Charleston Wine and Food: The Hot Topics

Charleston Wine and Food: The Hot Topics
From Fine Dining Lovers - March 9, 2018

The ribs have been stripped, the oysters shucked and the grits and biscuits polished clean. Charleston Wine and Food Festival just managed to pack years of delicious into just five days. Five days of gumbo, shrimp, fish stews, pork, oysters, rices, corns, heirloom grains, BBQ, hot sauces and somokers - you name it, it was Southern eatin at its best.

Pic by Andrew Cebulka.

On top of feeding the hungry food lovers who flocked to Charleston, the festival managed to quench a growing thirst for knowledge about food, with talks from producers, chefs, purveyors, protectors and researchers. Among the drinks - the fruity cocktails and sharp ryes - and between the smoking stands, there were talks taking place across a number of different topics, from the importance of biodiversity in the ecosystem to the issue of living wages within the restaurant industry.

Below is a round up of some of the HotTopics discussed during Charleston Wine and Food Festival 2018.

Pic by Adam Chandler.

Heirloom Everything

Heirloom was the talk of the festival as chefs producers and purveyors all promoted the virtues of heirloom varieties, from the rich and diverse taste they provide to the important role they play in ensuring biodiversity in our food chain.

Heirloom radishes, heirloom rice, fresh heirloom Johns Island Tomatoes and heirloom grains were plated across the festival site and across Charlestons restaurants. Its great to see a strong movement supported by so many different players in the supply line: chefs were on stage discussing their virtues, consumers learned about them and were also able to taste the difference. Learning through eating is effective.

With this in mind, Anson Mills and La Farm Bakery presentedCorolina Gold Rice as a Sourdough bread baked by the famous baker,Lionel Vatinet. They also hosted an ancient grains tasting that allowed visitors to sample rare varieties and learn more about how businesses in Charleston are working together to revitalize heirloom crops.

Pic by Anson Mills.


There was a fascinating conversation that should warrant the attention of anyone working in the culinary industry. This was an idea pushed by Katie Button during a debate hosted by Heritage Radio - Button was joined by a group of industry professionals as she spoke about her efforts to sign on to support a living-wage scheme for the staff inside her restaurants.

This means agreeing to pay staff above and beyond the minimum wage required, pledging to fall within a set of guidelines put forward by a third party organization. At a time when the industry is debating minimum wage increases in a number of States and the tipping structure constantly under debate, it was interesting to hear that some chefs are now working to improve standards without the need for law changes.

Social and Cultural Change

Taste of Togetherness


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