One of the biggest challenges of any food festival anywhere is to do something different. If you aren’t careful, they can all start to look the same. Same foods, same drink, same chefs. Wash, rinse, repeat. Well a brand new festival went off without a hitch-well except for mother nature. We’ll get to her in a second. The weekend’s Whiskey Wine and Wildlife Festival on Jekyll Island was a huge success in just its first time out.
The weekend was hosted by the Westin Jekylll Island, a property just over a year old. It was the perfect backdrop for this beachfront party. Thousands of guests enjoyed samplings from dozens of restaurants and beer, wine and spirits providers from across the South. Restaurants featured included Halyard’s from St. Simon’s Island, Charleston’s Poogan’s Smokehouse, Scott’s BBQ in Hemmingway, South Carolina. Savannah was also represented by The Wyld Dock Bar as well as The Florence. Not a single bite from anyone disappointed. “I thought I’d come here, have a few good drinks, maybe some good food.” said Phil Tardif, a St. Simons Island resident. “But the food was damn good with a few good drinks too.”
Friday night the plan was a party in the courtyard, but the weather forced it inside the Westin’s lobby and restaurant area. Turned out to be the perfect setting for it all. Southern Soul BBQ offered melt in your mouth ribs. The Jekyll Island Club offered Sea Scallops with bacon and corn puree. Brunswick’s The Farmer and The Larder offered a specialty made ice cream with a toffee sauce created with Service Brewing Company beer. When I say every bite was perfect, I cannot stress enough the quality of the food and drink at this particular festival.
With the rain moving through overnight, Saturday was a Chamber of Commerce beautiful day. Ocean breezes and bright sunshine all day long. On one end we were treated to BBQ and Brews Alley which featured -quite possibly-some of the best BBQ in the South. A panel to discuss BBQ on the Atlanta Magazine stage…consisted of the aforementioned Scott’s BBQ, Southern Soul, and Poogan’s in Charleston. They were joined in the discussion by Duane Nutter of Atlanta’s One Flew South, and David Carrier of Certified Burgers and Beverage on St. Simons Island. Live music wrapped up the afternoon at the poolside after party at The Westin. By most accounts, when you take into account the quality of the food, drink and the weather? The weekend would be a little tough to beat. We met a number of people who were already asking when tickets would go on sale for next year. That’s some excitement right there. Of course, we’ll keep you posted on all of that.
See you on TV,