*Disclosure: I received free admission to the CWFF Culinary Village in exchange for this editorial piece. Per usual, all photos, thoughts, and opinions are my own*
This past Sunday, my husband and I were able to spend a baby free day at one of the most sought after events in the Holy City: The Culinary Village presented at the Charleston Wine and Food Festival.
Over the span of five glorious hours, we were encouraged to sip, savor, taste, and participate in hundreds of samplings of succulent meats and seafood, southern spirits, herb infused wines, fruit laced oils and vinegars, cooking demos, book signings, and chocolate covered beer shooters.
I can almost say, without a doubt, this may have been the best day ever.
We started the day by taking our very first Uber ride to Marion Square, a 6.5 acre lush green lawn in the heart of the town where the city’s farmer’s market and College of Charleston coeds bask in the sun as soon as spring has sprung.
Upon entry, we received our complimentary (and full size!) wine glasses and tote bags and were ushered into the bustling scene.
The Culinary Village was divided into 4 main sections with a few bonus tents scattered throughout. We started our day in The Hub an “open-air tasting experience featuring over 40 high-quality food and beverage exhibitors from around the country”.
Our first tasting were of wines and cordials from Salute! LLC. importers of VICARIO™ Wines & Spirits and winners of the 2016 Good Food Awards. Their Sangiovese wine was marvelous and tasted as if you were being hand fed rich, plum sweetened grapes under the golden rays of a Tuscan sunset.
Their Dragoncello (or tarragon) Liqueur was sweet and light reminding me of a smoother, cleaner, and dainty Sambuca or Grecian ouzo. I am a sucker for all things black licorice so this was one drink I would sip on over and over again if given the chance.
Next we tried the Brut Rosé from Château de Bligny, a distinguished estate built in the southern part of the Champagne vineyards in France.
The line to get a sampling of these beauties was a wee bit long, but it was absolutely worth the wait. Their Rosé was dry and crisp with just enough sweetness to put a smile on your lips.
After that, Will and I wandered over to the Charleston Magazine tent where we took an opportunity to get featured on their cover by posing in front of their display with giant cardboard cutouts of Lowcountry staples. As you can see from the photo above, I doubt you’ll be seeing us in print any time soon!
We had a great time yucking it up with the shrimp and cocktails when suddenly we caught a whiff of one of the most intoxicating scents on the planet: freshly roasted, home brewed, get in my belly right now COFFEE.
Behold Royal Cup Coffee & Tea out of Birmingham, AL who had HC Valentine cold brewed coffee ON TAP.
As if this coffee couldn’t get any finer, they then added in a few glugs of Bailey’s Espresso Creme to top us off.
At this point we had gotten our fill of free booze (for the time being, of course) and we went on the hunt for some food. You would think getting something to eat would have been much easier than it sounded but, after attending this event, I came to the realization the Charleston Wine and Food Festival has the word “wine” before “food” in its name for a reason.
There was definitely much more booze than food!
We soon found the William-Sonoma culinary masters who were serving lovely chicken and cornbread dumplings out of the most massive and most jealously enticing Le Creuset stock pot I have ever laid my eyes upon.
I have quite a thing for Le Creuset, it is my life’s wish to own their entire Cassis collection, so I drooled a little more over the pot than I did the chicken and dumplings, but that’s not because they weren’t tasty.
I just want one of those stock pots real bad.
The broth of the chicken and dumplings was velvety and had a rich flavor, but I do feel as if they were a bit heavy handed with the chicken base obviously added in. It was still quite good and warming and would be a welcome meal on a chilly March night after spending the day at the beach, pool, or water park.
I was amazed; however, by how precisely the chicken had been cubed and the dumplings had been rolled into these perfect little pillows of yum.
Next we found this super tasty broccoli salad presented by Kiawah Golf Island Resort which is the resort on the super ritzy island of Kiawah that’s about 21 miles from downtown Charleston.
This salad had a multitude of flavors and textures by way of tender, blanched broccoli, a sweet creamy dressing, crunchy BBQ pork rinds, purple onions, and a drizzle of a a vinegar like glaze.
This was definitely not yo mama’s broccoli salad!
Next we made our way to The Third Space presented by The Mind of A Chef.
This amazing tent was the second busiest of them all and mingled together award-winning chefs, and 60+ demos and tastings which were focused on 5 areas:
Earth by GrowFood Carolina
Air by Springer Mountain Farms
Land by Stock Yards
Sea by St. Jude Farms
Fire by Firefly Spirits
Since this tent and the remainder of our adventure deserves its own post, I will be coming back for round two later in the week!
For more event coverage and to see how I spend my days as a working stay-at-home mom, be sure to check me out and follow me on IG and Snapchat (username: slimpickinskitchen).