OK, the Tums are taking effect; I can write this now.

"Stacked," Saturday's sandwich extravaganza at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival, was an homage to Italy. Sort of. All the meat was supplied by Creminelli Fine Meats, a Salt Lake City-based operation that adheres to traditional curing methods. Seven food establishments (four from the Lowcountry) served up samples of innovative panini you'd probably never find in Italy. These hyper-flavored morsels were of the sort that seem to please American palates and represent the cutting edge of stateside sandwich- making. To be sure, lessons were learned:

1. We Charleston folk are fortunate to have a choice of fine sandwiches: Ted's Butcherblock presented its "Caruso," my second favorite (there is not room here to list all the ingredients). Bull Street Gourmet's "Godfather" was indeed stacked - and tasty. Bacco distributed the best of the bunch: its single-meated "Mighty Morty" was simple and delicious.

2. Note to self: Never, ever eat deep-fried inch-and-a-half-thick wedges of breaded mortadella again, especially if there are two such wedges put to use as bread substitutes. On the other hand, the excellent handcrafted stout beer vinegar made by the fellas at Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland ought to be consumed liberally.

3. More is definitely not more. Piling on multiple types of meat (plus all sorts of other things) might get your stomach juices flowing but your palate could collapse from the overdose.

4. Sometimes a good sandwich is a sweet sandwich. Vanilla Bean Pastry Co. made one with housemade panettone, mascarpone, a deliciously pungent fig balsamic jam, chocolate and prosciutto chips. Oh sweet figs...

Adam Parker