Charleston Wine + Food is a local non-profit that works to showcase and benefit the culinary brilliance and abundant hospitality present in the Lowcountry. Once a year, the organization puts on a festival, and it's like five Christmas mornings in a row.

The CHSWFF is chock full of events displaying the local talent, such as a six-course dinners at an esteemed restaurant, or a BBQ fest complete with a classic rock band and performers on stage with a flaming hula hoop. There's something for everyone, and it brings everyone in the Charleston community together in the name of food, which is the true brilliance of it.

Since there were so many events to go to, and we couldn't make it to everything, this recap will include some highlights of the CHSWFF experience.


The beginning of the best 5 days of the year was celebrated with Rooted in Charleston, the opening ceremony of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.

It all took place in a giant tent in the middle of the festival set-up in Marion Square. Offerings included craft cocktails, local beer cans, and lots of tables occupied by local restaurants. One of the best dishes was the pork belly, scallop, and local grits by the chef of Poogan's Porch

chocolate, tea
Kristen Kornbluth

Chef Scott Lovorn of Circa 1886 stunned us with the inventive banana pudding ice cream taco, paired with strange yet delicious sauces (strawberry sriracha, truly visionary).

chocolate cake, birthday cake, chocolate, cake
Kristen Kornbluth


On the second day, since midterms and classes prevented us from having an open schedule, we were only able to hit The Business of Food in the afternoon. This panel was in the College of Charleston Sottile Theatre and featured some top names in food and hospitality, like Steve Palmer of The Indigo Road (Charleston restaurant conglomerate) and chef and former food critic Ruth Reichl

cake, tea, beer
Kristen Kornbluth

The reception afterwards was top notch, with delicious bites and drinks from a local restaurant, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina.

fish, seafood
Kristen Kornbluth


As media covering the event, we had the privilege of access to the exclusive Industry Lounge, which featured coffee and snacks from Callie's Hot Little Biscuit.

Kristen Kornbluth

Later, after classes were finally over for the week, the real fun began: the Culinary Village. The Culinary Village ran from 12-5 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and truly was paradise. Marion Square was filled with tents and divided into sections, as you can see below on the map.

pizza, meat, beer
Kristen Kornbluth

A remarkable dish was Jennifer Booker's Spicy BTC, which was smoked bacon, fried green tomato, and a spicy sauce on jalapeño cheese cornbread. Video footage of that deliciousness is below.

Later that evening, we went to Lewis Barbecue for the Nassau Street Sideshow, which consisted of lots of barbecue and a classic rock cover band. Also, there was barbecued chicken liver, which was interesting, to say the least.

Kristen Kornbluth


We began the day at the Industry Lounge with coffee in preparation for the long day of eating and imbibing ahead. The Culinary Village began at 12 again, and we tooled around trying everything in sight. Award for best dish of Saturday's Culinary Village goes to this masterpiece pictured below.

fish, chicken, soup
Kristen Kornbluth

Later on, we hit the SieMatic VIP Lounge on King Street to attend a cooking demo with renowned chef Nancy Silverton.

Kristen Kornbluth

The demonstration involved a broken aioli, meaning the components of the sauce had separated, and the procedure necessary to fix it (you whisk the broken aioli with egg yolks until it's back to a smooth sauce). She then combined roasted curried carrots with onions and chickpeas, and topped it with the aioli to serve to us.

bacon, potato, steak
Kristen Kornbluth

Later came a wine tasting in King Street's historic William Aiken House, and the Snout to Tail event at Home Team BBQ. After this was What the Pho? at the Ripley Point Yacht Club on James Island. Highlights of this event were kangaroo pho (yes, actual kangaroo meat) and a lively dance floor.

Afterwards, afterparties at some of Charleston's coolest spots, Rutledge Cab Co. and Butcher and Bee, took place for the rest of the night. The latter of the two featured some great small bites, like these deliciously sweet and savory bacon wrapped dates.

cheese, blue cheese, lamb
Kristen Kornbluth


The last day of the festival came all too soon. We began the day with the Industry Lounge and Culinary Village once more, sampling everything the chefs had to offer until 5 pm. One of the most noteworthy dishes was grit "ramen," made with a beef broth and topped with pork belly, mushrooms, and nori.

Kristen Kornbluth

After a couple hours of recharging, we went to the closing event, Toasted, which took place at the historic Cigar Factory. The BBQ was abundant, the drinks were flowing, and the weather was mild. It was a lively and delicious way to wrap up the spectacular long weekend.

Kristen Kornbluth

Here's me with a giant rib that I copped during Toasted. It's safe to say this event was a fantastic time, following suit with the rest of the festival.

cake, wine, pizza
Samantha Buckley

This festival was an incredible thing to experience, and not just because of the beautiful and abundant culinary offerings and fun events. The real magic is that Southern culinary culture and its beautiful creativity and diversity was revealed to everyone by all the chefs and speakers featured.

As a college student, I feel especially fortunate that I was able to attend this (press pass perks), as I wouldn't have been able to afford the festival otherwise. The five glorious days spent reveling in Charleston food and culture heaven made me love all things food even more than I did before, and I cannot wait to attend CHSWFF again next year.

beer, cake, tea, grass, water
Samantha Buckley