Featured Press ReleasesUse this library of press releases written by the Charleston Area CVB media relations department to mine for story ideas, stay abreast of what is new in the destination and learn about the special events that take place throughout the year.
You are Invited on a Lowcountry Culinary AdventureFor Immediate Release, January 2011
The best way to experience the Charleston area’s heart and soul is to be immersed its authentic Lowcountry cuisine culture. A fare that has evolved over the past 300+ years, its emphasis is placed on local and seasonal ingredients stemming from the area’s plantation past as well as tastes reflecting the Caribbean and African influences on the Lowcountry heritage.
Tastemakers abound in this slice of the South. For the past three consecutive years, a Charleston chef has brought home the esteemed James Beard Foundation Best Chef Award. Hominy Grill’s Robert Stehling won Best Southeastern Chef in 2008. The torch was passed to FIG’s Mike Lata (2009), who handed it off to McCrady’s Sean Brock (2010).
Visitors can indulge in the Charleston area’s expansive culinary offerings while enjoying its temperate year-round climate. In addition to nationally acclaimed restaurants and numerous tours exploring the area’s heirloom agriculture and sustainable seafood, the region celebrates its storied fare with food festivals throughout the year. 2011 highlights include the Lowcountry Oyster Festival on January 30, the BB&T Wine + Food Festival, from March 3 – 6, and the Taste of Charleston, from October 7 – 9.
Accommodations with gourmet offerings are plentiful in the Charleston area. Fulton Inn has created the Girls Gone Gourmet package which includes a two-night stay, a two-and-a-half hour culinary walking tour, a two-hour cooking class with Chef Marc Collins of Circa 1886 and a gift certificate for the wine bar Bin 152. The renowned Relais and Chateaux Planters Inn is home to the award-winning Peninsula Grill, lauded for its “Ultimate Coconut Cake” described by The New York Times as “a slice of heaven” and nearby Woodlands Inn is one of only four hotels in the country to earn the Five Star and Five Diamond hotel awards for both lodging and dining. New properties are also making their mark on the culinary scene, including Restoration on King, a boutique hotel featuring rooms equipped with chef-grade kitchens and packages offering in-suite, five-course dinners prepared by an acclaimed chef.
-Three-Day Media Visit Itinerary Showcasing Shrimp & Grits,
Sweet Tea Vodka, Sweet Potato Mustard and More-
Below is an example of an à la carte itinerary for a culinary-inspired visit to the Charleston area, located no more than five-hours from most mid-Atlantic and Southeast cities and serviced by non-stop flights from 10 major U.S. destinations. Beginning in March 2011, Southwest Airlines will offer low-fare, non-stop service between Charleston International Airport and Houston, Nashville, Chicago and Baltimore. * Please note: This is a sample list of activities available to visiting media; each visit is customizable *
• After checking in at the hotel, visitors can kick off their visit with a Savor the Flavors Culinary Tour to learn about the area’s rich history from the best local growers and producers and learn the secrets of chefs from the area’s best restaurants during a kitchen tour. Culinarytoursofcharleston.com
• Travelers can see and be seen at Slightly North of Broad, Charleston’s version of the power broker’s lunch spot famously referred to by the acronym SNOB. However, the food is anything but fussy. Chef Frank Lee is one of the area’s seasoned stars, known for his southern fare (he even raises is own quail for the eggs) and the best Pad Thai in town. mavericksouthernkitchens.com/snob
• Following lunch, guests can take to the area’s waterways for a blue crabbing excursion led by naturalists in Capers Island State Heritage Preserve, one of the last undeveloped barrier islands. Along with catching crabs the old-fashioned way, with a hand line and chicken neck, participants will learn to properly cook, clean and consume them during a crab boil on Capers Island beach. Nature-tours.com
• For a leisurely dinner, foodies can delight their epicurean senses at FIG, a laid-back and eclectic establishment in downtown Charleston described as one part retro diner, one part neighborhood café and one part elegant bistro. They can enjoy delectable dishes using seasonal ingredients and local, sustainable products prepared by James Beard Foundation award-winning Chef Mike Lata. Eatatfig.com
• No trip to the Charleston area is complete without trying shrimp and grits, a Lowcountry staple. Guests can stop by the Hominy Grill or Dixie Supply Café to taste the best of this regional delight. Hominygrill.com / Dixiecafecharleston.com
• The next stop is North America’s only tea garden, the Charleston Tea Plantation on charming Wadmalaw Island. Guests can learn about the plantation during a trolley tour of its 127-acre farm and later visit the nearby Firefly Distillery, a family-owned distillery that brews up sweet tea vodka, one of the hottest spirits on the market. Both attractions are just a short drive from downtown Charleston. Charlestonteaplantation.com / Fireflyvodka.com
• Visitors can head back into town for a late lunch and a stroll through the newly renovated City Market, which boasts an assortment of shops and open-air buildings selling an assortment of Gullah handicrafts and food items, everything from sweetgrass baskets to benne wafers. Thecharlestoncitymarket.com
• After a busy and exciting day, guests can breathe easy over a relaxing evening of wine and small plates at two of Charleston’s best wine bars, Social Wine Bar and Bin 152. Socialwinebar.com / Bin152.com
• A sunrise kayak trip awaits guests, where they can learn about the local seafood industry as they paddle past the fleet of local shrimp boat docked at Shem Creek. Once a sleepy fishing hamlet, this maritime community is the perfect place to buy local shrimp straight off the trawler or enjoy the sunset at a dockside restaurant. coastalexpeditions.com
• Energy is replenished at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs, a favorite of Food Network’s Alton Brown. The savory special sweet potato mustard sauce, made of molasses, mustard seed and sweet potatoes, gives the cosmic dog its signature zing. Jackscosmicdogs.com
• History buffs can discover the culinary traditions of the plantation days with a Plantation Coach Tour that explores a still working plantation at Boone Hall Plantation. After the tour, visitors can stop by Boone Hall Farms and stock up on a variety of Lowcountry food items, including seafood seasonings and boiled peanuts. Boonehallplantation.com
• The adventure is complete with dinner at McCrady’s Restaurant, which serves new Southern fine dining and is home to 2010 James Beard Foundation Best Chef Southeast award-winner Sean Brock. Mccradysrestaurant.com