Monday, August 15, 2011

euphoria 2011: a higher state of food, wine and music in Greenville, SC 9/22-25

One of the magical ways to experience life is to step away from your day to day existence and experience total cultural immersion.  That is euphoria:  a happening in Greenville, South Carolina showcasing Food, Wine, and Music - simply for the joy of  it (and to benefit many deserving charities).

From Thursday, September 22nd to Sunday the 25th, I'll experiencing Greenville for the first time (and you never forget your first time); I'll write about the sights, sounds and tastes that for one magical weekend converge at Greenville, the secret destination of the foodie world. I expect that euphoria will be reached many times that weekend and I'll be blogging all along the way, but rather than read about it, come to Greenville!  We'll all be there -  from all over the world:  Chefs, Musicians, Sommeliers and the people who love and appreciate them.

Greenville is for foodies. The whole city will be immersed in euphoria. Either as VIP or À la carte, it will be all right there. In a break from my normal blog policy, I am using euphoria's photos for this blog post, as I have never been before.  What is great about euphoria is that many of this year's participants are in the ascendancy of their careers, they are working, have just started thinking about writing their cookbooks, and the sky is their limit.  Like Justin Bogle from Gilt here in NYC, who earned two Michelin stars at 28.  (Take THAT Gordon Ramsey - he was 31 when he was awarded two stars!) and Gilt has one of the most amazing wine lists I have seen. Gilt won Wine Spectator’s Grand Award for 2011.  Their highest award for a restaurant wine list - it is safe to say that Justin knows pairings! I am just so excited to be going, and to be able to say that "I was there when...".

I arrive on Thursday, people will be moseying into euphoria, a laid back stroll of Greenville's Main Street merchant participants.  I'll be easing my way into the weekend, remembering to relax and soak in the surroundings; trading a "New York Minute" for a "South Carolina Mosy", and I can't wait! That night, I'll be at Songwriter's Recipe: Songs and Stories from euphoria Unplugged listening, unwinding, meeting new friends, and tasting some wine. (J. Lohr Vineyards and Wine are pouring)

There are so many events going on that weekend, I can't possibly cover all of them. So, I have decided to focus on wine and take a few diversions along the way.  First will be the VIP BMW Performance Drive on Friday morning,  (JPH would never forgive me if I didn't show some love to BMW - I do drive their Mini-Cooper (in British Racing Green) after all!); then an afternoon tour with Greenville History Tours, after that, it'll be all food and wine, all the time for me.  Of course, there will be parties and special events along the way. (I am wondering how I will squeeze in a trip to the Beer Garden) and the Spirits Dinner sounds amazing, but I need to pace myself. 

Friday night is Taste of the South, downtown Greenville being serenaded and fed by the South's best and brightest from 6:00 - 10:30.  This will be a marathon for me, but what a marathon to take part in!  I will be on the hunt for Shrimp and Grits.  (You'll be hearing a lot about my discovery of Shrimp and Grits over the next few weeks.  It has become my obsession since I returned from the Wine Bloggers' Conference in Charlottesville, VA)

On Saturday morning, I'll be taking the Nikon to Greenville's Saturday Market. Their Farmers Market is local and seasonal, it'll kill me to not be able to buy things and go home to cook them, but I'll take plenty of pictures.

Then, an all day and night immersion in wine - I won't be pickled, but my taste-buds should come out of this better educated.  I have learned more about wine from going to tastings  - just by being there, sipping wine, and listening to the experts share their thoughts on what is being poured.

From 11 until 2:30, on Saturday, I will be at Wine Seminars led by three Master Sommeliers: Laura Williamson presenting sparkling wines,  J. Scott Carney will discuss Cabernet Sauvignon and Wayne Belding will be talking about the big reds. These Master Sommeliers have built their careers by working with some of the world's best restaurants and wine importers/growers; I am so glad that they will be at Greenville to meet us, drink with us, and talk about their passions for wine - broadening my palate all along the way.    I'll be blogging about it, but tickets are still available, come join me!  I'll put your picture in the blog post  ; ).

Photo by Stephen Stinson
On Saturday night, there are many Saturday Wine Dinners at top Greenville restaurants, featuring a guest Chef and winemaker.  It'll be at The Lazy Goat.  This should prove to be EPIC, Rory Golden of the Deerhurst Resort in Ontario, Canada (G8 Summit 2010) and Haley Bitterman, Corporate Executive Chef, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group  (Mr. B's Bistro, New Orleans) team up with The Lazy Goat's Executive Chef Victoria Moore.  I can only guess what surprises the menu will have.  Will we get famous New Orleans BBQ Shrimp? Pan Seared Loin of Elk that wowed world leaders? or Lamb Ribs or Lazy Paella? My mouth is watering as I type this.

On Sunday morning, in a totally random act of cosmic convergence, I will be going to Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church.  A great friend of S. & JPH's is Fr. J. Scott Newman. Priest, Princeton alum and part time blogger. I could not go to Greenville without a visit to St. Mary's - and as I have been to Mass before and nothing burst into flames, I figured this would be a nice time for a repeat visit.

Then on to a New Orleans-style buffet Jazz Brunch 10am - 2:00; while I am nibbling and listening, I will watch the Culinary Cook-off from 11:30am - 2:30.

For me, it all will wrap up with Sunday Supper, sampling bourbons and craft brews while I kick back to the sounds of southern blue grass with the Weasel Creek String Band.

On Monday, I'll head back to Long Island.  The Nikon full of photos, my head full of memories and blog posts waiting to be written.  You'll be able to read along with my trip to euphoria, or you can go yourself.  Tickets are still available.

Don't forget, there will be dancing.


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