photo by Heath Clark

Veteran Euphoria attendees know it’s important to pace themselves to make it all the way to Sunday because that 11 a.m. brunch and the Sunday Supper later are not to be missed.

And to be clear, that’s no easy task with all the eating and sipping opportunities. But, it can be done.

The family friendly brunch held at South Main and Markley streets (and also one of the best values of the weekend), has for the last two years featured all the smoked meats. It’s a carnivore’s heaven, with the likes of pitmasters Buxton Hall, Lewis BBQ, and Sam Jones BBQ, among many others, presenting their particular whole hog specialties.

It wasn’t just pulled pork that showed up big – pork belly had a strong showing as well, much the way quail did at previous events.

A crowd favorite turned out to be Anthony DiBernardo of Swig & Swine’s pork belly burnt ends and grits with a boiled egg. Matt Register of Southern Smoke BBQ created the perfect two-bite pork belly tacos with smoked poblano crema, cotija cheese, and pickled red onions.

Greenbrier Farms went completely off-book (and we’re not mad about it) with a Savory Snow Cone – cheddar grits, tomato, smoked chicken, roasted okra, and poblano cream served up, like a cocktail. Bottoms up. A made-to-order omelet station from the Spoonbread Restaurant at the Westin Poinsett Hotel and deviled eggs and bacon from Kiawah Island Golf Resort Dining Collection gave brunch purists the perfect accompaniments to the bottomless mimosas and bloody mary’s.

And of course, Southern Pressed Juicery was on hand with shots of watermelon and mint juice and orange and ginger for those needing a bit of a detox amid the retox.

Brunch also served as the best opportunity to see Michelin-starred chefs Curtis Duffy, Dominique Crenn, and Michael Mina in action as sous chefs for the finalists of the Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown. Wyatt Hampton, 9, E. North Street Academy, and Nayha Hussain, 16, Riverside High School, squared off with the team of Hussain and Duffy pulling out the win. Hussain’s Asain-inspired cauliflower and rice dish will be served to the 73,000 Greenville County Schools students next school year.

After a three-hour reprieve and re-grouping, it was time for Sunday Supper, held in the Wyche Pavilion while guitar/cello duo Wirewood serenaded guests as the sun set over the Reedy River. Local and guest chefs and their sous were a flurry of activity in a make-shift kitchen at one end of the open-air pavilion, and craft cocktails were mixed at the opposite end.

The seated, multi-course dinner was served family style, with pairings of three whiskey cocktails. A note for next year: you don’t need that pre-service wine or beer if you plan to enjoy the boozy cocktails.

Highlights included son-in-law eggs with pickled garlic and green onions from Craig Kuhns of The Lazy Goat, a S.C. shrimp carpaccio, butterbean salad, and horseradish tomato vinaigrette from Motor Supply Co. Bistro chef Wesley Fulmer, Anson Mills farro, pickled shrimp, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and scallions from Michelle Weaver of Charleston Grill, and Weaver’s crispy pork belly, nuoc cham, watermelon, cilantro, mint, and chilies.

Desserts ranged from a goat cheese custard tart from Christine Mansfield of The Lazy Goat, to fried peach pies from Weaver.

There wasn’t a single miss from the kitchen, the crowd got livelier as the night wore on, and the idyllic setting made Sunday Supper an impressive and apt close to the four-day festival that continues to surprise each year.

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