Sometimes celebration and success tastes sweet. Such was the case recently in Charleston, S.C. when diners, James Beard-winning and -nominated chefs, producers, and purveyors from all throughout the Southeast got together to support and celebrate the region’s commitment and successes to foodshed diversity through heirloom foodstuffs.
Dr. David Shields (that’s right — we published an interview with him last year about his book Southern Provisions) served as one of the hosts of the unofficial hosts of the evening. And we supped and sipped on many Ark of Taste ingredients, or the “endangered species of the American food catalog.” Think Native American Groundnuts, Bradford Watermelon, Carolina Gold Rice, and Mulefoot Hog.
That sounds fancy and forward-thinking, and it was. But more than that, it was delicious. Full disclosure: I promote Slow Food often on my podcast, The Southern Fork, so I was just planning to enjoy the evening of good food, good friends, killer cocktails, and chef chats, but I was so blown away by the event, I simply had to share. Flip through these photos to wish you had joined us, get inspired with a fun cartoon seed story narrated by David Shields, then get out there and find a new heirloom foodstuff to add to your fall table.
Stephanie Burt is a contributor for Paste based in Charleston, S.C. who used to think that she didn’t like beer. Boy was she wrong. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram at @beehivesteph or listen to her distinctive Southern accent weekly on her podcast The Southern Fork. ;
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The evening started with a special happy hour at Home Team BBQ where cocktail and snacks were served in a casual setting in the courtyard.
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Included both in the happy hour and the dinner to comes was Root Baking Company's loaves using the star of the evening -- seashore rye.
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Chef Forrest Parker, one of South Carolina's Chef Ambassadors, holds up one of the newest Slow Food Ingredients to hit the market -- groundnuts. He made these tubers into homemade chips that were a huge hit during cocktail hour.
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Guests then walked across the street were the Bower at Edmund's Oast was set with long tables, each setting decorated by a hand-dyed indigo napkin (indigo was Charleston's original cash crop during the colonial period).
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Although this evening's focus was a "Lowcountry Legacy," chefs from all throughout the Southeast participated in the event in Charleston, S.C.
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As guests were seated, a selection of Pintina Style Salamis with Rye Berry Mustard and house-made Seashore Rye crackers from Acre Restaurant in Auburn, Alabama, was passed.
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Serving as one of the hosts of the evening as representative of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation and Slow Food proponent, Dr. David Shields enjoyed the festivities as well.
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Scott Shor of Edmund's Oast and Carrie Larson of Slow Food Charleston.
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Highwire Distilling shared some as-yet unreleased Seashore Rye Whisky among the tables, one of the newest spirits that will join its already impressive list of spirits from heirloom grains and plants.
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Greg Johnsman of Geechie Boy Mill spoke about his grassroots work with Ark of Taste ingredients, including Jimmy Red Corn that he now mills into grits for many of the best chefs on the East Coast.