Greenville celebrated the good stuff — music, food, and booze — at Euphoria last weekend. The little mountain town was cursed with unseasonably hot temperatures followed by a day of pouring rain, but they managed to pull off an enjoyable little festival despite all of that.
Although the fun officially started Thursday, we arrived Friday evening just in time to catch the tail end of Taste of the South. Set up in the Peace Center Amphitheatre, a picturesque space overlooking the Reedy River, the event was one of the most foodie-oriented of the weekend, with small plates from Greenville restaurants like the Lazy Goat, American Grocery, and Rick Erwin’s. Festival co-founder Edwin McCain joined Shawn Colvin and Maia Sharp on the outdoor stage to complete the laid-back, end-of-summer vibe.
VIP guests headed to an adjoining building in the Peace Center later that night for a Moroccan-themed after-party. Draped fabrics, lanterns, and silky pillows transformed the space into a sultry casbah. After hours of drinking and now provided with a Svedka vodka bar, guests were quick to take to the dance floor, stopping only to play in the photobooth or watch a trio of belly dancers do their thing.
After checking out the Main Street farmers market on Saturday morning, we discovered Charleston’s own Chef Mike Lata kicking off the Tasting Showcase under the tents on Saturday morning. He taught the crowd how to make a hearty triggerfish dish, and everyone got a taste of the finished product. Rathbun’s Kevin Rathbun, VOLT’s Bryan Voltaggio, and GILT’s Justin Bogle rounded out the schedule.
Besides the chef’s demonstrations, food wasn’t as much of a highlight at this all-day event. A handful of catering companies offered a small selection of tasty food, but the focus was on the wine — and there was plenty of it to sample. Being the proud Charlestonians that we are, we headed straight for the Firefly, but we also enjoyed tastes from Fritz Winery, Gallo Family, and J. Lohr Vineyards, among many others.
Across the street at the swanky Westin, wine seminars were held throughout the day, including a wine and chocolate seminar we hear was to die for. We dropped in to learn about food and wine pairings from master sommelier Wayne Belding later that afternoon. Faced with seven glasses and six small bites, we learned how wine can alter the taste of food, and vice versa.
Euphorians scattered to the city’s finest restaurants for wine dinners later that night followed by an after-party at the Lazy Goat. The following day, the aforementioned rain pounded the tents, but the faithful rallied and made their way back for a New Orleans-style jazz brunch. In a separate tent from the food, the jazz was no doubt the main event, while the food was mostly lackluster. Good thing after a weekend of such indulgence, eating wasn’t as much of a concern.
Now in its third year, the festival is blossoming into a popular event that highlights the Upstate’s best food and entertainment. Set right in the middle of charming Greenville, it’s a great opportunity to explore our neighbor to the north while indulging in a growing variety of wine and food.