There is no better way to taste your way through the Southeast than at a food and wine festival. From the mountains of Virginia to the coast of Georgia, there is sure to be a culinary extravaganza where foodies can taste sweet and savory samples from local chefs, hobnob with award-winning culinary stars, sip glasses of wine or check out the latest regional barbecue sauces and Bloody Mary mixes. Here are seven top-notch festivals around the Southeast to whet the appetite.
Wine comes first for Charlotte’s festival, with four days to swirl, sip and sample world-class wines, learn everything about the world’s wine regions and meet the country’s finest winemakers and sommeliers. But nothing goes with wine quite as well as food, and there is plenty of that from area restaurants at the Grand Tasting and restaurant wine dinners. Enjoy Pio Cesare Italian wines at Aria Tuscan Grill or Duckyard Vineyard wines from Napa Valley at The Capital Grille, among other options. Splurge on The Lucky 13 Experience finale, with a 1000-point wine tasting followed by a 300-point Italian wine dinner. Held at Barings Sky Room, the dinner is limited to 60 guests. April 24-27. $75-175; $500 the The Lucky 13 Experience. Charlotte, N.C. 704-338-9463, www.charlottewineandfood.org.
Greenville is one of the region’s hottest destinations and Euphoria — taking place around the city’s award-winning revitalized downtown — is a big reason. The Michelin influence provides a major foodie calling card (Michelin calls Greenville home), with a half-dozen Michelin-starred chefs on the agenda. Local chefs shine at the Kick-Off Party, with regional chefs showcased in Taste of the South. Winemaker (and guest chef) dinners, tastings, seminars and singer-songwriter events add to the euphoria. Don’t miss the Sunday Supper finale. Whet your appetite at the Roast and Toast, 2-5 p.m. April 20 at Larkin’s “L,” when the full schedule will be announced. Enjoy roasted oysters from White Stone Oyster Co. and barbecue by pit master Anthony DiBernardo, among other local and regional delicacies. Tickets are $65. Sept. 19-22. $35-$225; $400 for Seeing Stars: A Michelin-Starred Dinner. Greenville, S.C. 864-233-5663, www.euphoriagreenville.com.
One of the newer festivals on the circuit, the Music City Food & Wine Festival is the brainchild of Grammy Award-winning artists Kings of Leon and world-renowned chef Jonathan Waxman. Bringing together the rock stars of Nashville’s culinary community and the legends of their music community, the weekend features a small lineup of events — including restaurant showcases, cooking demonstrations, lively panel discussions, a Grand Tasting and the sounds of Nashville. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but the 2018 event featured foodie celebs Ruth Reichl, Carla Hall and Andrew Zimmerman, along with chefs Ford Fry, Tim Love and Tom Bayless, among others. Sept. 20-22. $85-$275. Nashville, Tenn. 888-512-7469, www.musiccityfoodandwinefestival.com.
Chapel Hill’s intimate TerraVita Food & Drink Festival is committed to sustainable food and drink with educational events, including the popular Sustainable Classroom sessions. Add to the mix an East Meets West dinner celebrating chefs from the North Carolina mountains to the coast, elegant tribute dinners celebrating the legacies of legendary chefs, fired-up Hill Fire barbecues and The Fall Fête on the Green featuring chefs, brewers, distillers, farmers, cheese makers and more spreading the sustainable gospel. Oct. 16-19. $65-$150. Chapel Hill, N.C., and Carrboro, N.C. 404-822-0276, www.terravitafest.com.
Touting itself as a gathering for the food curious, Fire, Flour and Fork is four-day foodie frenzy throughout the cobblestone streets and kitschy neighborhoods of Richmond, Va. Dinners featuring cuisine by Richmond’s innovative chefs and guest chefs from around the Southeast and the country, behind-the-scene tours, barbecue and oyster tastings overlooking the James River, farm excursions, culinary art (and arts) tours and more are shining a tasty spotlight on Virginia’s bounty. Oct. 31-Nov. 3. $20-$185. Richmond, Va. fireflourandfork.com.
Experience Southern charm and hospitality, Savannah-style, during this week-long food and beverage extravaganza. From cooking classes to whiskey tastings, and all things ‘cue to swanky speakeasies, there is a smorgasbord of options. Enjoy signature events such as the River Street Stroll, featuring a half-mile of curated libations along the riverfront, the Grand Reserve Tasting for the true wine connoisseur, the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour or the massive Taste of Savannah. Nov. 4-10. $10-195. Savannah. 912-232-1223, www.savannahfoodandwinefest.com.
Set at Palmetto Bluff resort in Bluffton, S.C., Music to Your Mouth is an intimate event that provides attendees with an amazing opportunity to meet top-shelf Southern chefs, world-renowned winemakers and more at epicurean events like a Southern speakeasy, bacon and bourbon cruise, oyster roast and the “Pig Event,” a private concert with a surprise, musical guest. Nov. 22-24. $125-$450. Bluffton, S.C. www.musictoyourmouth.com.
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