Planning is underway for the seventh annual Taste of Bluffton, a festival celebrating the sights and flavors of the Lowcountry. This year’s event, to be held April 13, will include a cooking contest for people who aren’t professional chefs, a waiter’s race and a battle of the bands. It’s a day of fun for the whole family in Bluffton Village, sponsored by the Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 843-757-1010 or go to blufftonchamberofcommerce.org.

Starbucks plans to open doors to their new storefront in Shelter Cove in March. The coffeeshop will be located near the Kroger Fuel Center. The new Starbucks will feature a 2,500 square-foot storefront and include a drive-thru.

LOCAL COFFEE ROASTERS

There’s a new trend brewing in the Lowcountry: A rise in local coffee roasters is creating a new wave of coffee connoisseurs. From Corner Perk and The Grind in Bluffton to School Grounds Coffee on Daufuskie Island, micro-roasters are filling Lowcountry cups and fueling a new appreciation for a good cup of joe.

“Fresh, fabulous and fantastic!” “Seek and you shall find!” So wrote online reviewers – the ultimate compliments for a restaurant, especially a new one on the hot Lowcountry culinary scene. Husband-and-wife team Munjid and Tammy Yousif opened Olive & Fig Mediterranean Kitchen in June and have quickly built up a loyal following with locals and visitors alike.

Neapolitan Pizza

Another restaurant is joining the Reilley's Plaza lineup this month. MidiCi's Neapolitan Pizza at 7 Greenwood Drive will open in January at the former Hilton Head Brewing Company location outside the main gates to Sea Pines, according to a news release from Coastal Restaurants and Bars. At its restaurants across the country — including one in Mount Pleasant — MidiCi serves traditional Neapolitan cuisine; guests can order from the menu or create personalized Neapolitan pizzas. The Hilton Head location will employ about 30 people.

Clayton RollinsonClayton Rollinson, owner of Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, was recently featured in a New York Times Cooking article about the magic of amari, liqueurs that add structure and backbone to his craft cocktails. His featured cocktail includes bourbon, amaro, maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, blood orange liqueur and bitters.

Tiger Butter

Kristen Waters, a trainer at Peak Performance Fitness Center, has announced the creation of Tiger Butter Co. Tiger Butter is made from tiger nuts, a root vegetable from Africa that is high in fiber and healthy for people with allergies and autoimmune disease. Waters discovered the superfood after experiencing digestion issues and stomach pain. For more information, go to tigerbutterco.com.

hhbcHilton Head Brewing Company celebrated the grand opening of its new outdoor beer garden in December. The building’s roof has been expanded to overhang the patio, which can seat up to 35 people. The expanded beer garden is dog-friendly and has heat lamps for year-round seating. The brewery is located at 1 Cardinal Road, Suite 13 on Hilton Head Island.

A proposed distillery is up for consideration by the town of Bluffton. Burnt Church Distillery would include a 20,000-square-foot tasting room across 2.8 acres. However, the land for the proposed distillery needs to be annexed into the town of Bluffton before the project could become a reality. Billy Watterson, the CEO of Patterson Brands, is the owner of Burnt Church Distillery; if approved, his new facility would feature craft whiskey, gin, vodka and moonshine made on-site.

At The French Bakery on Hilton Head Island, freshly baked, house-made, mouth-watering pastries, breads and desserts fill glass cases. Cinnamon rolls, chocolate-dipped madeleines and scones disappear in a flash. December is a busy month for the family-owned bakery, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Marek Belka, his son Tomazs and daughter-in-law Ellie work especially hard at the holidays, much to the delight of their customers. Marek recently brought Chef Robert Plantadis, a French baker and founder of Bluffton’s Midnight Baker, on board to help expand The French Bakery’s offerings — including the creation of more vegetarian items.