Charleston Food and Wine Festival…I Have Arrived

For several years now I’ve wanted to attend the Charleston Food and Wine Festival. Charleston cuisine is some of the finest I’ve ever tasted. The chefs in the city are inventive with the lowcountry ingredients and dishes like shrimp and grits, biscuits, and my favorite, Charleston She Crab soup. If you love the concept of Farm to Table, this is the place for you.

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Craig Diehl and Jonathon Sawyer

I got to participate in a wine dinner at Cypress. The wine, the food and the people at our table rocked! Chef Craig Diehl, Executive Chef at Cypress, and Guest Chef Jonathon Sawyer, Chef Owner of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, OH, came out and introduced their dishes. (As a side note, I’m from Northeast Ohio originally so it was cool to have a guest chef from back home! He owns a couple restaurants in the Browns and Cavs’ stadiums so check them out if you’re a local.)

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Candle that you can eat!

My favorite dishes of the night were the Vatican of Field Pea (crispy chips of custom de polenta, little yellow beets, cultured butter), Tuna Tonnato (bitter greens, lemon, herbs, fennel jam, blistered cherry tomato, cured black olive oil), Buckwheat Pasta (cultured cream, crunchy sage, sturgeon roe, Vidalia onions, Guinea hog cuppa), and the Artisanal Bread & Aged Beef Tallo (Candle stick maker style, 24K gold honey, big salt, herb salad, lemon). The last dish mentioned was literally a lit candle that you could eat. We dipped our bread in the candle. See what I mean by inventive!

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Buckwheat Pasta

The wines for the evening were supplied by Cordero di Montezemolo. Italian winemaker Alberto gave us an introduction of his wines. The vineyard has been in his family’s possession for the last 700 years and he was a 19th generation winemaker. How amazing is that?

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Alberto the winemaker

We had the Cordero di Montezemolo Arneis 2012 (white wine) with the tuna. Fun fact: Arneis means “bizarre” in Alberto’s Italian dialect.

We also had the Cordero di Montezemolo “Monfalletto” Barolo 2009 with Lamb Shoulder (since I don’t eat red meat I didn’t really touch the dish, but the wine was great). This wine was light, sweet and smooth, similar to Pinot Noir. I believe Barolo is a very common Italian grape variety, although I’m not as versed with Italian wine…maybe one day!

Finally, we had my favorite of the evening the Cordero di Montezemolo “Funtani” Barbera d’Alba Superiore DOC 2010 with the Buckwheat Pasta. This wine was aged 50 months in French oak and 1 year in bottle. It was a single vineyard, full-bodied wine, with hints of spice and green pepper. Alberto told us that it could easily be aged for 15-20 years.

Cheers to Craig Diehl, Jonathon Sawyer and Alberto Cordero di Montezemolo for the wonderful food and vino!

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