The BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival

Lambs and Clams Collage2

I’m going back to dignity and grace. I’m going back to Charleston, where I belong. ~ Rhett Butler, in the 1939 movie, “Gone with the Wind”

As many of you may know, we hold a special place in our hearts for the city of Charleston.  I first traveled there in my mid-twenties and have made many return trips to this enchanting and beautiful coastal city.  Condé Nast rates Charleston as the #1 destination in the world while Travel and Leisure rate it the #1 for city fine dining and romance.  We are obviously not alone in our fondness for Charleston.

Horse drawn carriages add to the romance of the city

Horse drawn carriages add to the romance of the city

American history, beautiful surroundings, and fabulous food by award-winning chefs are just several reasons to travel to Charleston.  Known as the Holy City, for the many church steeples rising above the city’s historical architecture, Charleston has become a home away from home for us.  There are very few places that can inspire a food and travel writer more than Charleston.

One of the stunning homes in The Battery

One of the stunning homes in The Battery

Battery Park

Battery Park

One of the best times of year to visit is early Spring when the city hosts its annual BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival.  With most of the city’s restaurants and chefs participating in this four day culinary extravaganza, along with many well-known chefs from around the country, there is no better place to experience exceptional food and good times while enjoying the sightseeing opportunities Charleston has to offer.

One of the tasting tents in the Culinary Village at the festival

One of the tasting tents in the Culinary Village at the festival

Table setting at one of the festival's many special dinners

Table setting at one of the festival’s special dinners

This year, the festival sponsored a recipe contest collaborating with Craig Rogers (The Shepard) of Border Springs Farm and Travis Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters, LLC.  I was excited when asked to participate in this contest with seven other bloggers from around the country.  The contest consisted of four monthly challenges that began in October 2012.

Border Springs Farm in Patrick Springs, Virginia

Border Springs Farm in Patrick Springs, Virginia

The Shepard and his flock

The Shepard and his flock

We were sent leg of lamb, lamb shoulder, clams, and oysters over a four month period for these challenges.  We were asked to develop creative recipes featuring each of the ingredients.  Both Craig and Travis have beautiful products, so it was a pleasure to work with these ingredients.


Rappahannock River Oysters

Olde Salt Clams

Olde Salt Clams

The last shipment included ground lamb and clams (it is a challenge after all) and was submitted mid-January.  I created a Rustic Lambs and Clams Pâté with Lamb Crackers which won the final round.  I was thrilled to have won three of the four challenges as well as the overall contest.  Thank you to those who voted for my recipes on Facebook and to the judges.

The third challenge was for lamb shoulder

The third challenge was for lamb shoulder

As the winner of the contest, we will be attending this year’s festival as their guest with access to several special events.  One of my recipes from the challenge will be prepared at Pinot Envy Uncorked on Saturday March 2nd.  This event is sponsored by Charleston GI and The Local Palate.  I am truly honored and excited to be a part of this year’s festival.

Rustic Lambs and Clams Pate with Lamb Crackers and mustard served in clam shells

Rustic Lambs and Clams Pate with Lamb Crackers and Lusty Monk Mustard served in clam shells

Mark your calendars for February 28th to March 3rd and buy a ticket to this year’s Charleston Wine & Food Festival before it’s sold out.  If you have never been to Charleston, then this is a great time to visit.  The temperatures are ideal for outdoor events and the city is bustling with activity.  This is one culinary event you don’t want to miss.  Come to Charleston, get inspired, and fall in love with this gorgeous city.

Fountain in Battery Park

Fountain at Waterfront Park

I hope you will try the recipes I created for this contest.  Each dish was prepared several times to perfect the flavors and textures.  A special thanks to my neighbors for being my taste tasters.

Here are the four recipes from the Lambs & Clams Recipe Contest:

Tennessee Whiskey and Sorghum Brined Border Springs Farm Leg of Lamb served with Geechie Boy Grit Cakes with Sweet Grass Dairy Georgia Gouda

Rappahannock River Oysters with kicked-up collards, Benton’s bacon, Boykin Mill cornbread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese

Epaule d’Agneau au Vin (Lamb au Vin)

Rustic Lambs and Clams Pâté with Cognac Gelée and Lamb Crackers

Charleston at night

Charleston at night

For more information about Charleston, you can visit the Charleston Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.



9 Responses to “The BB&T Charleston Wine & Food Festival”

  1. 1

    Susan Benton 30A EATS — February 1, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    You worked hard for that win. Congratulations! I lived in Charleston as a child and still have family there. A wonderful place to return and visit. Enjoy!

    • Gwen replied: — February 1st, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you so much. We love Charleston for many reasons and may retire there one day. It has definitely captured our heart over twenty to thirty years of visits.


  2. 2

    David Leite — February 1, 2013 @ 4:37 pm


    A hearty congratulations to you! Work very well done.


    • Gwen replied: — February 2nd, 2013 @ 8:24 am

      Hi David,

      Thank you so much. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort. We also now have some great recipes for lamb, clams, and oysters!


  3. 3

    Laura — February 5, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    I’m visiting the city for the first time at the end of the month, for the Wine & Food festival. Being a foodie and history buff – I’m afraid I’m going to fall in love, and never want to leave. Can’t wait!

    • Gwen replied: — February 5th, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Have fun and maybe I will see you there. You may definitely fall in love with the city and never want to leave. It is easy to do.


  4. 4

    Jamie — February 6, 2013 @ 5:50 am

    A huge congratulations, Gwen and what a thrilling prize! Wow! Good for you! But each recipe you created was such a stunner that I am not surprised! I was more than happy to vote for your dishes and urge others to vote, too. You were an obvious choice. And this is such a city I would love to visit and that food and wine festival must be fabulous!

    • Gwen replied: — February 11th, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you. It was a long challenge and I am very excited to have won. I tried to make the recipes interesting and really showcase the products we were working with, so I appreciate your comments.

      You definitely need to visit Charleston some time when you are in the States. It is a gorgeous city with fabulous food!


  5. 5

    Jen — February 6, 2013 @ 11:10 am

    That’s awesome! Congratulations!!

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