We had the opportunity to hit the road last week to Athens, GA for the second installment of the Southern C Summit. The founders of the Southern Coterie, Cherie Leavy and Whitney Wise Long, know how to connect like minded people and have a good time while they are at it!
We had to loosen our belts as we pulled out of Athens because this Summit was all about food. Not just any food....spectacular Southern food that you just don't get everyday. Our first treat was a cocktail party held at the home of Lee Epting. Lee is the founder of Epting Events and along with his sons Ashley and Daniel, they produce some of the most unique and memorable events in the South. Lee is a true southern renaissance man and raconteur. He cooks, he creates, he regales with funny stories, and for fun, he collects old houses and restores them on his property, The Hill. We were tempted to move in with Lee. A setting so perfect where you can be so well fed and enjoy fine cocktails made with briny blueberries from Phickle Chickle? It was hard to leave.
The next day was full of networking and learning from presenters like Shameeka Ayers, aka, "The Broke Socialite" and Jennifer Bilbro of Pink Bike Networking and Out to Eat with Kids. These funny, smart and witty presenters filled our minds with ways to promote our products via social media and ways to set ourselves apart from the rest of the pack. Lunch you ask? I'll just say it's not my typical Thursday afternoon lunch. It truly was all the foods that I adore the most from spectacular restaurants around Athens (two of them being Hugh Acheson restaurants!). We even had a Schermer Pecan break and Goo Goo Clusters for dessert...heaven!
We ended the day with Cocktails and Conversation at the Georgia Theater. Big T was on display this night as we got to serve up lots of Big T Crab Dips. We even gave everyone a preview of our upcoming shrimp dip. The Southern "C'ers" are such a fabulous audience for Big T. We got high marks for our new product and we couldn't be happier. I even got to meet one of my favorite cookbook authors and chefs, Gena Knox! Rounding out the night was a panel discussion led by Southern Living executive editor, Hunter Lewis, with several accomplished Athens chefs and mixologists. It was incredible!
The Summit ended on an incredibly high note with brunch back out at The Hill. It's a great day when you you get to start your day with a Fat and Juicy Bloody Mary! Most of the brunch was cooked over a wood burning fireplace in cast iron skillets and pots. It was simply some of the best food I have ever eaten. Lee and his chefs prepared stone ground grits with gravy, fluffy biscuits, tomato pudding (trust me, it was to die for), peaches, figs and my new obsession, rooster pepper sausage. The sausage is specially made for the Eptings and it to die for...period.
Thanks again to the Southern C girls and everyone that worked so hard to make the Summit a resounding success. We left Athens with our heads full of knowledge, fun new friends and tight pants. My task before the next Southern C is to find cute pants with an elastic waist band. Well done Cherie and Whitney!