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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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5 Reasons We Love Hedley & Bennett

You’ve likely seen or heard of Hedley & Bennett aprons, which can be easily identified by the tiny ampersand logo on the front pocket.  H&B outfits many of our Charleston restaurants, and is the official apron of Charleston Wine + Food festival!  Recently one of our street team members, Liz Martin of Charleston Weekender, headed to the H & B headquarters to give us a peek inside the colorful Los Angeles apron factory.  Read on to hear Liz’s list of reasons you’ll love Hedley & Bennett, too!   - - - - - - - - - - - - - -   A few years ago, I was introduced to Hedley & Bennett through the Charleston Wine + Food festival.  There, I met the founder, Ellen Marie Bennett - a lively + inspirational entrepreneur who started her company in her twenties!  I was knee deep into a major girl crush once I discovered her “workspace” even had a slide inside! A couple years later, I had the opportunity to attend a conference inside the apron factory.  I loved it so much that I asked to have a little tour while recently in LA, and Ellen + her team kindly obliged. I hope you enjoy this little sneak peek & glean some insight into what makes this the most badass apron company around!    

Colors for Days

When you pull up to the H & B headquarters and drive past the rainbow mural wall, you instantly know you’re in for a treat.  One thing this apron company isn’t, is boring! You don’t typically find such bold patterns + colors as options when it comes to kitchen workwear.  Don’t you love how fun these aprons look lined up in all their rainbow glory? Don’t worry, there plenty of neutrals for the more subdued chef.    

Handmade in USA

So many products are manufactured overseas nowadays, but these are made in house at the Hedley & Bennett headquarters right in Los Angeles.  This allows the brand to foster an amazing sense of community, with local chefs often stopping by to co-host events. The factory recently added a new test kitchen that I got to check out, too. It looks like the happiest place ever to cook & test all those aprons!    

Freakin’ Awesome Fabrics

When things are heating up in the kitchen, the last thing you want is itchy or uncomfortable workwear.  All of the chefs coats, work shirts, & aprons are made from American canvas, raw Japanese selvage denim, or European linens.  These materials are definitely able to withstand wear and tear. I had fun checking out all of the embroidery threads & watching the H&B team concentrate on their creations!    

Founded by a chef who knows a thing or two about FUN

Who better to design an apron than an actual chef!?  Ellen’s career started as a line cook at 2 top notch restaurants, so she knew exactly how to build an apron that other chefs would want and need.  At the same time, she doesn’t take life too seriously (as evidenced by the factory’s slide & zip line I got to try)! This sense of fun & ease definitely translates into the H & B products.    

They’re joining us at CHSWFF!

One of the best parts about Hedley & Bennett has to be their love of food and working with some phenomenal chefs.  Well, they’re bringing that culinary love (and even some of their chef friends) back to Charleston during the Wine + Food Festival!  Last year, many of you may have joined me at “Brunch Squad”, an amazing event where we divided and conquered to cook and eat a family style meal. We got to meet & work with some truly amazing chefs; at one point I was elbow deep in batter alongside chef Kristen Kish! This year, Ellen is back with “Lunch Squad”, and it’s sure to be chock full of even more fun.   Thanks for reading and taking this little apron factory tour with me! If you’d like to learn more about Hedley & Bennett or founder Ellen Marie Bennett, head over to read my interview with her on my blog where she shares some tips on building an awesome brand.  I can’t wait to see you all at the Lunch Squad event in March!
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Find the Truck

Limehouse Produce, a proud annual supporter of Charleston Wine + Food, has wrapped a delivery truck again with a special festival design to celebrate and promote the 2017 festival. The wrapped truck features images from Charleston Wine + Food's 2017 ad campaign. This year's truck showcases a female eating a watermelon sourced by Limehouse Produce, and can be seen driving around town making deliveries. Steps to get involved are: 1.    People that “Find the Truck” can snap a photograph 2.    Post the photo to Facebook and tag: Limehouse Produce and Charleston Wine + Food 3.    OR tag on Instagram: @limehouselocal and @chswineandfood 4.    Include the hashtag #CHSWFFLimehouseTruck One lucky person who submits an image will be selected randomly to win four tickets to Sinister Siesta presented by The National Pork Board on Sunday, March 5 located at The Royal American. The deadline to submit photos is Monday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. for consideration. Anyone can submit photos and there is also no limit to the amount that one posts to the sites. Limehouse Produce does ask that all photos are done parked and not while driving a vehicle.
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Of Rice + Rum: A Middleton Tradition

The last day of the festival is typically reserved for the events we’re most proud of- annual traditions and historical dinners grace our Sundays full of pride and love for the Lowcountry.  For our twelfth year, we’ll be at the illustrious Middleton Place for “Of Rice + Rum” to learn from their specialists and a few of our own (Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills) about the centuries-old story of rice in South Carolina.  Presented by Mount Gay Rum, those dishes with a backstory will be highlighted by the oldest rum in the world from the island of Barbados.  Join us for an event you won’t soon forget! Keep scrolling to learn about our favorite grain’s origins at Middleton Place and what makes this ingredient so special.  Much of what follows is excerpted from the book, Beyond the Fields – Slavery at Middleton Place: Jamal Hall, a historic interpreter at Middleton Place, demonstrates the process by which grains of rice were prepared for market. Rice was placed in a mortar and “beaten” or pounded with the square end of a pestle to remove the husk from the grain. Fanner baskets to separate the rice from the bran were the final step before the grain was packed into barrels, made by skilled slave coopers, for shipment to English ports. At Middleton Place, the interpretation of rice cultivation has evolved from the display of somewhat romantic images by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith on display in the Mill to a demonstration rice field planted annually with a small crop of the famous Carolina Gold grain. Rice cultivation, although introduced in the 1690s, did not provide a significant cash crop for planters until the 1700s. As the rice industry grew, so too did the need for more laborers to work the rice fields, especially workers experienced in cultivating the grain. That meant the importation of increasing numbers of slaves from the western coast of Africa, an area stretching from what is now Senegal to Sierra Leone and Liberia. In this region the inhabitants had been growing and consuming rice for centuries. On Africa’s Atlantic Rice Coast, rice, along with seafood, was the major source of nourishment. In their clay cooking pots, coastal Africans cooked rice in various ways. One very special dish combined rice, spices, seafood or sometimes meat. These gumbos or pilafs (also spelled pillau or perloo), as we now know them, were introduced into this country by slaves and became staple dishes on southern tables. If you’re craving more, don’t wait any longer- purchase your pass to Middleton Place now! http://cwf.obviouslee.com/events/of-rice-rum/ Programing at Middleton Place includes a number of annual events specific to rice culture. On April 22nd and 23rd (subject to weather conditions), visitors will may join a costumed historic interpreter in planting Carolina Gold Rice – the crop that defined the Low Country. Presentations will also be given on the cultivation, processing and cultural impact of rice in South Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. Several months later in August or September, depending upon the weather and growing season, the rice field will be harvested and hands-on activities such as threshing, pounding and fanning the rice will be demonstrated. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org  
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Local Love: CWF Excellence Scholarship Recipient 2016-2017

On a sunny southern January day, we sat across from an eager and animated college freshman who exclaimed, “I knew Charleston was where I was meant to be. I even wrote myself a letter, four years before attending, affirming, College of Charleston was my dream school.” Jane Muller, the 2016-2017 Charleston Wine + Food scholarship recipient continued, “I wouldn’t be here without my scholarship award, and I am so grateful for that.”   Since starting school in August, the young freshman has settled into southern city life + adores everything about Charleston’s historic charm. She also enthusiastically embraces the lowcountry food scene, which boasts plenty of restaurant options to satisfy her love of chicken. “My favorite restaurant has to be Magnolia’s, they have the best fried chicken,” shared Jane.   Hailing from Long Island, New York, Jane has a passion for traveling, eating great food + helping people. Naturally, Jane fell in love with the hospitality industry and knew Charleston was the place to explore that passion. After applying for many scholarships offered through the School of Business at the College of Charleston, Jane stumbled upon the Charleston Wine + Food scholarship opportunity.   Charleston Wine + Food has been awarding the Excellence Scholarship to a College of Charleston freshman each year since 2008. In 2016 Charleston Wine + Food had a $9.1 million impact on the Charleston economy and the Excellence Scholarship is just one of the ways Charleston Wine + Food stimulates the Charleston economy. In addition to the scholarship, each recipient is also offered internship and mentorship opportunities with Charleston Wine + Food, which allowed many of the past recipients to obtain great jobs in the Charleston community.   Required to apply, the application is a simple essay describing a hospitality event the applicant has been a part of + what it means to them. Charleston Wine + Food will continue to #PourIntoCharleston by awarding scholarships to students at the College of Charleston throughout the upcoming years.   *This blog post was written by our 2016-2017 Charleston Wine + Food CofC Fellows. Charleston Wine + Food has partnered with the College of Charleston to offer a communications senior capstone class the opportunity to work with the festival. 
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Festival 101

As we get closer to the festival (40 days to be exact!), there are a few things you should keep in mind as you begin thinking about your Lowcountry travel plans. Here are a few things any festival-goer needs to know: Grab your tickets...Your tickets to the festival are easily printable, but can also be accessed on your mobile phone!  Use the latter method for a paperless, guilt-free, and organized event experience - because we know you’ll be having too much fun to worry about anything else. Navigate safely...Whether you’re a visiting attendee or a lucky local, remember that parking can often be tricky downtown.  Take advantage of our partner Über and their fantastic app, they'll be your designated driver.  Our city isn’t too big to navigate if you plan on driving on your own or even if you’re strictly walking, just remember to keep a map of the city on hand in case you get lost! Dress in layers...Charleston’s bipolar weather time and time again proves to be just as unpredictable as it is beautiful.  Whipping wind or intense rays can ruin your day if you’re not prepared, so plan on packing an umbrella, your sunnies, and a cute hat just in case.  If you’re attending an excursion or an event outside for several hours you might also want to include a travel-size sunscreen to protect your skin.  All events are held rain or shine. Necessary gadgets...A few fun items can and will make all the difference for your festival experience.  Check out these wine wipes to get rid of any messy stains and keep you smiling bright; they’re perfect for wine lovers everywhere.  To ensure you can snap photos all day without running out of battery, pick up a phone case that protects and charges your cell at the same time!  Last but not least, comfortable footwear is an essential for those long Charleston days and even more exciting nights, so keep your precious toes in mind! Ask us...Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  The CHSWFF staff and our volunteers will be around the Culinary Village and at select events in order to ensure you have an incredible weekend!  Don’t know where to meet up before your excursion?  Have a ticketing question?  Just wanna chat about an upcoming event? We’re here to help! You can always call (843) 727-9998 or email ticketing@cwf.obviouslee.com for all inquiries! Pace yourself...Attending too many events in one day can be exhausting for jetsetters and chillaxers alike.  We want you to enjoy the festival in all its glory - so sure, have that fifth glass of wine (or 6th, 7th...we won’t judge), just make sure to schedule some R&R in that busy agenda of yours! We truly hope you enjoy every moment of your festival experience in the best city in the world, and don’t forget to stop and look around once in a while.  You won’t wanna miss this.
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Hotel Packages: Your One Stop Shop for Savvy Festival Navigation

With over 100 events across the city of Charleston and more than 70 hotel options, who can choose when it comes to Charleston Wine+ Food? Our local hospitality groups make it easy! Whether you’re a savvy CHSWFF devotee or new to the scene, the culmination of hotel packages we have curated for you will help you navigate your travel and the 2017 festival with ease. So don’t let your FOMO get you down. Peruse our hotel packages and find the one that’s right for you! We have highlighted a few of these stellar packages below. The Francis Marion: So Close You Can Taste It Located across from Marion Square, The Francis Marion Hotel has the perfect view of the heart of the festival - The Culinary Village. Enjoy prime proximity and an array of à la carte ticket options including tickets to Opening Night: Rooted in Charleston, Fowl Mouth and A Bourbon Affair.

The Wentworth Mansion: Wine + Food Gourmand Package

Treat yourself to the ultimate Charleston experience with this exclusive three night package for two in the luxurious Wentworth Mansion. Touting the best view of the Holy City, you will savor every minute of your stay.. Rise and shine downtown then make your way to local Runnymede Plantation for fire-kissed dishes From the Ashes, or relish in an afternoon at the RiverOaks for our Iron + Oak Signature Event.

John Rutledge House Inn: Wine + Food Gastronome Package Enjoy the historic elegance that is the John Rutledge House Inn and experience the new ambiance of Anson’s renovated space with a hotel package that has a flavor for every palette. You’ll satisfy more than just an appetite, as local architect David Thompson takes you through a variety of downtown restaurants exposing you to the story behind design in our new excursion Flavor by Design. This package caters to all your senses - you won’t want to miss out!

Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront: Girls Just Wanna Have Wine...and Food

Grab your girls and head to Charleston for a wine lover’s dream weekend. Sip on wines from Michele Chiarlo during a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Indaco Wine Lunch with Executive Chef Kevin Getzewich + James Beard winner Chef Andrew Carmellini. Then head back to your hotel to determine which local somm takes home the ultimate bragging rights of Sumo Sommelier. The perks continue with available tickets to two Charleston Wine + Food traditions, the Culinary Village and Gospel Brunch. Your seats won’t be saved for long, so grab your tickets soon for an experience like no other!

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Storytellers of the Culinary South

Crosbys_BoatFor three years, Charleston Wine + Food has partnered with Southern Foodways Alliance, a member-supported organization at the University of Mississippi whose mission is to document, study, and celebrate the diverse food cultures of the changing American South. In fall of 2014, the Southern Foodways Alliance began working on The Saltwater South, a long-term oral history project documenting the stories of men and women making their living off the waters of the American South, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and the inlets, rivers, and creeks moving through the region. The project started in the Lowcountry, and the SFA and Charleston Food + Wine have partnered to premiere these stories at the 2015 festival. Panels showcasing the interviewees will be spread throughout the Culinary Village and guests can hear full histories on-line or watch oral histories on the festival landscape. The Saltwater South: Charleston Stories will be released on the SFA’s web site in conjunction with the festival. Some of stories from shrimpers and oysterwomen, crabbers and fishermen, will be on display throughout the Culinary Village during the festival. And to celebrate the stories behind Lowcountry kitchens and tables, the Southern Foodways Alliance will debut the SFA Oral History Bus at Charleston Wine + Food, filming oral history interviews and collecting stories of Charleston’s culinary past and present at the 2015 festival. With the support of Charleston Wine + Food, the Southern Foodways Alliance will document stories of Charleston’s cooks, artisans, chefs, farmers, and purveyors during the festival. These culinary luminaries will share their stories of the Lowcountry. While some are Charleston natives and some are from afar, all claim this place as the source of their influence and inspiration. Join us to learn, share and swap delicious and historic stories of the Lowcountry at the 2015 festival. saltwater south
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BB&T Charleston Wine + Food will celebrate the decade with our annual festival from March 4 – 8, 2015. The 10th annual festival is a grand celebration of the culinary treasures of Charleston and beyond with over 200 chefs (local and guest) coming in from around the country to cook, eat, drink, and celebrate 10 years of BB&T Charleston Wine + Food. Over 48 winemakers, mixologists and beer experts will join to toast the decade in 2015. With over 100 events showcasing the very best that Charleston has to offer, here are some numbers to celebrate the decade.
  1. The 2015 festival is hosting 107 individual events, including 24 Signature Dinners, taking place throughout March 4-8 with 355 volunteers (and counting) by our side.
  2. The $85 ticket to Culinary Village (the heart of the festival - March 6-8) includes all-access to 13 distinct culinary experiences from 12pm - 6pm daily.
  3. The Culinary Village features 6 new tents including the Third Space presented by Summers Corner hosting over 80 intimate chef demos over three days. The Third Space will feature 5 smaller-tents representing Land, Air, Sea, Earth and Fire.
  4. Off of Third Space is Rose Garden + Grilling presented by Chateau D’Esclans featuring over 11 grilling demos, including a Grilled Cheese Competition on Saturday afternoon.
  5. The other side of Third Space will be the expanded Biergarten presented by Bay Street Biergarten featuring 14 breweries from the Carolinas and beyond. The back of the Third Space features our new Fire area where 2 whole Border Springs lambs will be on a spit and 5 Cowboy Cauldrons will grill up delights throughout the weekend.
  6. There are 62 participants in the Grand Tasting Tent presented by Baker Motor Company and 35 participants in the Artisan Market presented by Rewined throughout the Culinary Village.
  7. The Hands-On Kitchen presented by SCE&G features over 8 opportunities to roll up your sleeves and get into our kitchens!
  8. The Cookbook Retail Shop presented by Williams-Sonoma features 18 book signings with top cookbook and beverage authors.
  9. 1 bus! Southern Foodways Alliance is bringing their new Oral History Bus to collect Lowcountry oral histories at the Culinary Village throughout the festival for your listening pleasure all year long. SFA will also premiere their new maritime project at the festival, so enjoy culinary stories from the South Carolina coast all weekend.
  10. A new Music Stage featuring over 15 local bands will bring lively energy and music to the Culinary Village.
The countdown is officially on for BB&T Charleston Wine + Food in March - come and join the festival fun! Culinary Village Map
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Green Hearts on Our Sleeve

The bountiful gardens at Mitchell Math & Science Elementary School buzzes with activity on Wednesday afternoons from 4-6pm-- the official weekly volunteer day of Charleston’s Green Heart Project, a local non-profit that creates urban farms and farm-to-school programs. In the gardens, adult volunteers work with students to plant, harvest, weed, and cultivate personal responsibility with integrated academic lessons. As an incredible contribution to Charleston, BB&T Charleston Wine + Food is pleased to announce the Green Heart Project as the community partner for our 10th anniversary year. On a sunny autumn afternoon in early October, the Charleston Wine + Food staff joined forces with students and volunteers to learn more about the Project and their urban farms by harvesting sweet potatoes. Started in 2009, the Green Heart Project began with third graders and now serves all elementary school children in Green Heart gardens with plans to expand to more local schools in coming years. Their teaching farm includes a native species garden, a stunning herb spiral, a monarch garden, fruit orchards with citrus and blueberries, and a fully irrigated microfarm. [tribulant_slideshow gallery_id="3"]

Photos by Stephen Blackmon

Gillian Zettler, Executive Director of BB&T Charleston Wine + Food, says, “The scope and mission of the Green Heart Project and their gardens are impressive, and we support their expansion into new schools to teach our kids where food comes from – seed to plate – while supporting personal development. It’s critical to developing engaged eaters.” During the staff’s volunteer day/ afternoon/ experience, the team harvested over 100 lbs of sweet potatoes, which are curing and will be incorporated into a new sweet potato recipe served to students by their school cafeteria in celebration of World Food Day (October 24). Drew Harrison, Executive Director of the Green Heart Project: “We cannot be more thrilled to be the Charleston Wine + Food community partner for 2015. For ten years now, the festival has celebrated the food and culinary culture that makes Charleston amazing. And as an organization centered on local, seasonal foods, the Green Heart Project looks to honor that same culinary culture as we teach our youth and community about the roll food plays in our lives.” For more information about the Green Heart Project, please visit their website or purchase pickled goodies from the program, t-shirts and more at The Park Café next to Hampton Park in Charleston, SC. For more images of our garden day with the Green Heart Project, click here.  
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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
635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403