Food for Thought June 2014: American Appetites
From the briny perfection of May River oysters to the cutting-edge cuisine of California’s top chefs, food festivals from coast to coast are celebrating American regional cooking. The best of them feature marquee culinary talent, exciting local ingredients, and deep culinary traditions—yet maintain an intimate scale that lets visitors truly get to know the food and the people behind it. Here are six of our favorites.
Music to Your Mouth
Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, S.C.
November 18–23, 2014
What began as a small gathering to promote real estate at Palmetto Bluff—a picturesque former plantation on the banks of the May River—has become a yearlong series of food events around the country culminating in the Music to Your Mouth festival at the resort. Hosted by John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Music to Your Mouth features more than 75 luminaries of Low-Country and Southern cuisine for almost a week of tastings, cooking classes, dinners, parties, and casual gatherings. Participants have included chefs Anne Quatrano of Bacchanalia in Atlanta, John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Miss., and Mike Lata of the Ordinary in Charleston, S.C. Many events are like set pieces: A nighttime oyster roast on a remote stretch of the riverbank featured a surprise performance by Kristian Bush of Sugarland; a grand tasting was arrayed in Palmetto Bluff’s gaslamp-lighted main square; a Potlikker Block Party showcased the work of a single Southern farmer. Tickets go on sale in June, with prices ranging from $75 for a single event to $6,300 for the Baker’s Dozen package for two, which grants access to 12 events. Last year, 16 of the 17 events sold out in two weeks.
Highlight: The Bourbon and Bacon Cruise aboard an antique yacht on the May River; cult whiskey maker Julian Van Winkle and smokehouse maestro Allan Benton joined last year’s passengers.