I currently wear several professional hats, one of them being a contributor to The Southern C. On an otherwise normal Wednesday afternoon at our Athens headquarters, Cheri (one of TSC creators) offered up her extra tickets to the St. Simons Food and Spirits Festival. Being a lover of food and spirits, I jumped at the chance to go. I arrived in St. Simons on Friday before the big event and to my surprise I found my parents up to their elbows in pulled pork and cornmeal. As soon as I dropped my bags and said a quick hello, I too was thrown into the assembly line. I really shouldn't have been that surprised...our restaurants have always been a family affair.
After a long morning of transporting and set up...the Gnat's and Bubba's tasting tables were ready to go.
With my parents settled in their booths, my brother and I perused the tasting tent with forks and souvenir wine glasses at the ready! Unfortunately I was so preoccupied with feeding myself, I failed to take a lot of photos. I'll do better next year but here are a few...
After running circles in the tasting tent, Keith and I made our way to the market area.
Viola's Market tent was incredible. They had essentially recreated their unique shop under the oaks for the afternoon.
Annie Clyde's Homemade Cakes was started by Brenda Clyde, Annie's daughter. Her mother Annie worked to perfect her pound cakes and spent hours teaching Brenda her technique. Today, Brenda carries on her mother's pound cake legacy baking these homemade minis for others to enjoy.
What is it about miniature things that makes you want them even more? We weren't hungry AT ALL by this point, yet we couldn't help ourselves. After staring at the impressive spread of mini cakes and pies, we just had to buy a few. These minis were perfectly round little pound cakes adorned with an array of flavored toppings; we opted for country caramel and velvety vanilla. Making pound cake and eating lots of it is one of my most vivid childhood memories. My grandmother was famous for hers and over the years taught all the grandchildren how to make it. To me, there are few desserts better than a classic pound cake. Not terribly difficult to make, but there is a delicate balance between texture and flavor, and when done right it is simply heaven. Although different from the ones we grew up with, these sweet confections took us right back to the blue and white kitchen in Birmingham, Alabama where we had sifted flour and licked the mixing bowl many years before.
Finally at 4:00 that afternoon, our tasting binge had come to an end. I missed the demos from the culinary heavyweights like Nathalie Dupree but I had a great time hanging out with the fam and some of my favorite local restaurants. After breaking down the tent, we headed home to take our rightful places on the sofa.
This festival was the first festival of its kind; celebrating the vibrant restaurant and retail community of the Golden Isles while raising money and awareness for Hospice of the Golden Isles. It was wonderful to see so many people come out in support of this special event. Can't wait to go next year!
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