Charleston Culinary Tours’ Wine and Food Festival Survival Guide

CCT

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the BB&T Wine and Food Festival, and how it has grown! The Festival has helped to establish Charleston as a culinary destination and injects new energy into the city each year we emerge from doldrums of winter.The 2015 Festival promises to be bigger than even, yet is aiming to be more accessible to the casual foodie. That having been said, with the wide array of events, it’s difficult to pick which ones to try. Charleston Culinary Tours is here to help! Read on to see our picks for the events for which tickets remain. For a complete list of events, click here.

March 4th, 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night Gala
 $150/person, Marion Square
This event has all the big Charleston names paying homage to the seminal Lowcountry cookbook, Charleston Receipts, what could be better?

March 5th, 7 p.m.

Wild Olive Signature Dinner
$175/person, 2867 Maybank Highway, Johns Island, SC.
If it wasn’t for the 25 minute drive from Charleston to the Wild Olive, this dinner would be sold out! Chef Jacques Larson made a name for himself locally at the Wild Olive and then rose to national prominence when he opened The Obstinate Daughter. If you do attend this dinner, you owe it to yourself to stop into the Fat Hen beforehand for a look around as it’s another outstanding restaurant just down the street!

Xiao Bao Biscuit Signature Dinner

$175/person, 224 Rutledge Ave.
Infusing the Lowcountry into their Asian comfort food, XBB has become a local favorite. Chef Joshua Walker is another of the young chefs who are working to move Charleston’s cuisine forward, filtering Charleston through another cultural lens.

March 6th, 10:30 a.m.

Distiller for a Day Workshop
High Wire Distillery, $125/person, 652 King Street
High Wire Distilling Company’s Scott Blackwell is a captivating storyteller and engaging personality, so this should be an enjoyable event. Scott’s background is in food, so his approach to spirits is driven by his culinary sensibilities, resulting in an array of remarkable alcohols. Plus, lunch from Butcher and Bee (right across the parking lot) is a nice touch.

March 7th
12:00 p.m.

The Park Café: Windy City meets Holy City
$100/person, 730 Rutledge Ave., Charleston
The Park Café is excellent, but very low key, so their willingness to host an event with chefs from two big-name Chicago restaurants,Blackbird and The Girl and the Goat, is laudable. Park Café’s Chef Jon Amato honed his skills at FIG, and now brings that aesthetic to a neighborhood-oriented restaurant with a very affordable menu. Chef Amato attempts to balance cost considerations with the preparation of extraordinary food. No doubt this event will under promise and over deliver!

2:00 p.m.

Clammer Dave’s Oyster Roast
$65/person, Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina’s waterfront Lookout Pavilion, 20 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC
This might be the most value oriented event on the Festival’s schedule! Oyster Roasts are quintessentially Charleston and Clammer Dave is one of the signature providers of clams and oysters to Charleston restaurants. The event also includes Jon Zucker from Cru Café, a much loved Charleston restaurant that doesn’t seek out much media exposure.7:00 p.m.
Lana Signature Dinner
$175/person, 210 Rutledge Ave.
Chef John Ondo’s Lana Restaurant has been a favorite of ours for years and is a little under the radar. Chef Ondo is in the first tier of Charleston chefs, so take advantage of this market inefficiency and grab tickets to this dinner while you can!Twenty-Six Divine Dinner
$100/person, 682 King Street
We got to know husband and wife chef team Enan and Jenn Parezo a little better via our podcast, but we are embarrassed to say Twenty-Six Divine was under our radar too until recently! Enan and Jenn’s restaurant is truly a labor of love and that shows in the warm atmosphere, intimate setting and delicious food.While the mission of the Wine and Food Festival is laudable, you’re helping to support a nonprofit that has been instrumental in making Charleston what it is today. $175/person dinners can get expensive fast! Consider working the following alternatives into your Festival experience to stretch your budget a little further and ease your budgetary heartburn:

Make a dinner reservation at any of the big name Charleston restaurants for a night they are not hosting a signature dinner before these places fill up fast. While dinner at any high end Charleston restaurant can be expensive, you’ll be able to see what Charleston’s culinary luminaries are up to spending quite so much money.Visit some other, non-Festival restaurants. Participating in the Wine and Food Festival is a huge commitment and, despite the ticket costs, the events are not profitable for restaurants as they are a quasi-in-kind donation to raise money for the Festival. Accordingly, many outstanding restaurants have only limited participation or do not participate at all, but are still outstanding. Some of our favorites include Prohibition, HoM, R. Kitchen, Burwell’s, Chez Nous, Butcher & Bee and Eli’s Table, but there are many, many more!Check out some local bakeries. Charleston has several world-class independent bakeries that are adored by local foodies, but not given much recognition by the Festival. Take an afternoon and visit a few. Sugar Bakeshop, Wildflour Pastry, Sweet Radish Bakeshop and Brown’s Court Bakery are all within a few blocks of each other, making for a convenient and delicious afternoon.

Schedule your own brewery or distillery tour. If you’re interested in Charleston’s breweries and want  inside access, the Charleston Brews Cruise has been offering motorized tours of several of Charleston’s breweries for the last 3+ years and has great relationships. If spirits are your thing, Charleston’s three distilleries all offer tours of their facilities while the Charleston Distillery Tour will offer motorized distillery tours of all three breweries in one comprehensive tour.

Lastly, take one of our Charleston Culinary Tours! We’ve been guiding culinary tours in Charleston for 3+ years and, in addition to showing you what our city has to offer, we can help point you in the right direction to get the most out of your Wine and Food Festival experience! Call 843-259-2966 today. 

www.charlestonculinarytours.com

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