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19 Feb 2024
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It’s no secret that Charleston has become a major foodie destinationThe restaurants and chefs in the Holy City consistently top “best of” lists… from magazines like Southern Living to the James Beard Awards, and Yelp.   

In fact, in a recent year, Charleston had more restaurants on Tripadvisor’s various Best Restaurant lists than any other city in AmericaMore than New York.  More than Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago or San Francisco. 

Food festivals are a sure sign of the health of a city’s cuisine scene, and Charleston’s had a stellar one for a while now.    

Charleston’s OG Food Festival…   

The Charleston Wine + Food Festival kicked off in 2005, and it’s been growing by leaps and bounds ever since Tickets sell out notoriously fastBelieve it or not, in 2023 they hosted 38,368 people over the course of its five-day duration. 

The festival is actually a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a lofty mission – to “celebrate, educate, enrich and promote the Lowcountry’s diverse culinary and hospitality community through world-class experiences.”    

Events take place in venues all around the areaThey include special guest chef demos and intimate dinners, fun competitions like the wildly popular Waffle House Smackdown that took place a while back, bar takeovers, and culinary creations galoreThe heart of the festival is the Culinary Village of tasting tents that would take over downtown’s Marion SquareThey ended up tweaking the format after the pandemic, shifting the Culinary Village to North Charleston’s Riverfront Park, giving everyone a bit more elbow room. 

The 2024 edition of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival is coming up soon… taking place from March 6th through March 10thRead more about it and snag tickets (if there are any left) at their official website.   

But that’s no longer the only game in townIt was recently announced that a new food festival is coming to Charleston this year 

In a downright exciting development, organizers of one of the most famous food festivals in the world recently broke some big newsThey’re starting a brand new one in Charleston this year. 

Its name?  The Food & Wine Classic in Charleston.   

It’s a spinoff of the esteemed Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado, which recently celebrated its 40th year.  And it’s got some real gourmet powerhouses behind it  -  Food & Wine, Southern Living, and Travel + Leisure magazines.   

Charleston is the first time the festival has ventured outside of Colorado.  

Over the years, the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen has drawn the best chefs and food experts on the planet, including the likes of Martha Stewart, Jacques Pépin, Julia Child, Daniel Boulud, Ruth Reichl, David Chang and a slew of other “culinary luminaries.  They’ve also been spotlighting athletes and other celebrities like Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and CJ McCollum with their wine labels.   

During their last festival, in mid-June of 2023, they hosted 80 food or wine talents, a couple hundred exhibitors, and 4,000 guests.  

And they plan to do similar things here in Charleston. 

When is the Food & Wine Classic?

The Inaugural Food & Wine Classic in Charleston will happen on a weekend in the fallThe dates have officially been set  -  September 27th through September 29th, 2024.   

Organizers were careful to space it out nicely on the calendar, scheduling it for six months after Charleston’s Wine + Food Festival in March. 

Where is the Food & Wine Classic?

They’ve said that the Food & Wine Classic in Charleston will be centered in the heart of downtown, although they haven’t mentioned specifics yetThe main feature: a Grand Tasting Pavilion with plenty of food and wine to sampleThere will also be a Gather Charleston Pavilion, sponsored by Explore Charleston and highlighting local chefs. 

Helen Hill, the CEO of Explore Charleston, exclaimed she was “thrilled and honored that Charleston has been selected as the new Food & Wine Classic host community… This unique event will further elevate the Charleston area as America’s premier food and beverage destination.” 

Who’s comingHow do you get tickets? 

Good questionThey haven’t named the specific folks who will be featured, but they’re saying it will be a couple dozen or so top shelf chefs and wine talents.    

For the inaugural year of the Food & Wine Classic in Charleston, they are capping attendance at just 2,000.  They plan to slowly grow the festival in the future, as happened with the festival in AspenBut it will definitely be a more intimate experience than the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. 

Tickets will go on sale this spring sometimeThey haven’t announced the exact dateBut you can sign up for email alerts on their website, so you can be the first to know.   


So get ready to have your palate pleased and your taste buds tickled, in a very major way, at least twice a year now… in March and in SeptemberBon appétit! 


All best, 
Lowcountry Lisa  

your Isle of Palms vacation blogger