In an era when wine fests and culinary celebrations dot the country like destinations on a smartphone service map, one Lowcountry event has sustained its unmistakably authentic footprint. For its 10th anniversary soiree on Nov. 16-20, Palmetto Bluff’s Music To Your Mouth has quietly ushered in nationally acclaimed chefs, vintners and artisans to the shores of the May River for four days of uninterrupted revelry shared by a refreshingly limited gathering of guests.
“We maintain a personality to guest ratio to ensure that every guest has a personal and meaningful experience,” said Courtney Hampson, event founder and vice president of marketing at Palmetto Bluff. “Our events range in size from 20 to 800 at the culinary festival, so guests have infinite opportunities to make personal connections, mix, mingle and, of course, eat really, really well.”
The delicious event kicks off with a “Sommelier Smackdown” on Thursday, Nov. 16 as Jason Carlen of Miner Family Wines and Ross Hardigan of Montage Palmetto Bluff battle it out to see who can pair the perfect pour with guest chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s dishes. Then spend Nov. 17 in the field with Palmetto Bluff conservancy directory Jay Walea for a behind-the-scenes tour of the area, complete with lunch. Not into nature? Treat your sweet tooth with a tour of desserts from Crooks Corner of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, or sample Benton’s Ham with Allan Benton while sipping Pappy with Julian P. Van Winkle during a two-hour cruise down the May River aboard the Grace, Palmetto Bluff’s antique motor yacht built in 1913. Finish the day with the Ladies’ Night Wine Dinner with guest chefs Ashley Christenson of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh and Alex Raij of Txikito in New York.
On Friday, Nov. 18, Enjoy a wine-and-cheese tasting aboard the Grace, or sample Southern cocktails with a modern twist with mixologist Tiffanie Barriere. Then kick off the weekend in true Music to Your Mouth style with the Rock the Dock event, featuring favorite tailgating snacks and cocktails, and a Southern supper, part of the first Southern Supper Club and featuring guest chefs Scott Crawford, Justin Devillier, Kevin Gillespie, Sarah Simmons and John Currance serving up traditional Southern favorites with a taste of something new.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, work up an appetite with the Hair of the Dog 5k through pristine Palmetto Bluff neighborhoods and nature trails, followed by the Culinary Festival — the centerpiece event overflowing with renowned talent and fresh ingredients from surrounding waters, woods and local farms — and the Kiss the Pig Oyster Roast & The Pig Event Concert, featuring roasted May River oysters, Southern comfort food and a concert by a surprise nationally lauded musical act.
Round out the weekend with the Biscuits & Jam Breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 20. Enjoy coffee, mimosas and a biscuit bar as the weekend’s festivities come to a close.
Of course, for the 10th helping of Music to Your Mouth, attendees can expect a few more big names and big surprises.
“We look really good for our age — and we are celebrating in an epic way,” Hampson said. “We’ve brought back favorite events, chefs, winemakers and more as a toast to the wonderful memories we’ve made over the past 10 years and to those personalities who’ve helped make them.”
Hampson and her team aren’t the only ones responsible for the success of Music to Your Mouth. There also is a devoted group of local event sponsors that help ensure that the event remains a top-notch affair.
Court Atkins Group, which has designed nearly 100 homes in Palmetto Bluff over the past decade, has been among the top festival sponsors for the past nine years. This year, the group is sponsoring the Ladies Night Wine Dinner. It’s not the first time Court Atkins Group has added its signature to the popular Thursday night event at Palmetto Bluff’s River House.
“Originally, we got involved as sponsors to be seen and heard by potential clients and to spend quality time with existing clients, family and friends,” said William Court, partner and president at Court Atkins Group. “Admittedly, we have a personal love for food and wine, and that’s grown since we’ve had repeated opportunities through the event to partner with amazingly talented chefs and some of the country’s best vintners.”
Richard Best will sponsor the Beer and Burger Garden at MTYM 10th Helping. The event came together as a result of a discussion between Best and organizers about the need for a more relaxed venue and an opportunity to introduce a beer element to the festivities, which had previously concentrated on wines and spirits. “The informal setting allows the ideal chance for us to meet new homeowners and reconnect with older homeowners who have fortunately evolved into good friends,” Best explained.
Shoreline Builders is the sponsor for this year’s Kiss the Pig Oyster Roast & The Pig Event. Owner and president Chris Dalzell likes the timing and size of the event.
“It’s the big party, so our sponsorship helps us build brand recognition,” Dalzell said. He and this team have partnered with Music to Your Mouth for five years, and Dalzell said the fall event has become a highly anticipated get-together for families and employees. “That’s where most of our sponsor tickets go,” he said.
The annual festival sponsor roster is carefully assembled and nurtured. “We partner primarily with local sponsors — builders, architects — who work with the Palmetto Bluff team on a daily basis,” said event founder Hampson. “They understand our vision for the place, and Music to Your Mouth, and we work one-on-one with each of our event sponsors to create a unique experience for the guests that elevates their brand.”
The remainder of the Music to Your Mouth extended sponsor family includes BB&T Bank, Cameron and Cameron Custom Homes, Choate Construction, Coastal Sash and Door, CS Thomas Construction, Markalunas Architecture Group, Marvin Windows and Doors, Nexsen Pruet, Pearce Scott Architects, Red Bluff Plantation, Star Resort, The Greenery and Tocqueville.
Five percent of all ticket sales will go toward Second Helpings. To date, Music to Your Mouth has contributed more than $115,000 to Second Helpings to help feed more than 750,000 residents in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.
For tickets and more information, go to www.musictoyourmouth.com.