While partygoers noshed on squab gnocchi from FIG and MiBek beef from the Ocean Room, the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival was racking up a record day of ticket sales. Tickets went live at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, and it didn’t take long for them to reach $200,000 (last year, it took them the entire opening weekend to hit that number.) Can’t say I’m too surprised. The 2012 lineup is pretty stellar.

  • Jason Hall from Ben Arnold handed out refreshing Hendrick’s cocktails

The ticket launch party was pretty stellar too. A who’s who of chefs, wines, and restaurants that will be participating in the 2012 festival were on hand with delicious plates of food and lovely glasses of wine. A signature cucumber cocktail made with Hendrick’s Gin greeted us at the entrance; a refreshing way to get the party started.

  • The bounty of Wadmalaw made for a great salad

Once we had drink in hand, we scouted the food tables, which were scattered around the venue. Chef Ken Vedrinski of Trattoria Lucca had a lovely octopus dish, while Fred Neuville of the Fat Hen had a bountiful salad made from local beans. His mise en place was quite pretty in and of itself. It seemed like the Halls Chophouse table had a perpetual line 20-people deep, proving that red meat will always attract a crowd.

  • Fred from the Fat Hen

The event was held on the beach at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, where guests sunk their toes in the sand and stuffed themselves silly and were treated to cool sea breezes and a picturesque sunset. All in all, it was an enjoyable kickoff party that left us looking forward to the big festival in March.

  • Brooks Reitz of FIG and Brad Ball of Social

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