It’s been a week since Euphoria Greenville kicked off, and slowly, my trousers are finally becoming agreeable again. This year’s festival was my first, and I made sure to take full advantage of it by eating and drinking everything I could get my paws on. In the name of journalism, of course.
Thursday night’s Swine & Dine was the perfect way to start the weekend – a whole-hog roast from NC’s Skylight Inn accompanied by beers from Thomas Creek and incredible accompaniments courtesy of Roost. I fell in love with the sweet and sour collard greens to the upbeat tunes of the Piedmont Boys. Their “Sweet Child of Mine” cover helped end the evening on a high note, along with some help from a tiny Mason jar of chocolate mousse. I was able to chat up Craig from Border Springs Farm, a lamb producer who warmly invited me to visit his lamb-on-a-spit operation on Saturday.
Friday night, I headed to the Taste of the South event – one that’s just as much about the food as it is the location. I wandered from Wyche Pavilion to the Larkin’s back porch to TD Stage in a foodie haze, sampling everything that the Southeast has to offer. I had a few favorites, like High Cotton‘s roast chicken over pate and Lazy Goat‘s salmon crudo with pickled fennel – I won’t say whether I went back for thirds, but…. I totally did. The absolute highlight of the evening, though, was from Asheville restaurant Table. Chef Jacob Sessoms put together an elegant marlin crudo that was refreshingly light considering the offerings that evening. It was spot-on with a fragrant rhubarb, lemon, and sage cocktail from Larkin’s.
I woke up feeling very Greek Saturday morning, rested and ready to tackle a spit-roasted lamb. I began my Tasting Showcase journey in the Broad Street tents, tasting everything from the most delightful olive oil (Georgia Olive Farms) to a deeply satisfying bourbon (Belle Meade). I made my way around the tents a few times, sampling cupcakes, bloody marys, and some deliciously savory white chocolate bread offered by Lionel Vatinet himself, and finished the excursion off with a rejuvenating sweet potato, orange, and pineapple concoction from Kuka Juice. Co-owner Samantha Shaw assured me that her tonic would assist me in pacing myself. She must have known I was heading toward the lamb…
I loved walking around the tents, meeting people and tasting everything they had to offer. The real party, though, was happening across the street in the grassy plaza below the Marriott. While a giant lamb rotated on a spit, the surrounding tables served up bloody marys and gourmet lamb mini-meatballs with tzatziki sauce. The intimate stage setting provided an up-close encounter with food demonstrations and local musicians. If my feet weren’t tapping, I was on the edge of my seat for a Green Egg grilling demo that had me furiously typing notes into my phone. Finally, the lamb was ready, and I thoroughly enjoyed my bit of it while chatting with the indelible Taryn Scher, the local PR maven behind euphoria’s success.
That evening, I headed back out to the Old Cigar Warehouse for GSP’s Traffic Jam. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this event, but I was pleasantly surprised! Upon entrance, I was offered a really cute eco-friendly glass water bottle from Faucet Face. Food trucks from Charlotte, Greenville, and Columbia encircled a rockin’ lawn party with beverages provided by loads of local vendors. HotBox, out of Charlotte, offered up a really impressive pork ramen that I slurped down with glee. I got way too excited to try the Jambalaya-stuffed chicken wing from 2Fat2Fly and was not disappointed – that thing is definitely too fat to fly, and so down it went into my belly.
I ended my weekend of indulgence with a stop at the South State Bank Jazz Brunch – the perfect way to taper out of euphoria! A Tito‘s bloody mary, a blue crab puff pastry, and Whistlestop Cafe‘s fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits were the ideal send-off. I slogged home and spent the rest of the day in a post-euphoria food coma, dreaming of next year’s party…
The Greenville Foodist covered Euphoria Greenville for Gap Creek Gourmet this year. A big thank you to Eleanor for getting out there, meeting, greeting and eating her way through Euphoria 2014.