Is there anything better than a warm bowl of perfectly gooey mac and cheese? What if you were tasked with taste testing over 25 different varieties of mac and cheese?
It's all possible and more, at the 6th Annual Charleston Mac Off, a true foodie's festival featuring samples of the comfort food classic from local restaurants, chefs and caterers. Participating mac-makers are competing for the title of Charleston's Best Mac and Cheese in two categories: Critic's Choice and People's Choice. Crave Kitchen & Cocktails of Mount Pleasant is defending its 5-time title, having won People's Choice 4 years in a row and the Critic's Choice last year! A new People's Choice award winner, Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House, was crowned last year. Impressive mac and cheese, indeed, but will their special winning recipes hold up against a new year of competition?
Mac and more mac! Over 25 samples available at this cheesy festival — Photo courtesy of Charleston Mac Off
The 6th Annual Charleston Mac Off will be held Saturday, October 24th at The Grove event venue at Patriot's Point in Mount Pleasant. This year's event benefits Lowcountry Local First, a Charleston, S.C. nonprofit that works to cultivate and promote local businesses and agriculture.
Bring a crowd to the Charleston Mac Off at Patriot's Point — Photo courtesy of Charleston Mac Off
This made-in-heaven mac and cheese festival is affordable at just $10 a ticket when ordered online, and just $15 at the gate. Once inside the festival, you must purchase tasting tickets to take part in the sampling – $1 for each tasting ticket and 1 ticket gets you one tasting sample.
Kids under 5 years of age get in for free! Mac and cheese isn't all that's planned for children attending the 6th Annual Charleston Mac Off. Kiddos will enjoy fun activities like a bouncy castle, pony rides, a gymnastics course, and more.
Tasting tickets are just $1 each, and $1 equals 1 tasting — Photo courtesy of Charleston Mac Off
Why yes, there will be plenty of beverages to wash down that macaroni. Craft beer and non-alcoholic drinks will be on hand, but the best boozy attraction will be the Bourbon Trail, featuring a variety of top-shelf purveyors. There will also be a vendor village on site showcasing local products and artisans.
It's party time! There's craft beer and bourbon on hand at the Charleston Mac Off — Photo courtesy of Charleston Mac Off
The Grove at Patriot's Point is located just a short drive across the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston, and free parking is available at several nearby spots in Mount Pleasant, serviced by a shuttle to and from the venue every 15 minutes. There is also limited parking available on site at Patriot's Point for $5 per car, as well as $20 VIP parking just a short walk from festival grounds at The Fish House Restaurant.
Downtown-based visitors attending the festival can take a more scenic route to the Charleston Mac Off with a boat ride from Charleston Water Taxi – offering $8 for an all-day pass just for festival-goers.
Crave Kitchen & Cocktails defends their 5-time title of Best Mac and Cheese in Charleston at this year's event — Photo courtesy of Charleston Mac Off
Crave Kitchen & Cocktails faces some steep competition this year as they defend their 5-time Charleston's Best Mac and Cheese title, but that's not the only contest at the Mac Off! Local amateur chefs will enter their best family recipes into the Homegrown Cooks Competition, while brave, bold, and devoted mac and cheese fans will face off in the Charleston Artisan Cheese House Macaroni and Cheese Eating Competition.
Whether you're trying to win an eating competition or just tasting your way through as many samples as you can, you're sure to leave full and satisfied from a cheesy Charleston Mac Off this year.