Started 32 years ago, the Taste of Charleston once was a one-day affair of restaurant food sampling and sipping beverages with a waiter’s wine race as the main entertainment.
The event, presented by the Charleston Restaurant Association, has grown to three days long and is now known as the Southern Living Taste of Charleston. The magazine, part of the Time Inc. family, became a partner for the first time last year.
Jennifer Loudon Estep, director of integrated marketing for Southern Living, says the Taste is well worth the magazine’s involvement.
“It makes perfect sense to align our brand with Taste of Charleston, one of the South’s premier culinary festivals. What we saw last year was a very engaged audience with lots of enthusiam for the brand. And the overall beauty of this amazing event, it is a true display of Southern hospitality. ... We love Charleston.”
The icing on the cake: “It doesn’t hurt that there was a major celebrity wedding there two weeks ago,” Estep adds. Actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds tied the knot at Boone Hall Plantation on Sept. 9.
The fun kicks off Friday and culminates Sunday with the traditional Taste event at Boone Hall. Purchase tickets at www.charleston restaurantassociation.com.
A Dine Around. Up to four dozen restaurants are participating Friday and Saturday nights. All are offering three-course meal paired with a specialty/craft beer. Prices will vary. See the full list of restaurants at www. charlestonrestaurant association.com.
Sweet & Southern on Shem Creek. Head to the Lighthouse on Shem Creek on Saturday evening from 6-11 p.m. for Lowcountry treats prepared by top local caterers, music from singer-songwriters including Rob Crosby, and moonlit harbor cruises. Tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door.
Taste: Iron Chef Competition. Local chefs face off at the Culinary Institute of Charleston Palmer Campus 6-9 p.m. Friday. After the secret ingredient is announced, the chefs will have 45 minutes to create and cook at least four dishes to be judged by a panel of experts. Competing chefs are John Ondo of Lana and Michael Karkut of Graze versus Eric Huff of Burwell’s Stone Fire Grill and Daniel Doyle of Poogan’s Porch. Amphitheater seats, $100. Televised viewing, $50. Both include complimentary beer, wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres.
Southern Living Taste of Charleston. A full Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Boone Hall celebrates Lowcountry cuisine. More than 50 local casual and fine dining restaurants will serve sample-size portions of food. The Southern Living Village will feature live food demonstrations, farm-to-table container gardening, tailgating tips and recipes and the magazine’s Big White Cake Cover Contest finalist preview and tasting. Attendees can vote for their favorite finalist for a chance to win a Chinet Bakeware set. See the full schedule of events online. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate.
“Quick-Fix Supper Challenge.” From 3:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Taste main event, Southern Living Contributing Editor Rebecca Lang will invite two people on stage to face off and create a one-of-a-kind recipe in just 15 minutes. Lang will unveil surprise proteins, starches and vegetables that the contestants must include in the dish. The winning “Quick-Fix Supper” chef will receive a $200 gift card from American Express.