This past Wednesday, I had the amazing opportunity to help out at/photograph for Charleston Wine + Food’s signature fall event: Souls and Saints. Unless you live under a rock, you know that the Charleston Wine + Food Festival is one of the biggest/ most fun food events of the year. Every year they give the public a sneak preview of the fun to come with a signature fall event.
This year, they pulled out all the stops with a Day of the Dead-inspired event filled with Latin food from local chefs, tequila cocktails, face painting, and stunning live performances. I assisted with the setup of the event, so it was crazy to see the party space transform from an empty parking lot to foodie paradise!
The tickets to this event were all inclusive, and the attendees definitely got their money’s worth. When you were at the event, you were literally surrounded by food vendors. I didn’t get to chance to try it all, but I will share with you my favorite bites of the evening.
chile relleno from kiawah island golf resort
The dish of the night for me was the Chile Relleno from Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The chile was served atop a rich, spicy, sauce and some sweet corn to cut through the spice. The meat filling inside the chile relleno was rich, cheesy, and also a little spicy. I’m honestly drooling just thinking about it.
Of course the love of my life, Taco Boy, brought their A game to this event. The taco (Cochinita Pibil) wasn’t on their usual menu, but it needs to be added ASAP. The taco was comprised of citrus marinated pork, pickled red onion, and black bean aioli. The fresh citrus flavor really came through and complemented the zing from the pickled red onions. The pickled red onions also added crunch to the dish, so it was an overall winner.
street corn from southern smoke bbq
Southern Smoke BBQ from Garland, NC provided one of my favorite Latin bites, street corn. Corn is already delicious on its own, but when you cover it in spices and cotija cheese, it gets even better. This corn in particular was sweet, spicy, and salty, which is the flavor trifecta for me.
One of the cool aspects of this event was that there was a cocktail competition going on and the attendees got to pick the winner for People’s Choice, while a panel of judges picked the overall winner.
Dan Williams of the Darling Oyster Bar took home the People’s Choice award with his “Midnight Sun” cocktail. The Midnight sun was comprised of tequila, grapefruit juice, Southern Twist ginger/jalapeno syrup, and some other goodies to drive home the Latin theme.
The Overall Winner of the Tequila Cocktail competition was Morgan Hurley from Mex 1 Coastal Cantina. Morgan took home the win because of his “Noble Hospitality.” This drink had a unique feature to it, which was the Mezcal “rinse.” He sprayed the bottom of the glass with mezcal so that you would get the smokiness, but the tequila flavor would still be in the forefront.
Apart from the eating and drinking, there were plenty of other things to do at this event. There was face painting, a flaming dance performance by Brushfire Collective, flower crowns, and great music to dance to! With all these activities, everyone was having a great time all around. Charleston Wine + Food sure knows how to throw a party and I look forward to the festival at the end of February!