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Three cheers for tasty salted pig parts! The Charleston Wine and Food Festival kick-off party, held Thursday night at Charles Towne Landing's new Founders Hall, was a rapturous extravaganza of all things porcine—and not just your mama's Sunday bacon! Tables were laden with every conceivable edible iteration of pork, and a slew of local food scene stalwarts were on hand to be inducted into the prosciutto, pate, and pancetta society.

Chef Frank Lee (Slightly North of Broad) talked about his house-made sausage, which he infuses with marjoram grown in the restaurant's herb garden. Chef Sean Brock (McCrady's)—also a pig farmer working on a signature charcuterie—busied himself in a back alcove, but his drippings-infused butter was being eaten by the spoonful according to the whispers that rippled through the crowd. Chef Craig Deihl (Cypress) dished up hearty portions of his recipes and attracted a healthy crowd of hungry guests. Meanwhile, a handful of other chefs traded toques and white jackets for plain clothes and wandered through the event as merry guests, including Chef Bob Waggoner (U Cook with Chef Bob), Chef Donald Barickman (Magnolia's), Chef Kelly Wilson (soon to be serving her outstanding pastries on Kiawah Island), Chef Iverson Brownell (Iverson Catering), and Mary Zapatka (Square Onion) to name a few.

Nearly everyone with a hand in Charleston's cuisine scene was in attendance. Rick Jerue (Art Institute of Charleston), Tradd Newton and Sarah Nielsen (Fleet Landing), Holly Herrick (food writer), Jackie Tyler and Libba Osborne (Leapfrog PR), Angel Postell (Charleston Wine and Food Festival director), and Mitchell Crosby (JMC Charleston) comprised the wave of familiar faces clustered near the entrance when I arrived.

Official announcements came midway through the event, naming two nonprofits—Louie's Kids and Slow Food Charleston—as beneficiaries of the 2010 festival and name-checking superstar chef Daniel Boulud, who will cook at an already sold-out $750 per person dinner on Saturday night during the festival.

Tickets for the March 4 - 7 festival are now on sale, so visit charlestonwineandfood.com for details.

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