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Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes


Lowcountry Limelight: Stephanie Burt

For Stephanie Burt, food has always served as a catalyst for connection. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, she spent many afternoons with her mother and grandmother learning the ins-and-outs of the kitchen. One of Stephanie’s most vivid memories is of her grandmother’s fried chicken, often enjoyed during sunny afternoon picnics at the park.

Stephanie’s love for fried chicken remains intact today, providing a sort-of homecoming for the food writer who spends countless hours at restaurant tables and on the road exploring the South’s foodways.

Before turning her attention to the culinary world, Stephanie received her master’s degree in American Literature, devoting her time to researching and writing about the occult. However, after a few uncomfortable book signings, she knew the world of vampires and werewolves wasn’t for her.

Her love for all things food led her to begin writing about the makers and chefs who inspired her. Leaning into her roots, Stephanie sought to uncover the history behind the flavors that defined the South. Interviewing hundreds of chefs, purveyors, artisans, and more, she has devoted her work to finding the common thread that ties together communities throughout the region.

Using her unique perspective as a guide, Stephanie has helped shine a national spotlight on Southern cuisine by publishing stories for outlets including SAVEUR, Travel + Leisure, and more. She gets even more intimate on her podcast, The Southern Fork, where she has one-on-one conversations with the people behind the famed food of the American South.

Ultimately, Stephanie sees food as an opportunity to reach out and overcome the divisiveness that has riddled our society. Because, regardless of your ethnicity, gender, etc., everyone has a story about their favorite meal.

Stephanie claims she can get any chef to engage in a real conversation with only two questions. First, “How did you get into cooking?” Then, once they give the sure answer about childhoods spent in the kitchen, “Did you spend a lot of time with that family member?” What follows is an interaction that goes beyond surface level and opens the door for true connection.

Stephanie believes this method can be applied to every interaction, whether it be on an airplane or in line at a Starbucks. You just have to be willing to engage and find the common thread.

She challenges everyone to step outside of their own thoughts for a moment and find a way to connect with those around you. Even if it's as simple as asking what flavor cake pop the person in front of you ordered.

These simple conversations lay the groundwork for connection, allowing us to preserve our communities as differences in opinion and ideology threaten to divide us. And that is why, as Stephanie asserts, food is so much more than what is on your plate.

You can follow Stephanie on Instagram at @thesouthernfork and listen to The Southern Fork on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or her website.

-Chris Bailey, Marketing Coordinator

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Three Dishes: Renzo

Anyone that knows me knows I live and die by pizza. Whether its breakfast or dinner, hot or cold, cheesy or covered in toppings, I can always find happiness in a slice.

That said, my standards are set high for my pies. Luckily, one of my favorite spots is tucked away in the Hampton Park neighborhood, only steps from our office.

Set in cozy, laid-back digs, Renzo is offering up a unique take on the classics with their ever-changing menu, paired with a carefully-curated natural wine program. Chef Evan Gaudreau and his team are serving up innovative + exciting wood-fired pizzas that break the mold of your typical crusted favorites.

While their eclectic menu offers up dishes suited to just about any palate, these three dishes are my go-to’s and are the perfect starting point for your first visit to this hidden gem.

Dish 1: House Bread

At first glance, this simple dish can be deceiving. However, once you slather the salted butter on and take a bite, Renzo’s house bread is a whole lot more than your run-of-the-mill dinner roll. The crunchy edges and soft middle make this the perfect opening number for your meal.

Dish 2: Wrath of Kahan Pizza

To be fair, every pie I’ve had at Renzo has been delicious. But, if you’re looking for a unique spin on your standard fare, I highly recommend the Wrath of Kahan. The sweetness of the piquillo pepper sauce and dates pair perfectly with the little bit of heat from the chorizo to create a funky and flavorful pizza.

Dish 3: Fernet Ice Cream

No meal is complete without dessert, and Renzo’s ice cream offerings are the perfect complement to the main course. My personal favorite is the fernet ice cream which captures the sweetness and bitterness of the spirit, offering an upscale take on the creamy treat. Pro tip: add on honeycomb crunch to give it some extra texture and round out your meal.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Renzo. Between the excellent food, natural wines, and the friendly staff, this hidden gem has something for everyone. Make sure to add Renzo to your restaurant rotation and let us know what your favorites are. Cheers!

-Chris Bailey, Marketing Coordinator

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635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403