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Savor Charleston

On an average day, Charleston, South Carolina, locals can dine on perfectly smoked pork barbecue, creamy shrimp and grits, flaky Huguenot torte and numerous other delectable Southern comfort foods. Hungry yet? You’re not the only one, as the flavors of Charleston have elevated the city to one of the most popular culinary destinations in the country.

Award-winning restaurants line Charleston’s streets and compete against one another for the freshest ingredients and most memorable recipes. Groups visiting this foodie paradise should not only sample the local cuisine as often as possible, but also choose one of the city’s many culinary experiences.

The additional knowledge and hands-on interactions with Charleston’s homegrown food will only enhance your travelers’ appreciations of the area’s fabulous food. Whether it’s a cooking class, a dessert tour, a brewery visit or a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, your group will come hungry and leave satisfied on these popular epicurean excursions.


Charleston Cooking Class

Located in the city’s historic downtown, Charleston Cooks offers a cooking class for groups that are seeking the skills to make an authentic local meal.

“Charleston Cooks is very popular,” said Suzanne Wallace, director of sales for the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They pull chefs from around the city for their cooking classes and demonstrations. You get a sampling of the local talent.”

Participants can choose from a variety of cooking classes, including Charleston Community Table, Charleston Brunch and Secrets of Charleston Chefs. In each of these, groups learn with their hands how to produce a local meal. After their labor, participants dine on their culinary masterpieces.

Those that don’t want to mess with hands-on preparations can opt for a demonstration class. These relaxed sessions let guests soak in all the same information and enjoy generous tastings for a one- or two-hour class.

At one popular demonstration class, Taste of the Lowcountry, groups learn some of the regional recipes passed down through the generations, among them shrimp and grits, chicken gumbo and hoppin’ John.


Dessert Tour

Groups with a sweet tooth can’t stay away from the Huguenot tortes, lemon bars, Southern pralines and chocolate truffles popular in Charleston. They can sample all of these scrumptious goodies and more on Bulldog Tours’ Dessert Tour. Part of the tour company’s Culinary Tours of Charleston brand, the Dessert Tour seeks out the top-rated dessert places frequented by locals.

Participants taste their way through the region’s history with treats from the 18th century to present-day confections. Not only will guests keep their taste buds happy, but they will also learn the culinary history of Charleston.

“It’s a great tour, and you taste as you go,” said Wallace. “The company’s culinary tours all talk about the foods native to our area. You learn about the Gullah culture, which produced a lot of our native foods.”

The tour stops at Dixie Supply Bakery and Café, known for its down-home Southern cooking and unique desserts. Carmella’s Dessert Bar also earned its spot on the culinary tour for its wide range of sweets, among them dessert cocktails.

Bulldog Tours offers a number of other culinary tours, such as Savor the Flavors of Upper King Street and Savor the Flavors of Charleston. The former showcases some of Upper King Street’s culinary innovators, while the latter immerses visitors in how the city’s cuisine has evolved over the past 300 years.