Each year, as spring rounds the corner and foodies flock to the Holy City en masse, the Charleston Wine + Food festival transforms Marion Square into its Culinary Village.
There's so much fun to be had, we thought it'd be helpful to round up some highlights to hit each day, plus a breakdown of what "neighborhoods" make up the village. Godspeed.
Find your hangout
Artisan Market: Sample and purchase hand-crafted products at this one-stop taste and shop
Beer Garden: Grab a complimentary beer glass and sample a variety of specialty beers
Corkyard: Wine tasting with wineries from around the globe
Main Stage: A fusion of live music, high-energy cooking demos, and friendly competition
Rose Garden: Rose, literally all day
The Hub: A cornucopia of top notch food and bev exhibitors from around the country
The Patio: Hands-on culinary experiences and backyard games
FRIDAY — For the ladiesIt's International Women's Day y'all, let's show some love to these talents from here and afar:
—> All of Friday's musical acts feature a female powerhouse, so sidle over to the mainstage with a glass of rosé and boogie on down. CP writer Vincent Harris describes local "eclectic electric folk" band Megan Jean & The KFB's sound as "complex, melodic, and innovative." Check them out starting at noon. Then tune into local soul/jazz/funk/fusion vocalist Zandrina Dunning at 2 p.m. The Black Diamond Band features Christian Smalls on vocals, plus three talented dudes backing her up: Tony Cobin on bass and vocals, Shelton Desaussure on drums and vocals, and Paul Quattlebaum on guitar. Hear the funk and soul tunes starting at 4 p.m..
—> Chrissy Wittmann from Prisoner Wine Company out of Oakville, Calif. pours the good stuff in the Artisan Market from 1:30-2:30 p.m. We hope she has The Prisoner red blend and Saldo zin on deck — they're a delight (both bottles retail under $50). According to her bio, Wittmann came to winemaking in an unconventional way — after earning a B.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Wittman found her love for wine while analyzing soil and waste water samples in a lab.
- Courtesy Wine + Food
—> Local pastry hotshot and Johnson & Wales grad DaVee Harned, who currently works at Millers All Day, has also baked up sweets for Kiawah Island's Cassique Club, Charlotte's Ritz Carlton, LB Sweets and Treats, Wild Flour, Stars, and Pawpaw. Find her in The Hub for "Ride or Pie" from 2:15-3:30 p.m.
—> Founder of Austin, Texas-based biz Hardcore Carnivore, Jess Pryles will be in the Artisan Market from noon to 12:45 p.m. Pryles is a live fire cook, author, and respected meat expert with a particular penchant for beef. She also has her own brand of award-winning seasonings, a line of signature smokers, and teaches meat cookery all over the world.
—> 5Church pastry chef Esther Steffenelli participates in "Sugar Rush" in The Rosé Oasis from 3:45-5 p.m.
—> Leah Cohen, chef and owner of Pig & Khao in NYC and Piggyback Bar in Jersey City, participates in "Shake your Tail Feathers" on The Patio from noon to 1:15 p.m. According to her bio, Cohen is the child of a Filipino mother and Romanian-Jewish father, and was raised with the traditions of both ethnic backgrounds. She graduated at the top of her class from the Culinary Institute of America.
—> Victoria Shore serves as the sous chef at Atlanta's Double Zero restaurant as well as chef at the city's Krog Street Market Stall, Recess. She participates in "Burger Re-Mix" in the Beer Garden from 1:45-3 p.m.
—>Celebrity sightings: Natalie Morales, TODAY's West Coast anchor, will be in the Artisan Market from 3-3:45 p.m. with copies of her cookbook, At Home with Natalie: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living from My Family's Kitchen to Yours. Another Today show anchor, the inimitable Kathie Lee Gifford, will be on the mainstage co-hosting the morning show's fourth hour with Al Roker. Gifford announced she'd be leaving the show in April after 11 years, so this may be the last time to see her in her element — live. They report live from Waterfront Park from 9-11 a.m.
- Courtesy W+F
SATURDAY — Big on the pig
Where there's smoke ... we noticed a lot of barbecue-related events at the village on Saturday, so queue up y'all:
—> Barbecue guru Steven Raichlen will be in the Artisan Market from 4-4:45 p.m. with his book Project Fire: Cutting Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes from the Caveman Porterhouse to Salt Slab Brownie S'Mores.
—> Midlands native and Columbia-based Bone-In Barbecue chef/owner Scott Hall participates in "Field to Fork" on The Patio from 3:45-5 p.m. Hall has been featured in GQ and Smithsonian magazines as well as the Cooking Channel, Bravo, and Travel Channel.
—> Chef/partner of Brooklyn barbecue restaurant Pig Beach, Matt Abdoo participates in "Burger Re-Mix" in the Beer Garden from noon-1:15 p.m. Another Today show connection — Abdoo is a frequent guest chef on the show and has appeared on NBC's The Chew and DirecTV's Fantasty Zone.
—> Chef Mike Johnson launched his culinary career under a young Emeril Lagasse, and now is the chef/owner of 11 (and counting) locations of Sugarfire Smokehouse locations. Sugarfire has consistently been ranked best barbecue in St. Louis. Find Johnson participating in "Hot Diggity" in the Beer Garden from 3:30-5 p.m.
—> "The Professor" Tuffy Stone is many things: a World Record-breaking champion pitmaster, a former Marine, a classically trained chef, a businessman, and an occasional reality television star. Tuffy recently released Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue — find him participating in "Burger Re-Mix" in the Beer Garden from 3:30-5 p.m.
—> A West Tennessee native with family roots dating back to 1827, pitmaster Carey Bringle opened Peg Leg Porker in Nashville in 2013 to offer his award-winning barbecue, Peg Leg Porker sauces and rubs, a new line of professional-grade home smokers, and Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskies. Bringle participates in "Grillin' + Chillin'" at The Hub from 3:45 to 5 p.m.
- Courtesy W+F
SUNDAY — Bottoms up
It's the final day of the fest, which means drowning our sorrows in sips. Here's what to pour:
—> Stop by The Beer Garden for samples of these brews and ciders: TW Pitchers Brewing Co., Allagash Brewing Company, Owls Brew Radler, New Belgium Brewing, Sycamore Brewing, Ship's Wheel Hard Cider (local!), Stone Brewing, Uinta, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Pawleys Island Brewing Company (local!), Guinness, Austin Eastciders, River Rat Brewery, Holy City Brewing (local!), Wölffer No. 139 Ciders, and Bold Rock Hard Cider.
—> The ever-popular Corkyard (it's chic!) features wineries from all over the globe. Participants include Cali-based Ladera Vineyards, Alexander Valley Vineyards, JUSTIN Wines, Landmark Vineyards, Opolo Vineyards, and Pedroncelli Winery; Oregon-based Left Coast Estate and Iris Vineyards; South African Backsberg Estate Sellers and Graham Beck Enterprises; Argentinian estate Bodega Catena Zapata; Italy's Fattoria Sardi; New York-based Wölffer Estate Vineyard; Charleston's very own bourbon and Champagne bar, Bourbon N' Bubbles; and Wine Spectator magazine.