Food + Wine Fest: What’s on the Radar

The BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Fest is coming up fast. A lot of stuff usually sells out, but the economic climate has slowed ticket sales enough to give procrastinators a chance to take part in this year’s festival. Here’s what’s currently on our radar:

The Amuse Bouche party this Friday, Feb. 27 is a great way to get a little taste of the festival. The organizers and local sponsors will be mingling and nibbling on Jim N’ Nick’s hors d’oeuvres and sipping wine from Whole Foods. It’s a great, inexpensive way ($15) to get involved in the festival, and it directly benefits the Lowcountry Food Bank Kids Café, a cause that’s becoming even more important during these lean times.

You can win a chance to cook burgers with guest celebuchef Bobby Flay. All you have to do is buy some raffle tickets — $25 each, or five for $100. They’ll raffle off 1,000 tickets and announce the winner at the free opening ceremonies in Marion Square on Fri. March 6. To purchase your ticket(s) call (843) 727-9998 ext. 4 or The winner will join Flay onstage during his sold-out Burger Demo on Sat. March 7.

You haven’t missed out on your chance to join the Friday night Dine Around, one of the best events of the entire weekend. There are several Dine Arounds that still have tickets available, including Red Drum, Lana, Tristan, and Mercato.

Plenty of Saturday seminars and events still have tickets too, although many are “almost sold out” according to the F+W website. So if you want to expand your wine or beer knowledge and have $45 to spare…

The Food + Wine with a View event features an all-star, all-female crew. Newly published cookbook author Susan Spicer of Bayona in New Orleans will team up with James Beard award-winner Barbara Lynch from No. 9 Park in Boston, the critically-acclaimed Nancy Oakes from Boulevard in San Francisco, and James Beard’s outstanding pastry chef of 2005 Karen DeMasco, formerly of Craft in NYC. Yeah, the ticket price is a hefty $750, but this event promises to be unforgettable. And we’re excited to see that the festival stocked this marquee event with female talent.

Bubbles and Sweets, the dessert and champagne party under the big tent in Marion Square, still has tickets available. The $75 gets you all the sweets you can stand from some of the country’s best pastry chefs. Plus, you’ll get to take your champagne glass with you.

$35 locals-only ticket for the culinary village on Sunday. You may not get to meet Bobby Flay, who’ll be signing books at noon on Saturday, but you’ll avoid the big crowds and still get a chance to sample and schmooze your way through the tents in Marion Square.

The 100-mile dinner at Fish. This isn’t a sanctioned event, but it is being offered March 5-7. Everything at this meal will have traveled less than 100 miles from Charleston’s best local producers to your plate. You’ll get three courses for $35 (add $12 if you want organic, sustainable wine pairings with each course).

• The Round Up fund-raiser. From March 2-8, you can eat at Blossom, Charleston Club at Daniel Island, Cypress, Magnolias, Sunfire Grill, Tristan, and Circa 1886 and when the bill comes, have them round it up. The money goes to the festival’s big beneficiary, the MUSC Children’s Hospital.

Next week, we’ll be publishing our annual Best of Charleston issue, so you won’t find much in print about the F+W Festival, but we’ll be covering it extensively on our cuisine blog, Eat. Stop by and weigh in on the happenings:

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