2012 Charleston Wine and Food Festival

 (Kathryn Wagner)

Words by Jessica Raymond

Considering that residents and visitors alike, adorned in rainboots and rain jackets, were eager to get out of the downpour, the weather did not affect the energetic crowd that gathered at the 2012 Food and Wine Festival culinary village in Marion Square on Saturday, March 3rd. Although nationally recognized products and brands were present, the focus remained on the talent located in Charleston, with local chefs and restaurants providing tastes of some of their best dishes in the tasting tents located in the village.

Middleton Place served a catfish stew, comprised of fingerling potatoes, fennel, leeks, and herbed tomatoes, providing a bit of a “pick me up” for the nasty weather. Grill 225, Charleston’s prime steak restaurant, provided sliders, featuring their famous prime beef, along with dressed arugula. Mercato, a destination to savour authentic italian dishes, dished out servings of chickpeas served in a savory sauce, with bacon. Graze provided an updated version of a classic dish, combining decadent macaroni and cheese with crispy lobster.

For those wanting to drink their dinner, plenty of local drink specialists were there to quench the palate. Cocktail Club, a part of the renowned Indigo Group, served tastes of their antipasto martini, containing their house infused roasted rep pepper and black peppercorn vodka, olive juice, muddled basil, lemon, white baslamic and lillet rouge. This spicy delight was garnished with an olive and a smoked salt and flower-pepper rim.  A southern favorite, Palmetto Brewery, was also present to let fans and newcomers, with Chris Winn serving up tastes of some of their favorite beers. Palmetto Brewing Company is a landmark in the South Carolina brewing industry, according to Winn.

“The first batch was created in 1994, and it was the first production brewery in South Carolina since prohibition began in 1933.”

With 42,000 cases of beer sold and business growing by 17% last year, Palmetto Brewing Company is truly providing competition for other craft brewers, and is quickly becoming a staple beer provider in Charleston, South Carolina.

This year’s festival brought together some of the most promising culinary talent, not only in Charleston, but from around the country. Guests were able to sample and taste new food, beers, and wines, along with meeting and chatting with some of culinary cuisine’s most famous faces. The only thing missing from this delicious extravaganza was Charleston’s typically beautiful weather, which is just another reason to come back next year.

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