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