Gwen Fowler



Crowds sample local delights at festival tasting tents

Posted 3/6/2011 10:48:00 AM

Among about 90 vendors serving samples of their foods and wines in the Culinary Village and Grand Tasting Tents of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival was Lynthia Piccione of Summerville, promoting her new business, Easy as Pie Desserts.

She sells packaged mixes to make five pies: chocolate fudge, coconut cream, banana pudding, Key Lime cream and lemon cream. The sample I tried of the coconut cream was so delicious, and making these pies is, well, easy as pie. You add a couple of ingredients and you’re done. Each mix is $8.

Piccione, who sold her first package on Dec. 4, said too few people know how to make cream and meringue pies these days. She started her business after she had tried to come up with a way to share a pie with relatives who don’t live nearby.

Sandy Reddy also was at the festival passing out samples of her bakery mixes. Her company, Carolina’s Harvest, makes mixes for biscuits, dinner rolls, muffins, cookies and cobblers. The cherry cobbler I sampled was yummy.

Another vendor was pitmaster Jimmy Hagood of Food for the Southern Soul. After competing in cooking and barbecue contests as a hobby for 10 years, Hagood gave up his banking career and began Food for the Southern Soul. His company does catering and also sells such products as shrimp sauce, relishes, dry rubs and stone-ground grits.

Chef J.J. Kern was serving samples from Hucks Lowcountry Table in Isle of Palms. Kern, who grew up in Mount Pleasant, opened Hucks three years ago.

Oil & Vinegar is a new business in Mount Pleasant selling imported oils, vinegars, marinades, sauces and more. To give her products a uniquely Lowcountry look, owner Kristi Samber is working with artist Kathy Church of Mount Pleasant, who paints a Palmetto tree and a moon-shaped shrimp on some bottles.

Chef Brian Bertolini of Rio Bertolini’s Fresh Pasta Co. was serving a great gnocchi at the Lowcountry Local First tent. The signature charity of this year’s festival, Lowcountry Local First works to build support for local farmers and food purveyors and to increase the availability of local foods.

One of the neatest inedible items I saw were the candles made by Adam Fetsch of Rewined Candles from used beer and wine bottles from Triangle Char and Bar in Charleston. Fetsch has bigger candles in the bottom of wine and champagne bottles, and smaller ones in the bottom of beer bottles. It’s a great recycling idea for a restaurant.