As a freelance scribe/video editor/web designer and a member of a travel writer’s society, I get invited to various food and wine festivals every now and then. With my schedule, it’s tough to make it to most of these events. I get to sample the results of talented chefs, wine and beer producers as well as hobnob with interesting people. To me, these gatherings are a treat. Most people love their Southeast college football and I love these autumn festivals.
In late September, I attended Euphoria Greenville, a top-notch food and wine festival in Greenville, South Carolina. The two-hour-plus drive was well worth it as I got the opportunity to sample an array of cuisines, wines and beers from several places. For me, the events started with a Taste of the South event on the town’s Reedy River. Scores of local restaurants with names like Soby’s, The Lazy Goat and Nose Dive served up creative dishes from shrimp and grits, crabcakes to Korean barbeque tacos.
Taste of the South was held on a perfect Greenville night where a variety of beers and wines were served along with music from Southern legends including Will Hoge and Greenville favorite, Edwin McCain.
Late into the evening, I went over to an after party at a trendy club where a DJ mixed new age sounds and was accompanied by a young woman sitting in a large circle hanging from the rafters. This renovated building-turned-nightclub features minimalist furniture, a large dance floor and a waitstaff that loves to serve interesting shooters. I felt like I was in a Manhattan nightclub instead of sitting among the throngs of Greenvillians dancing the Friday night away.
Wine tastings, wine seminars, food samplings from a bevy of restaurants, a beer garden and cooking demonstrations took up most of my Saturday at Euphoria Greenville. One cooking demo featured young chef extraordinaire Whitney Miller. Miss Miller, also known as The Pastry Princess, has been on tour promoting her latest cookbook, Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm. These chefs were accompanied by musicians including singer/songwriter/guitarist Jacob Johnson, a musical genius who broke out into his signature tune, "Me and Jack Kerouac" during one demonstration. Edwin McCain sat alongside Miss Miller.
That evening, I was treated to a beer pairing dinner at Nose Dive, a premier restaurant connected to the legendary Westin Poinsett hotel. I walked away from that dinner with an even greater appreciation for beer.
The final event for me at Euphoria was a Sunday jazz brunch. Jambalaya, spicy chicken casserole, red beans and rice, pork dishes, omelets, pastries and so much more kept me more than stuffed. As I took in the Sunday morning jazz while sipping on Bloody Marys, I was thinking that this is the life.