Let’s Get Festive at Taste of the Season!

‘Tis the Season for Taste of the Season….a festive sampling of local food, wine and seasonal beverages plus wonderful music and a silent auction chocked with an eye-popping selection of getaways, golf packages, work of art and more. This annual event, hosted by the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, will be held in the ballroom of the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa on Friday, Nov. 22 starting at 6 pm.

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Is it Palate or Palette at the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival?

ristotle said that we have five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. In this blog we are primarily preoccupied with taste, of course; but the other four senses also come into play here in Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, and often in rather unexpected ways. With the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival right around the corner, I present my case for ‘palate or palette’, what’s your pleasure?

Touch is not just the province of bread bakers and pastrymakers, or even the fisherman who swiftly fillets a just-caught May River sea trout or flounder. Think of how the downy soft skin on a fresh peach feels, or the coolness of your favorite, foamy artisan brew in your throat whilst strolling through historic Old Town Bluffton.

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Get Shuckin’ at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival!

One of the best times of year for being on Hilton Head is practically upon us. Brisk mornings warmed by sunshiny blue skies and low humidity make it great weather for driving with the windows rolled down, taking a leisurely bike ride and devising fabulous ways to prepare our fabulously briny South Carolina oysters!

There is just so much going on at this time of year – time for football, festivals, southern barbeque and of course, the opening of the Hilton Head Island oyster season along the coast. I’m talking bi-valve utopia here, people! So let’s crack on, shall we?

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Good Stuff at the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market

It’s a perfect time for farmers market shopping with sunny Hilton Head Island mornings and a nice selection of produce, prepared foods and hand made gifts at the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market at Shelter Cove Community Park. Arrive at 9 am and start your day with a sweet or savory crepe from Claudine’s Creperie or a bite of Kim Tavino’s healthy sprouted wheat berry bread from Sprout Mama.

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The Perfect Fall Weekend on Hilton Head Island: Burgers, Brews… and you!

Planning an early fall getaway to Hilton Head Island? Do you love gourmet comfort food washed down with artisan beer? If the answer to either is ‘yes’, then may I suggest you mosey on over to the Island the weekend of September 28th. Allow plenty of time to imbibe with a fine selection of beers and a bevy of gourmet burgers and burger-styled creations at the 2nd annual TD Bank Hilton Head Burgers & Brew Festival.

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When Summer Sizzles on Hilton Head Island, Chill Out with a Sweet Treat!

When the Lowcountry summer sizzles do not despair as Hilton Head Island is chocked full of delectable opportunities to chill out (literally) with creamy and in some cases, dreamy treats! Travel by bike, by car or on foot and you will be rewarded with locally made ice cream, frozen yogurt and even the exotic taste of authentic Italian Gelato. With all the choices, your most difficult decision may be what to try first!

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The Best Gators are Chocolate Gators!

One of my favorite foodie-centric things to discuss with like-minded friends are what we believe will be the “next big thing’ in popular foodie culture. Fads and favorites have been all over the place, from bacon to fancy salt (or call it “sel’ in French with upturned nose) to Southwestern food to cupcakes. Recently food truck ‘food’ has taken the top spot as the foodie fad of the year circa 2013. Yes, you can also throw the word ‘artisanal’ in with the name of any dish and it’s a sure-fire hit.

Maybe it’s my Southern upbringing or just plain common sense, but I prefer quality to the flash in the pan style of most food fads. So my best guesses at what will be appearing on the plates of trendsetting foodies next usually fall short… I’m banking on locally grown preserved foods like spicy pickled watermelon rind or smoky heirloom tomato ketchup, not sumac-infused roasted kale broth with truffle oil or some such nonsense.

Like the tides that rise and fall in our own Calibogue Sound, chocolate is one food (in my house it is it’s own food group!) that has seen it’s hip factor fluctuate on occasion, but be assured the popularity of quality, gourmet chocolate never wanes. Here on Hilton Head Island, The Chocolate Canopy is the place to go for the absolute best chocolate treats.

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Commence with the Fun & Great Eats at The Old Town Dispensary!

Old Town Bluffton is known for its unusual festivals, street fairs, and an eccentric but welcoming atmosphere. Soon it will, no doubt in my mind, be gathering accolades for the growing number of locally-owned eateries with solid yet creative menus springing forth within Old Town and environs. When Bluffton becomes a foodie mecca, remember you read it here first!

One of the spots that I am pumped about is the Old Town Dispensary. Starting its life as a tavern tucked around the corner from the bustle of Calhoun Street (Yes, this is an inside joke – there’s no bustle in Old Town unless it’s attached to an 18th century petticoat hanging at The Heyward House Museum!), the Dispensary is the creation of local developer Thomas Viljac.

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Say “Oui!” to Claude & Uli’s Bistro

While I do not possess the ‘collector’ gene that my mother and her side of my family seem to embody as a way of life, there is one set of treasures that I have staunchly defended throughout the years whenever my family has moved: my collection of old cooking magazines. Mostly they are classic issues of Gourmet magazine with a healthy dose of Bon Appetite and Food & Wine plus a sprinkling of Travel & Leisure and Southern Living. Since I am firm believer in appreciating quality over quantity or one better…quality over fads, my treasured magazine collection is like an old friend and it never fails to inspire me.

No, most of the recipes found within those pages would never be considered ‘trendy’ by today’s restaurant and tv cooking show standards, but I adore them just the same. There will always be a place for classically prepared, continental cuisine and as luck would have it, there’s no better place for this indulgence in the Hilton Head Island area than Claude & Uli’s Signature Bistro.

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Food Fests’ Burst into Spring on Hilton Head Island

What do you get when you have fabulous weather, fresh locally caught seafood and expertly prepared ‘Buffalo-style” chicken wings in every flavor imaginable AND a rollicking good time?

If you’re in Hilton Head Island during March or April then you’ve set yourself up for all that and more! Spring festival season kicks off with two ‘foodietastic’ events that you will not want to miss.

If platters of hot chicken wings washed down with plenty of cold beer in a waterside Lowcountry setting, then by all accounts Wingfest is your ideal festival. Belly up to a celebration of “all things wing” on Friday, March 22 (5-8pm) and Saturday, March 23 (11 am – 6 pm) at the Shelter Cove Park on Hilton Head Island.

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