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Charleston Wine and Food 2023 recap

Post festival blues are real, but I’m mustering some energy to share my Charleston Wine and Food ’23 recap. It was an incredible 5 days of celebrating our local food and beverage industry, while showing off the beautiful Low Country. As a one of the  Street Team members, I was given access to attend the signature events, and then each of the street team members were tasked with different experiences to share with y’all.

CHSWF23 Recap Pinterest Vertical

About Charleston Wine + Food (CHSWF)

Charleston Wine + Food is a 5 day festival held the first full week of March every year, and this was the 17th year of the festival (with the exception of 2020). It’s a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2005 to bring awareness to the food scene here in the Low Country, and to make it known as a culinary destination for people near and far.

Spouse + Me at Charleston Wine + Food Culinary Village Day 2 -

Charleston Wine + Food Tickets

CHSWF announced the 2024 festival will be held March 6-10, and tickets will be available to purchase on October 19, 2023. The prices for 2023 ranged from $55 for Bar Takeovers to $275 for experiences, and $650 for the Weekender pass which includes the signature events along with shuttle access. Which brings me to the shuttle – $28 from Downtown Charleston to Culinary Village, and $50 roundtrip. So hopefully that will give a ballpark for next year.

Charleston Wine + Food Events

All of the Charleston Wine and Food events are spread throughout the Low Country, so definitely be prepared to have a designated driver, ride share, or utilize the shuttle. Traffic wasn’t bad from my experience, and I was able to find parking at each event I attended. I missed Opening Night because we celebrated Carter’s 10th birthday with a Hibachi dinner, but I hear it was amazing! This is the recap of the events I attended 4 of the 5 days, and just a warning – this is SUPER picture heavy!

Brine + Brews at The Darling Oyster Bar

Chef Derick Wade with The Darling Oyster Bar, and Jamaal Lemon, an acclaimed beer writer with Good Beer Hunting, combined their talents to pair oysters with beer. I’ve never had so many amazing combinations of flavors within an oyster, and then tricking your taste buds with a beer pairing served in a wine glass. The flavors were amazing!

Martini + Me at Oak Steakhouse

This event was hosted by Tim McKirdy who’s the managing editor at Vinepair and the host of the podcast, “Cocktail College,” and Kala Ellis who is the beverage director for The Indigo Road Hospitality Group at Oak Steakhouse in Nashville. We learned about the classic martini and tried some new versions with Tim and Kala’s spin on them.

Charleston Wine + Food - Martini + Me -

Aperitivo Amalfitano Media Reception at The Lou Hammond House

This was an invite only meet and greet at the personal residence of Lou Hammond, to celebrate Chef Eric Rivera of Ravello Ristorante, Alabama’s Chef of the Year. We had amazing Aperitivo Amalfitano, which is a such a refreshing cocktail, and also had some small bites curated by Chef Eric Rivera himself.

Charleston Wine + Food free Street Fest on King Street

This was the only free, family friendly event during the festival. Blocks of King Street were shut down and it was a huge block party with performances, food trucks, shopping, and some activities to keep everyone busy.

World of ‘Cue at Firefly Distillery

If you love BBQ, then this is definitely your event! The event was help at Firefly Distillery, and all the best Pitmasters were there. Some standouts from the event were Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Palmira, Shaka Shrimp, and Kiawah Island Golf Resort. There were also wine and liquor vendors that served the best red wines and brown liquors that pair so perfectly with the ‘cues.

Shucked at Embassy Suites Charleston Harbor

This is Oyster Heaven on Earth! And you almost feel like you are with the beautiful Ravenel Bridge in the background and live music playing as you watch the sun set. You do not want to miss this one if you’re an oyster fan because the amount and variety of oysters prepared for you to sample is just glorious! There’s also a variety of beers, cocktails, and wines for you to pair your oysters with as well.

Media Happy Hour at Circa 1886

This was another private event hosted by Discover South Carolina at Circa 1886, for the media that was helping promote and write about the festival. We celebrated with bites prepared by the 3 Chef Ambassadors – Erica McCier with Indigenous Underground, Rob Masone with Kounter, and Marcus Shell with 39 Rue de Jean. The owner of the Wentworth Mansion where Circa 1886 also gave as a tour of the Mansion as well.

El Barrio at Holy City Brewery

Latinx food and culture is celebrated at this event with lots of dancing, music, food, and drinks. I tried some of the best street tacos here, and tried some new amazing flavors as well. It was really fun to watch all the dancing going on, and really soaking in the atmosphere and enjoying all the amazing smells of the different foods being prepared.

Culinary Village Days 1-3 at Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park was the location for Culinary Village, and it starts the Friday of the festival. It’s totally worth it to get the pass that gets you in early because the lines are shorter all around. Culinary Village is where you get to sample the most food and drinks from different chefs and restaurants all at one venue. There’s also live demonstrations, music, and experiences like Silent Disco. I went all 3 days, and really felt like I could’ve just done one, but, who knows? Some foods I sampled on day 1 weren’t there on days 2 and 3, there were foods I sampled on days 2 and 3 that weren’t there on day 1. There were some mixed reviews, but I think day 1 this year was the best.

Charleston Wine + Food ’23 Finale Party at the Cigar Lounge

Tyler and I thought this was the best event, but it was also bittersweet. It was a great way to wrap up the whole festival and celebrate all the talent that came out, the people that helped put the whole festival together, all the staff and volunteers that helped facilitate everything, the Street Team members that are now friends, all the people that came out to enjoy the festival, and all of Charleston and the Low Country. There was live music, great food and drinks, and of course, amazing people.

Thoughts on Charleston Wine + Food ’23

What can I say that I haven’t already? Charleston Wine and Food is such an incredible event with amazing talent, experiences, and people. Aside from all of that, I really loved hearing the back stories of how some of these chefs and mixologists got started, or the reason behind the names of their restaurants and food. The friendships made and the experiences we had are something I’ll never forget, and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year. If you’ve been thinking about attending or have been on the fence about it, I’d highly recommend it. So set those calendar reminders to purchase those tickets, and hopefully I get to see you there next year!

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