Rock’in into the Holidays on Hilton Head Island with Taste of the Season

Every year the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce throws down the culinary gauntlet with an event they call Taste of the Season. Yes, it kicks off the holiday season and yes, there are plenty of exciting tastes. But after this year’s amazing showcase of food deemed both creative and tasty, I’ll call it virtually a serious foodie’s paradise!

With almost three-dozen local restaurants and eateries represented, there was absolutely no lack of variety to be found. My only challenge was managing to fit a bite or two from each booth into my belly. Luckily this was not my first rodeo, so I paced myself and had a plan of attack formulated in my mind as soon as I walked through door. After making a quick pass by all the participants and taking a few notes, I circled back to get on with the eat’n.

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Make someone (and a lot of kids) happy – eat an oyster at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival!

Over the many summer trips to our local Hilton Head Island beaches my 5–year old daughter and I go on “sheshell” hunting adventures. It is as gratifying for me to witness her bubbling enthusiasm and wonderstruck awe in every newly found object, as it is for her in the moment of discovery. Our bucket full, we head home to examine our treasure, one by one we inspect them all, exclaiming the best quality of each. “This is beautiful Mommy, look how it is shaped like a heart!” or “This one is purple inside, purple is my favorite color!”

It does not surprise me to find that most of our collection is oyster shells, of countless shapes and color ranges. I stopped pointing out that most of the shells we see are “just oyster shells” two summers ago. To my daughter it doesn’t matter that they are numerous, because to her, each one is unique.

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Seafood Nirvana at the Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Sure, you may know the Hilton Head Island Lowcountry and even it’s neighbors, Bluffton and Daufuskie Island, but do you know one of the top coastal fall food festivals is right here in our own backyard? The 8th annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival is a weeklong annual event celebrating the “Bluffton State of Mind” and features locally harvested seafood, rich history, a juried art show, and more. Since this blog is foodcentric, be mindful that while I appreciate artisan crafts and their skillful makers, I am all about the food at this festival!

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Food for thought at Big Jim’s in Hilton Head Island

It’s been my experience that golfers not only hold a passion for playing the game, but most enjoy the fringe benefits associated with a day on the links. And I’m not just talking about hip madras plaid wear and sweater vests! I’m referring to a morning or afternoon spent outside in nature, good times with friends, and capped off with lunch, dinner or in the least “snacks” and drinks at the nineteenth hole. On Hilton Head Island there are a bevy of options for celebrating those birdie putts, and one of the latest to join (and some may say, rise above) the pack is Big Jim’s at the Robert Trent Jones golf course in Palmetto Dunes.

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Take a bite out of Hilton Head Island with Savor the Lowcountry

Did you know that Hilton Head Island boasts over 200 restaurants? That is a stomach full for most anyone and if you’re a foodie of the indecisive ilk, making the best choice may be tough given all the awesome Island eateries. Luckily, Alice Reid of Savor the Lowcountry has created, with assistance of some of the Island’s best and brightest chefs and restaurateurs, a foodalicious tour that will satisfy with scrumptious noshing for the foodie in you.

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From the Lowcountry with Love at September Oaks Vineyard

Trying to have a healthy and environmentally friendly Labor Day bash on Hilton Head Island can be a bit like serving Tofurky for Thanksgiving dinner. Your enthusiasm for vegetarian fare may spur your guests to scramble for steak and barbeque ribs, and merely expressing a desire to put limits on sugar-laden treats can make your family think you’re a scrooge. Now, I do not want to put the kibosh on the fun and being that this has been our first summer back in the Lowcountry “proper”, we have been indulging in the abundant local fruit and vegetable harvest, grilling everything from burgers to shrimp kabobs, and sipping cheery adult beverages – peach Bellini’s anyone?

So never the spoiler of a potential good time, but striving to be more conscientious this year, I searched for ways to be both! One clear and easy way toward a more sustainable party (and anytime, really) is to buy local. Luckily this is the Lowcountry so buying local is not really a problem – it’s an adventure! September Oaks Winery is a family owned boutique winery located in the pretty hamlet of Ridgeland, SC. In fact, if you drive to Hilton Head Island from the north you pass by the town exiting off Interstate 95.

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Raise a Glass to the Hilton Head’s 2012 Wine Spectator Award Winners!

Wine Spectator’s 2012 awards for stellar restaurant wine lists have been officially `inked’ with the magazine’s August issue hitting newsstands now and the list of winners is now viewable on Wine Spectator’s website,—and 14 local Hilton Head Island area restaurants have once again made a great showing.

Three restaurants, Hilton Head Island’s Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte and Red Fish and The River House, located at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton received Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. A total of 878 restaurants in the country are honored in this 2012 “Best of” category, which generally refers to wine lists with 400-plus selections that collectively indicate vintage depth across several regions, among other things.

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Kick start your next Hilton Head Island Vacation at the Culinary Arts Center

Summer is right here, and we’re making a vow to prioritize our health. But of course, it’s easier said than done. How many bland kale salads and juice cleanse shakes can we consume in a week? I know I am starving for some fresh creativity in the kitchen. Enter: the Culinary Arts Center at Hilton Head Health.

Culinary Arts Center cooking classes showcase flavorful, fresh and many times local ingredients that inspire your own inner top chef while keeping an eye on the calorie count. I recently had the opportunity to experience a participatory class in their beautiful newly renovated space, which opened last summer. The class was called “Seafood 101” and while, honestly I thought I was well versed in most seafood dishes, Chef Jen Welper and her lovely recipes and preparations, proved you can teach an old dog new tricks. And what delicious ‘tricks’ they were!

We also prepared a snapper fillet with a tangy and tasty sesame ginger marinade (we used it as a sauce here). Delicious.

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Hilton Head Island Showcases Great Food along with Fireworks this July 4th!

Fourth of July weekend, a time to grab a lawn chair, stock the cooler and sport American flag swag. Better yet, head to the coast and Hilton Head Island for Atlantic ocean breezes, amazing firework displays and of course, a medley of superlative food and feasting choices.

Many of the prime firework viewing locales on the Island – Shelter Cove Harbour, Skull Creek and Harbour Town, not only get the party started but keep it going by with plenty of thirst-quenching libations, live entertainment and a variety of delicious bites.

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Market Day is Fun Day in Hilton Head Island!

Psst…Hey, over here…psst. Planning a visit to Hilton Head Island? Are your renting a villa or house or other abode with a kitchen for your getaway? Do you love to cook? Are you itching to match your culinary skills with the freshest of Lowcountry ingredients? Then, before you ink your menu and throw on that apron, you simply must peruse the local aisles at one of my favorite ‘grocery stores’- our terrific farmer’s markets.

From bodacious blueberries to cherub-shaped patty pan squash to organically raised eggs, locavores in the know on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton head to their respective markets for the best, in-season produce. Heck, don’t even be surprised to spot a chef from your favorite local eatery strolling the tents and jockeying for all the speckled butter peas or rosy heirloom tomatoes sold by local farmers.

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