Quick Guide to the Best Finds from the SSI Food + Spirits Festival

First and foremost, the St. Simons Island Food + Spirits Festival is about bringing our beautiful community together to support the area’s only non-profit hospice, Hospice of the Golden Isles. Their testimonies are amazing and everyone should take a minute to visit their website to see what these amazing people are doing for those in need.

Secondly, there are so many sponsors and vendors working together to make such a huge event amazing. Not all are mentioned in this blog because the list is incredibly extensive, but we’d like to offer a giant round of applause to all of you!

1. Friday night’s Flights + Bites at the Golden Isles Aviation Hangar. That sound? That’s Suzy & the Bird Dogs. They rock!

2. This Watermelon + Shrimp Ceviche a la Chef James Flack (of ECHO) during Friday’s Culinary + Beverage Series: Shrimp Five Ways. Culinary + Beverage Series: Shrimp Five Ways
3. And Chef Jenard’s Skinny Dipping Shrimp Cocktail (also during Shrimp Five Ways). Chef Jenard Wells? Yep, you know him from Food Network. He cooked, he taught, he entertained, no big deal. (winky face, we’re totally fan-girling over ‘The Chef of Love’ too)Chef Jenard Wells

4. New favorite: Cabernet Sauvignon from Goldschmidt Vineyard that can be ordered here. If you’re in the neighborhood of St. Simons Island, you can also purchase this at The Still.Cabernet Sauvignon from Goldschmidt Vineyard

5. This fist bump. Chef JB Belechak of Palmer’s Village Cafe (left) and Chef James Flack of ECHO (link above) competed against each other in the Chef Showdown of 2015. Here they are being great sports again proving that no matter the competition, we’re all locals supporting locals and Hospice of the Golden Isles. At the end of the day, we’re all each other’s biggest fans.

(History: In 2015, Belechak won it all competing against Flack. In 2016, Bethany Fahey (formerly of The Westin, currently of Thrive Senior Living) won it all. This year, Bethany and Julian Scheibel of The Georgian Room competed in the 1st round, with Julian winning a spot in the final round. In round 2, James won and moved on where he competed strong against Julian. It was a great competition, but Julian took home the trophy this time. The real winners? The judges. They got to try ALL the dishes!)

Chef Showdown

6. Fruitland Augusta Peach Lemonade. But Peach Mimosa. Lemonade. Mimosa. Tie. Bonus points that Yuri always looks adorable, even when it’s hot! (PS, their recipes are here.)

Fruitland Augusta Peach Lemonade

7. Rose all day. Pamp Fizz!

Pamp Fizz

8. Moonshine has a place at brunch. Either it’s your lucky day or Christmas came early this year because Sugarlands Distilling Co. shares their recipe right hereSugarlands Distilling Co

9. Roasted Marshmallows can make a good cocktail even better. Thanks, Bretta (of Moondoggy’s) for the Toasted Ghost!

Moondoggy's Pizza and Pub

10. Rum + Prosecco is delicious. Richland Rum taught us this during the Culinary Beverage Series. Skipped class? Be glad we took notes, this surprising pair is basically how they say ‘hello’! PS, they’ll be opening their second distillery soon (Nov 2017) in Downtown Brunswick.

Richland Rum

11. Gator is good. Shout out to, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen.  (📷: Ben Galland of H2O)

Gilbert's Underground Kitchen

12. Oysters are too. (The Westin)The Westin Oysters

13. Bloody Marys are great. Pepper vodka is even better. Charleston Mix and Dixie Peppered Vodka are a match made in Brunch heaven.

Charleston Mix and Dixie Peppered Vodka

14. Did we mention adult juice boxes? (Vixen Vodka)Vixen Vodka Juice Boxes

15. There are several local artisans in the festival’s market so you can find plenty of Golden Isles treasures to snag! Just to name a few, here are some goods from Lisa Kerns Jewelry + Virgin Apothecary. (PS, Basic Balm is a new personal favorite)Virgin Apothecary

16. Show-stopping sausage (and jerky). Visit Stripling’s General Store here, order everything.Stripling's General Store Jerky Stripling's General Store Sausage

17. You don’t have to be a bourbon drinker to like bourbon.

Did we mention Aryon (of ECHO) won the 2nd Annual Coastal Stir Cocktail Challenge with her entry, Siren Sour? She did. Many a non-Bourbon drinker were converted during the Flights + Bites event thanks to her recipe featuring Four Roses and a dab of Merlot (gasp!). Psst, her recipe is here.

Four Roses and Merlot

18. Or a whiskey drinker to like whiskey thanks to Ghost Coast Distillery‘s Spiked Ruby.

Ghost Coast Distillery

19. This band: Cranford Hollow, from Hilton Head, SC. Go ahead and visit here then click their handy dandy “track band” button. You’re welcome.

20. Last but certainly not least, the first cocktail at the festival to steal our hearts. We present the Jalapeno Margarita from Maestro Dobel Tequila. So much yes!Maestro Dobel Tequila

BONUS: Sugarlands Shine for their fans too. We speak for everyone when we say #lifesaver!

We absolutely can’t get enough and can’t wait to do it again next year!

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