11 Reasons to Attend Gourmet & Grapes

Chilled bottles of champagne

Gourmet & Grapes celebrates its 11th year at The Sanctuary over a four-day weekend in late January, a great way to kick off 2019. Kiawah Island Golf Resort’s signature culinary event will take place January 31 through February 3. We can think of tons of reasons for you to attend, but in honor of the 11th anniversary, here are top 11 reasons we think you should come. 

1. BBQ and Bourbon. What more to say? We kick off G&G with Gourmet & Grain with two laid-back Southern staples for headliners. Meet Bourbon royalty Julian Van Winkle, scion of the Van Winkle distilling dynasty, and feast on the smoked succulence of leading pitmasters including Texas-born and bred Justin and Jonathan Fox of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Atlanta, local favorites Swig & Swine and Home Team BBQ, and of course our very own Keith Richardson of Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House.

2. Dance beneath the stars. As BBQ & Bourbon winds down at Mingo Point, the blue grass music heats up. Dance off the calories from all that pulled pork, brisket and brown-water to the lively tunes of local Bluestone Ramblers.

3. Laissez les bons temps rouler Kiawah Style. This year’s Gourment & Grapes falls right in the heart of the Gulf Coast’s carnival season, so The Sanctuary gets in the spirit by adopting a heavy New Orleans accent (see number 4).    

4. Black Friday (tie, that is). How often to you get the opportunity to dress to the nines on a Friday night? Proper evening attire is called for on February 1 for An Epicurean Affair, a celebratory feast at The Sanctuary’s Ocean Room with a quartet of James Beard Award winners from New Orleans: Donald Link, Ryan Prewitt, Steven Stryjewski, and Rebecca Wilcomb. Don’t forget your masquerade mask (see number 3).

5. A fireside civilized nightcap. In keeping with the sophisticated Friday theme, prepare to retire in civilized fashion with a fine whiskey in the clubby, dark-paneled confines of The Ocean Room Lounge, brought to you by the arbiter of fine Southern cuisine, The Local Palate.  

6. Bid on some truly awesome prizes. Saturday night’s auction will give you the opportunity to bid on some out-of-this-world items. Sneak peek: does the chance to vie for bottles of 10-, 12-, 15- and 20-year-old Pappy motivate you?    

7. Chef Steve McHugh. Pay attention. The three-time James Beard Award finalist comes to Kiawah via San Antonia, via New Orleans via Wisconsin. All you need to know about that is Chef McHugh combines all that farm and culinary experience at Cured at Pearl in San Antonia, Texas, but he’s sharing his skills with lucky attendees. To top it all off? Chef McHugh is himself a tough lymphoma survivor (see number 11).

8. Grapes. G&G welcomes more than a dozen serious wineries — importantly, with their wines in tow. The field is as distinguished as it is varied, ranging from a 130-year-old winery from Provence to a relative newcomer from Napa.  

9. Pedal your guilt away. Getting sort of down on yourself for starting the year in über-Epicurean fashion? Well, absolve yourself by joining Cycling & Champagne on Saturday morning. The 5K chef-led bike ride on Kiawah’s iconic green beach cruisers culminates with a dramatic saber ceremony with Moët. Why not a morning glass of champers now you’ve assuaged your guilt? 

10. Get a peek behind the curtain. Ever wondered if what you’ve seen on Food Channel accurately portrays what really happens in first-rate restaurant kitchen? Get a live first-hand glimpse of how the magic happens during a chef-led tour of The Ocean Room kitchen. Bonus: get a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant’s award-winning wine room.  

11. Beat Cancer. We saved the best reason for last. Over its ten years of existence, G&G has raised $2.8 million to support research and patient programs at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.  How cool would it be to do your part to help push it over the $3 million mark? 

Your appetite stoked yet? Grab your tickets here.