Citizens of Food

If you happened to miss the weekend’s win-o festivities, here’s a wrap-up of one of The Peninsula’s most anticipated gatherings.

Opening Ceremonies were held on the corner of King and Calhoun in the shadow of the Francis Marion—with performances by these street drummers and mingling of the movers and shakers that made this year’s festival as strong as it was.

The Charleston Crepe Company, who offered toffee and strawberry crepes, were just one of the many vendors inside the Culinary Village vying for your attention with shrimp-n-grits, mussels, pimento cheese, and West Coast wine samples. A hot commodity of the weekend was a clever tray that attaches to your wine glass—freeing up your other hand for sampling and shaking hands.

You could see Steeples of the Holy City peeking over the tent village as the Blue Plantation Band’s strumming and fine weather brought the crowds outside.  Golf carts cruised beside King St. like they were on Kiawah, and festival-goers thrilled to a host of rubs, salsas and stews up for sampling. Beyond the Grand Tasting tent, the outdoor BB&T hardwood-floored and lounge chaired-filled tent provided some very classy mingling.

Celebrity cooking demonstrations revealed tips (Elizabeth Karmel, grilling goddess, recommends placing a cooling rack within a cookie sheet to give meats or vegetables that carmelized taste), culture lessons (Chef Daniel Boulud, on running a business and integrating the ways of two countries), and featured loads of chefs from Boston, the Delta, France and the Carolinas. One could hear the audible groans of food writers and home cooks alike as the pros layered on the flavor.

Sheila’s Art designed some signature festival metalwork after Jay Fletcher’s winning poster design honoring the festival’s fifth anniversary. Notice the clever tally marks represented by Rainbow Row and a dinner fork. Some other crafty details worth mentioning include a wine stand lit with suspended wine bottles stuffed with lights, and cleverly hung Tiffany lamps from within a tent that gave an elegant air.

Sunday’s Lowcountry Gospel Brunch was a feast of color with some of the city’s top caterers.  Plaid napkins, punchy chandeliers, and cocktails jazzed up the lofty Main tent as the crowds milled around. Being locals day, Sunday had the relaxed pace of well-dressed Charlestonians enjoying wine and the gorgeous weather.  And so the festival winded down to the sounds of the Blue Dogs at BBQ, Blues, and Brews as crews packed out their tents.

Whether you were fortunate enough to check out the sold-out Dine-Around and off-site events, or if you just made a day out of it at Marion Square, we hope you’ve expanded your horizons a little and that you’ll bring that into your own home.  Cheers to the Wine + Food festival 2010!

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