featured wine from Women of the Vine Cellars & Wine.
Another special event is a “field trip”: the Wadmalaw Farm-to-Table Excursion, presented by JMC Charleston, a gourmand excursion which covers the Sea Islands and their culinary past, with a visit to the Charleston Tea Plantation. There, guests visit the tea fields, tour the factory, and enjoy a farm-to-table luncheon based on recipes and made from vegetables from Wadmalaw Island. The second destination is Irvin-House Vineyards, the only domestic winery in Charleston, South Carolina, where guests experience a behind-the-scenes tour of the processing plant, stroll through the vineyards and have a private tasting of all five varietals of wine with the owner. The final stop on the tour is Thackery Farms, where local farmers give guests a tour of their fields, and share insights about small farming families, organic farming and their relationship with local restaurants.
The art of pairing wine and cheese is shared by Master Sommelier Bob Bath, who pours new world wines from New Zealand, as well as other featured guest winemakers’ portfolios. Bath is joined by local cheese professional Mike Black of Caviar & Bananas.
And no food-and-wine event is complete without Champagne. Champagne is viewed as a celebratory, luxury beverage, separate from the wine people include each day with meals. But this unique tasting shows why champagne is the ideal wine to pair with food.
Choosing from a selection of “Grower Champagnes,” wine connoisseur Kevin Pike of Michael Skurnik Wines reveals how and why champagne matches perfectly with a variety of charcuterie tastings prepared by Chef Nathan Thurston of The Ocean Room, Kiawah Island, SC.
Further emphasizing the stature of Champagne is the Connoisseur Tasting – Champagnes: The Prestige Cuvees, an afternoon filled with the most exclusive champagnes in the world: Dom Perignon, Cristal and La Grande Dame. Guests sample six to seven champagnes as they learn why these are regarded as the best champagnes by both critics and consumers.
There is a special screening of the French produced documentary Un Certain Gout pour l’Amerique: Daniel Boulud, directed by Thierry Bellaïche. This film follows a day-in-the-life of renowned Daniel Boulud, chef-owner of ten award-winning restaurants. Following the screening, Boulud joins celebrity chef Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde and Barbara Fairchild, editor of Bon Appetit, for a Q&A session.
The mission of the Charleston Wine + Food, a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to enhance Charleston's culinary reputation, and support important charitable endeavors by focusing national attention on the entertainment, education and gastronomical gratification opportunities presented by world class culinary professionals and wine experts.
Attendees and supporters of the Festival, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, lend a hand in raising charitable donations for Louie’s Kids and Slow Food Charleston. The Festival also has established culinary scholarships to benefit students at the Culinary Institute of Charleston, the College of Charleston and the Art Institute of Charleston. The Festival also partners with Charleston magazine to host Amuse Bouche, an annual fundraiser for the Lowcountry Food Bank’s Kid Café Program. and area culinary-related scholarships.
For more information, visit http://charlestonwineandfood.com.
Charleston Food + Wine Festival
March 4-7, 2009
Charleston, South Carolina