fbpx

Save the Dates: March 4 – 8, 2020

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

The Smoky Secrets to the Best BBQ with Charleston’s Top Pitmasters

From left to right: Aaron Siegel, John Lewis, Anthony DiBernardo

Rising temperatures and sunny skies can only mean one thing: summer’s here. Marked by long days at the beach working on the perfect tan and late-afternoon bike rides through the neighborhood, the dog days offer the chance to ditch suits for shorts and let your hair down for some fun in the sun.

Summer also means something else. Grilling. Whether throwing a backyard BBQ with your friends or just giving your winter-worn oven a rest, the smoky flavors from dishes adorned with grill marks are a staple of the season. We’ve gathered some of Charleston’s top pitmasters to find out how you can take your BBQ from boring to badass. Aaron Siegel of Home Team BBQ, Anthony DiBernardo of Swig & Swine, and John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue are sharing their tips + tricks to become a BBQ Boss in your own right.

What is your best advice for someone looking to beef up their home barbecue?

Anthony: Keep it simple.  Do as much preparation in advance as you can.

John: Order take out from Lewis Barbecue! Just kidding… In all seriousness, I like to keep it simple and have everything prepped beforehand.  My number one advice for smoked meats is starting with a quality product. Invest in premium meat and you won’t have to do much besides cooking it properly to make it taste good. Buddy up to your local butcher or even go to Costco or Sam’s Club and splurge on USDA Prime Cut from the Certified Angus Beef.

Aaron: Balance the meat with lighter, fresh sides to compliment the spread. Summer is great for fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs. Oh, and cold beer.

So, what are your must-have sides?

Aaron: Can't go wrong with some mac n’ cheese somebody's mama made, or something light like cucumber and tomato salad to balance out the meat sweats.

Anthony: Some of my must-have side dishes are corn on the cob, tomato cucumber salad, pickled shrimp, and some type of coleslaw or potato salad.

John: Green Chile Corn Pudding is our signature side dish. It’s got a little heat and is super creamy. I also love putting out pickled red onions, pickles, and white bread to soak up the sauce.

What are the most common grilling mistakes people make at home? And how can you avoid them?

John: The most common mistake I see is slicing the meat right after it’s pulled off the grill. You have to let meat rest - especially beef - before cutting into or you’ll lose all that juice and flavor you’ve worked so hard on cultivating. Be patient!

Aaron: The great thing about cooking and more specifically grilling at home, is there really are no mistakes. You're experimenting. If you liked what you made, write it down so you remember it for next time. If even the dog turned up its nose, try again.

Anthony: Rushing the process of charcoal.  Light your grill an hour before you plan to use it.

Can you cook other things on the grill besides meat?

Anthony: I like to take potatoes and onions and wrap them in aluminum foil and put them directly into the coals as I cook. Another thing I like to do on the grill is making a cobbler in a Dutch oven over the charcoal.

Aaron: At Home Team BBQ we love to grill and smoke vegetables. One of our favorite items is a salsa verde which uses grilled tomatillos, poblano peppers, and jalapeños. It's fresh, smokey, and delicious on anything from nachos to pork chops. We've also been known to grill fruit, like pineapples, that go great in making cocktails.

John: I love grilled corn on the cob. It’s an easy side and everyone thinks it’s impressive looking, but it’s super easy!

Final question, what do you do with the leftovers?

Aaron: What leftovers? Yesterday's meats are just tomorrow's tacos.

John: Tacos!

Anthony: I usually take the leftovers and just distribute them to the neighbors or buy a package of to go boxes from the grocery store and have them available for my guests to take any leftovers home

There you have it. Say goodbye to basic barbecues and get ready to be the rockstar of your next summertime celebration. Let us know what your favorite grill recipes and hacks are on social media using #chswff. Cheers!

-Chris Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager

Continue Reading

Best Summer Beach Bites

Summer is here and in full swing. The sun is shining and the temperatures are most definitely rising. One of Charleston’s favorite activities is unwinding with full days under the sun and wading in the waves at the beach. In Charleston, it’s no secret that there are plenty of options to eat well no matter what kind of activity you may be doing. So, where do we even begin? There are a number of hidden gems for the perfect bite both close to and on the way to each of the beaches in the area. Not only is there ample access to food you can grab-and-go on your way, but you can also easily find something tasty that will make you savor every bite. Here is our guide for the best beach bites.

Sullivan's Island

Sullivan's Island Co-Op

The Co-Op on Sullivan’s Island is your ideal one-stop-shop for all the essentials. For food needs, they provide quick and tasty sandwiches, salads, all day breakfast, and a deli section. They also offer a wide variety of beverages from coffee to juices to their famous frosé (to enjoy before going back on the beach!).  What really sweetens the deal is that the Co-Op offers delivery to any of the beach stations, so you can get any must-haves in a few short footsteps.

Middle-Street Market

The owners of Home Team BBQ have struck a balance between convenience and quality with Middle-Street Market. Whether you’re looking for a smoothie from Hustle Smoothie Bar or artisanal sandwiches inspired by historic residents of Sullivan’s Island, this “happy little market” is the place to go.

Mozzo Deli

Mozzo is conveniently located right on Coleman Boulevard less than ten minutes on your way to Sullivan’s Island. This eatery is known for their exceptionally wide variety of provisions that are quickly prepared, in fact, you may even find yourself overwhelmed. You can find just about any kind of sandwich on the spectrum from simple to sophisticated, as well as breakfast, burgers, and salads. Mozzo has something for everyone looking for something speedy.

Folly Beach

Lost Dog Cafe

Whether you want a tasty takeaway with a southern twist or a shady oasis to kick back, Lost Dog Cafe on Folly can do both! Lost Dog Cafe serves breakfast and lunch with options such as classic Charleston Shrimp + Grits, for those looking to indulge shamelessly, or a Very Berry Spinach Salad if you want something healthy. This place has a wide selection that welcomes guests to sit and stay awhile or to quickly take back to the beach that will have you feeling as bright + golden as the dogs you’re likely to see running around here.

Scram

If you find yourself on the way to Folly Beach around breakfast time, Scram is definitely the place for grab-and-go. Helmed by former FIG pastry chef, Melanie Durant, Scram is likely to curb even your most relentless morning cravings. Whether it’s a sweet custard-filled milk bun or one of their savory fontina egg and chili mayo breakfast sandwiches, this food truck will give you the elevated pick-me-up you didn’t even know you needed for a day at the beach.

Bert's Market

Known for its motto “We may doze, but we never close”, Bert's is known by many in the area for being the hub of eccentricity and friendliness on Folly. While it may have a humble appearance on the outside, this divey, one-stop-shop has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Bert's persistently pleasant hospitality and high variety of commodities cannot be beat. The deli provides unique specialty sandwiches, sweet treats, hot dogs, bagels, and more that are tasty + quick. From pretzel crisps to their rave-worthy homemade peanut butter, everything you need for fun in the sun at Folly is just a block and a half to the ocean and open 24 hours!

Isle of Palms

Cafe Paname

If you’re having trouble finding this place, all you have to do is look for its iconic, Instagram-worthy VW van. This French-inspired haunt is known for its friendly service + croissant-centric creations. Just to demonstrate how creative these croissants can get, you can get anything from dijon mustard to classic provolone + mayo, or even smoked salmon and pimento cheese.

Sea Biscuit Cafe

Sea Biscuit Cafe is a local favorite for quick breakfast and lunch just less than two blocks from the ocean. Their charming atmosphere and affordable prices have everyone coming back time-after-time to indulge in classic southern breakfast done right. While this humble IOP staple may look small and easy to miss upon the first impression, locals and visitors alike have raved over for their friendly service and savory bites. Sea Biscuit Cafe has without a doubt become a go-to for beachside homestyle comfort food.

Papi's Taqueria

Papi’s is a great place to spice up your day on IOP with elevated tex-mex flavor. Rusty Hamilton, “Food Network Star” runner up and chef to country music superstar Zac Brown, opened Papi’s less than a year ago. Hamilton aspired to bring creative southwest flavor to his favorite vacation spot.  This place does the trick whether you want takeaway tacos or to sit and stay a while sipping on one of their signature margaritas, all seconds from the beach.

-Bobby Carey, Marketing + Communication Intern

Continue Reading

#WhyIWineandFood: Caitlyn Mayer

Sustainability, community, and good meals are a few of the things Charleston’s “oyster queen” Caitlyn Mayer holds close to her heart. Caitlyn + her husband, Peter, opened Charleston Oyster Farm in 2016. Today, Caitlyn + Peter run the farm with Peter's brother, Tom. With HQ located just over the bridge on Stono River the trio work hard to provide local, delicious oysters to restaurants across the peninsula, all while minimizing food miles as much as possible. Caitlyn explains “by being as close to our consumer population as possible, we can cut down on the amount of gas that we use. We have a really green footprint, we don’t have to use that much ice for freshwater because we can basically take them out and take them to the restaurant.” Sustainability plays a big role not only in Caitlyn’s job as oyster farmer - also in the courses she teaches as an adjunct geology professor at the College of Charleston. Her inspiration to teach evolved from both her passion for the Lowcountry + her experience attending the College herself. During her time at the College of Charleston, Caitlyn worked in a number of the Holy City’s food + beverage hotspots including Höm + Edmund’s Oast. From there, she developed an understanding + appreciation for quality culinary experiences. Caitlyn explains that through travel and working in food + bev there is an invaluable opportunity to learn “how all of your food has so much more of a story than you think.” This passion for wine + food only deepened during the summer she spent on a vineyard in France. She describes how the labor, authenticity, and knowledge that goes into the food in Europe keeps people from taking a meal for granted. “It’s cool,” she says, “to be around a society that’s so passionate about where their food comes from + how they’re growing it + why it has the flavor it does.” Caitlyn further explains how something as simple as a picnic baguette + charcuterie should be relished. The perspective Caitlyn gained from her time in Charleston restaurants + France inspires her to appreciate her meals and encourage consumers of her oysters to do the same. “It’s all about taking life as is and just enjoying the moment,” Caitlyn says. “That’s something that’s cool about an oyster... the setting you have to be in to eat it is not a fast-paced setting.” While pairing the salty shellfish with the perfect wine can make for a fabulous evening, many consumers, even locals, forget the cultural and historical context of oysters and local oyster farming. Oyster farming is so much more than a key component of the Holy City food + beverage industry. The process stands as a huge part of Charleston’s historical, cultural and economic foundation. Maintaining the rich history surrounding oyster farming was important to Caitlyn and the Charleston Oyster Farm. “That’s how Charleston was founded. Major cities were founded because oysters existed there. So it’s just a really cool part of our history,” Caitlyn says. Consumers can see Caitlyn’s and the Charleston Oyster Farm’s devotion to respecting the culture and history of this business in everything they do. From the historic location of the farm near the old Bachman’s facility on the Stono River to the names of the oysters they harvest. The “Perky Sea Cups,” are a cheeky reference the salty and refreshing flavor of the oysters, while the “Mosquito Fleet Petites” pay homage to the Gullah Geechee culture of the region, a culture that kickstarted local oyster harvesting as an industry. “It was really important to us,” Caitlyn explains, “to try and revitalize that part of our history and work in an area that’s always been in a fishing community and stay true to the indigenous peoples and their ways.” Sharing her passion for oysters and teaching others the nature and sustainability of local oyster farming are just a few reasons Caitlyn enjoys being a part of festivals like Charleston Wine + Food. “We don’t really get to interact with the consumer, we’re just selling to the restaurant,” Caitlyn says. “That’s what’s really cool about getting to participate in events like this because otherwise we don’t know how great it is or how we’re really impacting the public.”
Continue Reading

Recipe: Blistered Snap Peas with Garlic, Chili and Vinegar

Enjoy this simple veggie side dish from Matt Canter of The Establishment!    

Blistered Snap Beans with Garlic, Chili and Vinegar

  1 lb green beans, stem removed 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons dry chili flakes 1/2 cup sherry vinegar Fleur de Sel, or another coarse sea salt for finishing like Bulls Bay     Use a large saute pan- or two. (Its important not to over crowd the pans with the beans as they will not get the nice browning)   Add just enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat until smoking.   Place the beans in a single layer in the pans, toss to coat and reduce the heat to medium and allow the beans to brown.   After 1 - 2 minutes of constantly moving the beans around the pan, remove from the heat and add the garlic and chili flakes. Toss in the pan to coat.   As soon as the garlic begins to slightly brown, add just enough of the vinegar to lightly coat and deglaze the pan.   Serve hot and right out of the pan, sprinkled with course sea salt.
Continue Reading

Recipe: Tahini Peanut Oat Cookie

Enjoy these tasty treats from Greer Gilchrist + Cameron Neal of The Harbinger Cafe!    

Tahini Peanut Oak Cookies

2 cups rolled oats 1/4 cup and 2 TB peanuts ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 1 tb chia seed ¼ cup chopped dried apricots ¼ cup tahini ½ cup maple syrup ¼ cup almond milk 1 tsp vanilla   Topping: Cinnamon sugar Chia seeds   Toast the oats and the peanuts for 10 minutes in an oven at 350. They can share a tray. In a food processor pulse 1 cup of the oats and ¼ cup of the peanuts into a flour (do not pulse the remaining 1 cup of oats and 2 TB peanuts).   Add all of the dry ingredients into a bowl from the oats to the chia seeds (including the oat/peanut flour and the reserved oats and peanuts).   Mix in the chopped dried apricots and use your hands to incorporate them into the flour so they don’t clump together.   Add in the wet ingredients from the tahini to the vanilla.   Using a scoop or your hands create even balls and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. Use the palm of your hand to push them down so they resemble flat discs. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar + more chia seeds.   Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.   Allow to cool and enjoy!
Continue Reading

Recipe: Dumplings

Celebrate Chinese New Year with this dumpling recipe from Shuai + Corrie Wang of Short Grain and the soon-to-open Jackrabbit Filly! You can see them during Charleston Wine + Food at Hipster Cocktail Party + Southern Renaissance.    

Dumplings

5 cups napa cabbage, finely chopped & lightly salted 1/2 lb ground pork (or ground chicken works) 2 teaspoon minced ginger 1 stalk scallion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon dark Chinese cooking wine or sherry 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil 2 teaspoon lite soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon cornstarch Pinch of white pepper 1 pack “Twine Marquis” brand dumpling wrapper, “Shanghai style” thickness (Leave at room temperature over night the day before you make the dumplings, this will make the wrapping part much easier)   To make the filling, first take the salted cabbage and drain all excess water, make sure you get as much water out as you can or else it’ll make the filling watery. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well, making sure not to over mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before making the dumplings.   To make the dumplings, have a small bowl of water to help seal the wrapper. Put one sheet of wrapper in the palm of your hand, and place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle. Slightly dampen the edge of half the wrapper, making sure that it is damp but not wet - too much moisture will make a messy dumpling! Fold  the wrapper close and press the edges making sure there are no air bubbles in the middle where the filling is, and give it a good pinch. Repeat until all fillings are gone. Pan fry in oil or boil in water until wrappers are translucent, then enjoy!  

Dipping Sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chinese black rice vinegar (Malt vinegar is a good substitute.)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon “Lau Gan Ma” crispy chili in oil (optional)
 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix.
 
Continue Reading

Experience the 2019 Campaign

[embed]https://youtu.be/-0F07sa_LY8[/embed]   This year’s campaign tagline was Experience Our Story. It’s all about people. They’re who we are and at the center of everything we do. Their stories influence our story. Their stories are our story. This year’s campaign told the stories of a diverse group of food and beverage talent that individually and collectively have shaped + influenced the story of Charleston’s culinary + hospitality community. Each one of these individuals featured in our campaign represents the ideas + values of Charleston Wine + Food.   Their stories – where they came from, how cooking makes them feel + what food means to them, and how they would want their stories told to the world - were interpreted through doodles + illustrations that embellished their portraits.      

Rodney Scott

James Beard Award winner Rodney Scott is one of the most recognized names to come out of the Holy City, with his whole hog barbecue becoming synonymous with Charleston's food scene. Rodney's story is one rooted in the South as he learned to love the art of smoking meat in his hometown of Hemingway before bringing his talents to Charleston.      

Carrie Morey

Charleston's resident biscuit queen Carrie Morey was no stranger to the culinary world after growing up watching her mother run a successful catering company. Tapping into her family's traditions + recipes, Carrie opened Callie's Hot Little Biscuit to share her love for cooking with the world and give them a little taste of true southern cuisine.      

Caroline Woodruff

Caroline Woodruff has made her mark on both the Holy City and Charleston Wine + Food, taking home the title of Iron Mixologist during the 2018 festival. For Caroline, being behind the bar gives her a chance to make meaningful connections with her customers and pour out a little fun to brighten up anyone's day.      

Morgan Calcote

Morgan Calcote is a freshly-minted James Beard Award winner after building the carefully curated wine program at Charleston favorite, FIG. Behind each glass of wine is the story of a grape and its journey from vine to bottle, and Morgan's passion for telling those stories resonates in each perfectly paired glass served in the quaint dining room she helms.      

Cynthia Wong

Cynthia Wong quickly established herself as one of the best pastry chefs in Charleston. In 2018, Cynthia decided to follow her passions and open up her own ice cream company. Life Raft Treats has become a local favorite for those looking to save their day with a unique, hand-crafted sweet treat.      

Ruchi Mistry

Along with her husband Tom, Ruchi Mistry opened Huriyali Gardens in Charleston's North Central neighborhood to prove food can be used to nourish both the body + the mind. Priding herself on her commitment to sound ecological practices, Ruchi continues to celebrate the vibrance of flavorful food sourced from the earth, satisfying both our stomachs + our souls.      

Shuai + Corrie Wang

Shuai + Corrie Wang are some of the leaders of the emerging renaissance in southern cuisine. Fusing together traditional Chinese recipes with their love for the ingredients found in Charleston's vibrant landscape, this dynamic duo is changing the way people think about Asian cuisine and leaving their mark on the Holy City's culinary community.    
Continue Reading

Recipe: Lobster Gnocchi

Keep it simple + fresh with this Lobster Gnocchi recipe from Drew Hedlund of Tradd's!

Ingredients

3 oz Rio Bertollini's lemon basil gnocchi

2 oz cooked cold water lobster meat

1 tsp oven dried tomatoes

1/2 tsp preserved lemon

1/4 cup lobster stock

2 Tbs butter

1 oz arugula

Parmesan reggiano

 

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  Place butter in a sauté pan and melt over medium heat until lightly brown and foamy.  

Add gnocchi to boiling water. When they float to the top, cook for 1 minute more.

  Using a slotted spoon or spider, gently transfer the gnocchi to the pan of melted butter to brown lightly.  

Add lobster meat, preserved lemon, and oven dried tomato to sauté pan. Heat through and season with salt and pepper.

 

Add lobster stock and reduce until the liquid is gone.

 

Add arugula to sauté pan and cook for around 5 minutes, until the leaves begin to wilt.

 

Toss and serve with parmesan reggiano on top.

Continue Reading

Recipe: Yule Log

'Tis the season for cheer + treats! Enjoy a holiday classic with this Chocolate Caramel Yule Log recipe from Pastry Chefs Anne White and Elizabeth Skelton of Mercantile and Mash.    

Meringue Mushrooms

  4oz/120g whites, room temperature 2 Tbs cocoa powder + more for dusting Pinch cream of tartar 3/4 cup/140g granulated sugar 1 cup/140g powdered sugar, sifted 1/4 cup Ghiradelli semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (this is the “glue”)   Preheat the oven to 200°F.   Put the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on high speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks. Fold in the sifted powdered sugar.   Pipe the meringue mushrooms onto a Silpat using a piping bag fitted with a medium round piping tip. Pipe “kisses” for the stems, pulling the bag up sharply at the end to make a sharp pointy tip. For the caps, keep the tip 1/4” up and make filled circles.   Bake immediately in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and allow meringues to sit overnight in closed oven. Do not open the oven at all once the meringues are in it.   Assembly: Poke holes in bottom of the mushroom caps with a toothpick or a paring knife. Dab a bit of melted chocolate into the hole. Take the stem of the mushroom and place the pointed end into the chocolate and hold still until chocolate is firm enough to stay into place.    

Caramel Sauce

  1 cup heavy cream 1 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar 3 Tbs light corn syrup 1 tsp sea salt Water as needed 1½ Tbs unsalted butter   Heat the cream to until steaming. Set aside.   Place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and enough water to make a wet sand texture in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until combined. Without any further stirring, cook the mixture to a medium amber color. Watch carefully as it can burn quickly. Turn off the heat and add the hot heavy cream in a slow, steady stream, while whisking constantly. Be careful as it will bubble up. Add the butter and whisk until all is combined. Set aside.    

Chocolate Sponge Cake

  Cocoa power 4 oz/120g 64% chocolate 6 eggs, separated, room temperature 6 Tbs./80g granulated sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract ¾ tsp. cream of tartar 1/8 tsp. kosher salt   Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 18 inch x 13inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and spray the parchment. Lightly sift cocoa powder over the parchment.   Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.   Combine the yolks and 1/4 cup/50g of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip it on high speed until the mixture turns a light yellow and thickens enough that when you lift the whisk over the mixture, the mixture forms a ribbon as it slowly falls back onto itself, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract. Add melted chocolate in a steady stream, whipping until just combined. Set aside.   In a new, absolutely clean bowl, use a clean whisk to whip the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip the whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 2½ tablespoons/30g sugar and whip the whites on high speed until medium/stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. Repeat twice more. Don’t over mix.   Spread the batter into baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. Take the cake out of the oven and cover it with a slightly damp kitchen towel.  

Caramel Mousse

  3 *silver strength gelatin sheets 1 Tbs/15g cold water 1 cup/235g caramel sauce 3 egg yolks/55g yolks 6 Tbs/75g granulated sugar 1½ /45g egg whites Pinch sea salt 1cup/205g heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks   Combine the gelatin and water in a double boiler and heat until the gelatin melts. Heat the caramel to 100°F, add the gelatin mixture, and stir. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.   Make a double boiler with the bowl of a stand mixer and a saucepan. Combine the yolks and 1 heaping Tbs/15g of the sugar in the bowl and whisk them over barely simmering water until the mixture reaches 145°F, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip them on high speed until the mixture is cool. Set aside.   In a new, absolutely clean bowl, combine the egg whites, salt, and remaining 5 Tbs/60g of sugar, place it over the saucepan of barely simmering water and use a clean whisk to whip the mixture until it reaches 160°F, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a clean whip attachment and whip on high speed until cool, about 5 minutes.   Fold the egg yolk mixture into the caramel mixture. Gently fold in the whites in thirds. Fold in whipped cream in thirds. Cover and refrigerate until set and ready for use. *Professional chefs use gelatin sheets instead of granular gelatin. They are available online.  

Chocolate Icing

  1 cups/4.5 oz cocoa powder 4 1/3 cups/20 oz powdered sugar 16 oz unsalted butter, softened ¼ cup whole milk   Sift the dry ingredients together.   Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat it on high speed until light yellow, about 8 minutes. Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients. Set aside.  

Assembly

  Remove the towel from the cake   Spread the mousse over the cake, leaving the cake bare for the last 1½ inches the short end of the baking sheet. Pick the cake up by the opposite end of the bare cake and use the parchment to help you roll it evenly, peeling back parchment as you roll. Place the cake seam-side down.   With a serrated knife, cut ¼ inch off of the end of the cake on a bias. Pick up this piece and place it on the side of the “log” to resemble a tree branch. Refrigerate for 1 hour.   Use the chocolate icing to ice the log and use a fork to make it textured.   Dust the meringue mushrooms with cocoa powder and place around/on the yule log.   For a pop of color, roll cranberries in sugar and place around the yule log.
Continue Reading

Lowcountry Limelight: Nick Stella

For Nick Stella, sandwiches have always been a family affair. Following his time at the College of Charleston, he decided to make the Holy City the next home for Circe's Grotto, a mom-and-pop shop serving up some of the city's best sammies. We chatted with Nick to find out how Circe's came to be + why simple food is sometimes the best food.    

How did you get your start in the restaurant business?

 

My mom has been in the food business for over 40 years, I've been with her for 30 of them, so I guess you would say osmosisI moved to Charleston from Scituate, MA in 2008 to attend College of Charleston. From then, a second location for Circe’s Grotto started brewing in our mind. I knew Charleston needed a good mom-and-pop sandwich shop, who doesn’t like a good, fresh sandwich? After I graduated from the College of Charleston, I went to Rincon, Puerto Rico not knowing what the next step was in life. Soon after, a friend in the real estate business called and said he had acquired the perfect spot for Circe’s Grotto in Charleston. I moved back to Charleston, we signed the leaseand started building our second Circe’s Grotto. We used the same concept of the one up in Scituate, MA, just a simpler version, minus the bakery aspect. We wanted to offer the city a good sandwich with fresh ingredients that your mom would make you at home.

 

Where did the name ‘Circe’s Grotto’ come from?

 
The name came from the Greek mythology and the story "The Odyssey" by Homer. Circe was a Greek goddess who used to turn men into pigs to teach them how to eat properly and Grotto means cave, so essentially it means the eating cave. Later on, we found out that "Circe" in the south meant small gift, so it fit perfectly.
 

Why did you want to bring Circe’s to Charleston?

 
Our love of food, hospitality, culture, diversity... and of course the weather. The college gave us the audience for a good sandwich.... home away from home. We wanted to offer patrons a good sandwich/panino made with fresh ingredients, at a fair price, that they could eat everyday.
 

Why sandwiches?

 
Who the heck doesn’t like to eat a sandwich? It's something our patrons could eat everyday.

What’s the secret to the perfect sandwich?

 
First off, to us, the bread is the most important part of a sandwich, and then the ingredients have to be fresh- from the produce, to the meats and cheeses- all natural and sliced everyday. It’s our goal to use the best ingredients we can possibly find. Yes, that makes costs higher, but our vision is to give the consumer the highest quality product on the market.
 

If someone’s visiting Circe’s for the first time, what do they have to try?

 
I would say to start at the top of the menu and work your way down. We have options for allnot just sandwiches and paninis, we also have signature salads as well as the option to turn any sandwich into a salad. Folks love our breakfast toasts, and classic egg sandwiches. Most people start with the Turkey Melt made with Mom's homemade red pepper mayo, avocado, red onion, and white sharp cheddar cheese.
 

What’s next for you + Circe’s?

Hopefully exploring more local ingredients and some additional daily specials. It is our goal to always be innovating and finding new ways to bring delicious food to our customers We look forward to serving our community each day over here on Wentworth St.
 
You can see Nick during the 2019 festival at Hipster Cocktail Party on Thursday, March 7 + at Circe's Grotto daily.
Continue Reading
Close

Need Assistance?

We totally get it. The 2018 festival has a lot going on. Let us guide you through the ticketing process, answer any questions, and help point you in the right direction.

Here's how to reach us:

843 727 9998
info@charlestonwineandfood.com
635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403

Close