2011 BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival

Poster Designed by Seth Dietch

Held March 3rd-6th, the sixth annual BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival® invites guests to explore the Holy City by way of taste buds. Rich in tradition, Charleston takes great pride in its culture, most enthusiastically, its food. The festival embraces its surroundings by hosting dinners, receptions, tastings, and tours in a variety of historical locations. The culinary event has been acclaimed as one of the top five food and wine festivals in the U.S. by Forbes Traveler. The BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival® offers attendees the opportunity to sample and learn about Southern and Lowcountry cuisine and marvel at the rich history of one of the nation’s oldest cities. The festival, a non-profit organization, benefits local culinary charities and scholarships.

The most popular event of the weekend, Salute to Charleston’s Chefs: Opening Night Party, sponsored by The Art Institute of Charleston, will get a little sweeter when some of Charleston’s brightest pastry chefs join the party. Local culinary icons showcase dishes from the best twenty five restaurants that Charleston has to offer! From 7-10 pm on Thursday evening, both sweet and savory small plates will be served, alongside a superior wine selection and a signature Festival cocktail, created by the winner of the Festival Mixologist Competition, sponsored by Van Gogh Imports. The celebration will also feature music from the The Quentin Baxter Ensemble, an open-air cabana and cigar lounge.

Provided by Charleston Wine + Food Festival

The main hub of the entire Charleston Wine + Food Festival® weekend, the Culinary Village + AAA Carolinas and Southwest Airlines Grand Tasting Tents, officially opens on Friday afternoon. Expect to find a new layout with over 90 food, wine and spirit stations blended together, an open-air courtyard and an official Festival merchandise boutique. Each wine and food vendor will be serving samples of their products from across the country during the Grand Tasting Tent hours, but the fun for ticket-holders lasts all day with unlimited access to the SCE&G Celebrity Kitchen Tent, Charleston Cooks! Book Signing Tent, Certified SC Grown Outdoor Living + Grilling Area, Whole Foods Market Wine Shop, BB&T Hospitality Tent and the Thermador Cooking Competitions (Saturday only). The Grand Tasting Tents, located in Marion Square Park in the heart of Downtown Charleston, will be open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Provided by Charleston Wine + Food Festival

For the first time ever the Festival will celebrate the Bravo hit TV show, Top Chef, with a bash and “Lowcountry Ingredient” challenge. A fan favorite from each season will be on-hand to serve a small plate of their signature recipe, using Giddy Goat Handmade Homegrown Goat Cheese, a Lowcountry ingredient voted on in advance by the event’s ticket-holders. A panel of judges will vote on each chef’s dish and decide who has won Holy City bragging rights. Tiffany Derry, a contestant from the 2010 season, will serve as Master of Ceremonies and Lamplighter will match the chefs’ plates with complementary wine.

One of the most coveted events on the Festival schedule is the Restaurant Dine-Arounds. This year nineteen of Charleston’s renowned chefs, three of them James Beard Best Chef Southeast Award winners, will open the doors of their acclaimed restaurants to a nationally celebrated guest chef to craft a 5-course tasting menu that blends together the culinary styles of each chef and creates a one-of-a-kind menu and dining experience. A winemaker will join each restaurant to pair every dish with the perfect varietal.

Provided by Charleston Wine + Food Festival, photos by Andrew Stephen Cebulka

Those distinguished Festival guests who demand the best when tasting wine won’t want to miss the new event, Big Bottles Tasting + Auction, presented by Cayman Islands Department of Tourism. A selection of esteemed vintners will join together to pour from their premium collections of large format bottles of wine. Andrea Immer Robinson, Master Sommelier and the first woman ever chosen Best Sommelier in the United States by the Sommelier Society of America, will welcome ticket holders to this event with complimentary red and white wine glasses from her newly developed glassware, The One. Following a once in a life time “30 Minute Wine Expert” session with Andrea Immer Robinson, guests will have the opportunity to exercise the tasting techniques they discovered as they sample the wines featured at the various stations along with selections of gourmet cheeses from Whole Foods Market locally cured charcuterie and locally crafted chocolates. During the live auction guests will have the chance to bid on items that will feature rare large format autographed bottles of wine.

Rise and shine on Sunday morning in the Holy City for the Lowcountry Gospel Brunch. Spiritually Yours Gospel Ensemble’s music pouring from the tent has the ability to draw people in from across town. Guests will be served a traditional three-course Lowcountry-style brunch from the best brunch restaurants and caterers in town. A special blessing invites visitors to relax and no brunch would be complete without Bloody Marys, Mint Juleps and Mimosas.

Provided by Charleston Wine + Food Festival, photos by Andrew Stephen Cebulka

The perfect end to the festival weekend has to include top southern pitmasters and cold beer. Local and national ‘Que maestros will come together to prepare barbecued whole hog, brisket, chicken and all the fixin’s. Libations, wine and cocktails will be served from multiple bars and seating will be expanded throughout the tent and onto the lawn in Marion Square Park. Live music from The Blue Dogs will make sure that the festival ends with a bang!

For the entire event schedule, more information or tickets to the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival®, please visit the web site, www.charlestonwineandfood.com, or call (843) 727-9998 ext. 2.

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