Wine pairing is both an art and a science—just ask a sommelier. It's important to seek a balance in the wine's components (fruit, acid, alcohol, sweetness, and tannin), and the food's overt and subtle qualities. A great wine pairing is about more than just flavor—texture, weight, structure, and bouquet of both wine and food also come into play. Monthly asked top tier restaurants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton to recommend a wine to enjoy with some of their signature dishes.


Most Gullah recipes have remained unchanged over the decades, passed down from generation to generation. As a “cumya,” the Gullah word for a non-native islander, I knew very little about traditional Gullah dishes. I had tried menu mainstays like collard greens and fried chicken, but I didn’t know how to prepare them — at least, not until Louise Cohen welcomed me into her kitchen to give me a tutorial for an article I was writing. I arrived armed with ingredients like collards and smoked turkey wings, and we spent a few hours bonding over a simmering pot on the stove.

The recent James Beard Foundation Hilton Head Surf and Sand dinner in New York highlighted some of the best dining in the Lowcountry.

Clayton Rollison of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, Chris Carge of Poseidon, Andrew Carmines of Hudson’s Seafood House On the Docks, Brandon Carter from FARM, Tim Nelson from The Porch at Beach House and Nick Unangst from SERG Restaurant Group shared some of their favorite dishes and local flavors.

Hilton Head Brewing Company has created Java the Bock beer, a “mad brewer’s dream” libation. It’s a classic, big-bodied Weizenbock full of banana and wheat flavors, plus a hint of coffee. The direct-trade coffee is a medium roast with notes of crisp honey, floral aromas and brown sugar.


In March, foodies flock to Hilton Head Island for the Hilton Head Island Food & Wine Festival, a six-day celebration starring Lowcountry cuisine and wine from all over the world. Chefs Matt Roher, of The Sea Pines Resort, and Joe Gilleland of Rock Fish Seafood & Steaks at Bomboras offer a peek at what’s on the menu for this year’s festival.

Bee-Town Mead & Cider is opening in Bluffton. Owner Mike Tripka will start with six products, including hard cider, traditional meads, coffee-flavored meads and fruit-flavored meads. Patrons will be able to taste and purchase a glass of the products. Mead is a fermented alcohol drink that uses honey; Bee-Town plans to use locally sourced ingredients.

The Juice HiveThe Juice Hive and Health Emporium has been named a winner in the 2018 Good Food Awards for its two kimchi creations in the Pickles category. The national award recognizes those making delicious food that is respectful of the environment and connected to communities and cultural traditions. Leslie Rohland, owner of The Juice Hive, was presented with the award at the historic San Francisco War Memorial in January. The winning recipes, Shiso Leaf Kimchi and Low Country Kimchi, can be found year-round on the menu at The Juice Hive and Health Emporium.

Stooges Café in Sheridan Park has new owners. Jobita and Efrain Salgado recently bought the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch. The Salgados also own El Super Internacional, an international grocery store with locations in Bluffton and Savannah and on Hilton Head Island.

gustoA new Italian restaurant is opening at The Fresh Market Shoppes on Hilton Head Island. Gusto Ristorante is scheduled to open this month and will feature a full bar, extensive wine list and al fresco dining on a garden patio. Executive chef and owner Giancarlo Balestra and his wife, Nancy, plan to bring the vibrant flavors of his hometown Rome to Hilton Head.

Hilton Head chefs Lee Lucier of FISH Seafood and Raw Bar and Clayton Rollinson of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar are friends who share two passions: food and football. After playfully ribbing each other on social media, diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan Lucier and New England Patriots devotee Rollinson made a friendly wager: The chef whose team loses the Super Bowl will host a pop-up event in the winning chef’s restaurant. The Eagles came out ahead, beating the Patriots 41-33, so Rollinson will be cooking at FISH to benefit Volunteers in Medicine at 6 p.m. March 1.