Saturday Afternoon at the Culinary Village

Day two at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival…we wake up early after a long Friday evening post Bourbon Affair feeling a smidge hungover.  Desperately needing something greasy, we head over to Sweetwater Cafe for some breakfast.  Keep in mind, it’s around 9:00 a.m. so not a ton of things are open, and I had heard great things about this place.  Let’s just say, we both had breakfast sandwiches and called it a day.  Nothing too crazy, but exactly what we needed.  Would I recommend it to someone that wants a special brunch? Probably not.  But was it open when we needed it, friendly service and greasy goodness? Yes. For sure.

After consuming a much needed breakfast we went early to the Culinary Village.  Taking over all of Marion Square, this is no small village.  We arrived around 11:45 a.m. when the line started to form, and patiently waited with other foodie patrons.  Conversing over the latest “Top Chef” episodes with our new friends, we knew we were in the right place.  Zoom forward 15 minutes and we are in the Village.  Smack dab in the center was a huge stage where they had demonstrations throughout the day, bands etc.  Really a neat focal point for the venue.  Covering the corners you had a “Grill and Grates” section for food, a rose corner, the corkyard, a purely hard liquor area (not sure they came up with a clever name for a get you hammered area) and then the Biergarten.  Starting off with some rose really seemed like the right idea, so we hit that first.  Oddly enough I found more rose in the corkyard, but in the rose garden itself there was Whispering Angel (one of the best in my opinion) so I couldn’t complain.

After the rose we decided to go to Grill and Grates.  We had some of the most incredible ramen over there but what was really neat was the area where there was an open cauldron and they were grilling chicken and bok choy.  IMG_4837

The bok choy was probably the best thing I ate all day.  No joke.  Grilled greens are by far my favorite.  After that, we moved on to the alcohol area.  We weren’t feeling much hard liquor at the time, but funny enough we saw this huge tee-pee which was hosting “tee-pee talks.”  Too clever.  We decided to pop our heads in and who do we see but famed Charleston native chef Sean Brock, Anson Mills Grits founder Glenn Roberts and two men related to Cornelia Bailey.

They were having a conversation about sorghum syrup.  I kid you not.  These guys are all masters of their trade and to hear them talk extensively about syrup made me realize that to be extremely good at something, your life must revolve around it.  They knew the value of good syrup.  The two guys talked about Bailey and how their families continued the sugarcane revival, while Brock mentioned how he travels by boat to get to Sapelo Island for this syrup, because obviously you can’t get there by car.  It was beyond cool.

After our adventure in the tee-pee, we moved on to hit the biergarten followed by the corkyard.  I had some of the BEST rose.  Would highly recommend Le Saint Andre.  And for the price – can’t beat it! IMG_4845

After about three hours in the culinary village we headed to the very special and exclusive Big Daddy Bourbon event, which I will get into later.  But I must say, this culinary village was so special.  Great food, a very neat pop up market, and basically everything you could ever want to drink.  All in Charleston 🙂  Stay tuned for more posts about our weekend in Chucktown!


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