From Chicken Sh*t Bingo to Brose Brunch, this wasn’t your mamma’s food festival. Celebrating its 11th anniversary bringing culinary talent to and celebrating the existing talent of Charleston, SC, the 2016 Charleston Wine and Food Festival moved away from both a traditional tasting tent experience in its main hub, as well as its focus on primarily “sit-down dinners.”
The two large central tents that comprised the anchor of the event in Marion Square were deconstructed and re-imagined as an experience that included a hands-on kitchen, plenty of grilling, a spirits and wine hub, and a biergarten. There was also a teepee which housed Heritage Radio (who streamed live interviews throughout the festival) and a “pop-up” wine shop where people could purchase some of the wines they enjoyed.
Speaking of wines, there were plenty of wine pairings with multi-course dinners (including a standout Sparkling + Spice Dinner collaboration between Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen and Chef Katie Button), but for the most part, the high heels and suit and tie were traded more often for boots and jeans. More casual offerings and some excursions outside the city to experience the bounty of the region peppered the programming and provided attendees with a little rowdy fun and a lot of facetime with chefs, pitmasters and more.
Here are some of the highlights.