Traditional Charleston EntertainingCharlestonians are also known for their 'Joie De Vivre,' a French phrase meaning the light hearted enjoyment of life.

Whether your Charleston obsession was first inspired by Southern Living magazine or a walk down King Street, you’re likely aware of the Holy City’s world-renowned hospitality. Charlestonians are also known for their ‘Joie De Vivre,’ a French phrase meaning the light hearted enjoyment of life.

Paige Crone, founder of Charleston Protocol Y’all, Tanya Gurrieri, owner of Salthouse Catering, and Emma Lesesne-Booth of Duvall Events share some exciting holiday cooking and entertaining ideas, with a dash of historical perspective.  

Emma, Paige and Tanya are all proud members of the legendary Les Dames D’Escoffier culinary enthusiasts. The organization is in the process of planning their first Culinary Academy on November 11th where all three women will be presenting.

Emma will be speaking about Duvall’s history of classic Charleston entertaining since the company’s founding in 1978. Duvall is constantly evolving while still holding true to tradition.  

Recalling culinary traditions triggers memories of other favorite Charleston moments, such as walking to the midnight service at St. Michael’s on Christmas Eve after entertaining the Church Rector and other neighbors. It is likely that every native Charlestonian can relate to similar memories that go hand-in-hand with culinary traditions.

“At a party, my mother always served traditional Charleston dishes like Meeting Street Crab Dip in a silver chafing dish,” recalls Lesesne-Booth. She plans to serve the delectable crab dip on delicate water crackers as an hors d’oeuvre during holiday gatherings this year.

So what exactly does it take to entertain in traditional Charleston fashion?

When a celebration is in order with family and friends, pull out all the stops and incorporate any precious family heirlooms that can be used for entertaining.

Create a beautiful dining room table or buffet displaying your appetizers. Raise your hors d’oeuvre platters at varying heights for display aesthetic and be sure to garnish each tray with fresh herbs, ripe and sliced fruits and vegetables or simply with an accompanying sauce.

Duvall crudité
Use silver to display everything from crudité to the desserts.

To create a timeless and elegant table setting, break out the silver from underneath the China cabinet. Serve oyster bites with sterling oyster forks, use a silver platter to serve smoked salmon, and spoon your cranberry sauce into a tomato server.

For a unique touch, line an antique biscuit box with fine linens and fill it with irresistible mini cheese and jalapeno biscuit bites.

traditional Charleston entertaining Duvall Events
Photography: Click Chick Charleston

Wow your guests with treats for the eye, as well as the taste bud. No traditional Southern holiday party is complete without appetizers of She-crab soup and oysters, followed by either fried chicken or shrimp and grits for the entrée. Finish the meal off with a mouthwatering peach crème brûlée for dessert.

traditional Charleston entertaining Duvall Events
Traditional She-crab Soup

Decorative items around your home can be used to create beautiful tablescapes. Put your pieces to work in new ways (Les Dames D’Escoffier encourage “y’all to break out the good stuff). Serve traditional holiday favorites like Meeting Street Crab Dip, a recipe straight from Charleston Receipts, the nation’s oldest Junior League cookbook, published in 1950 and now in its thirty-fifth printing.

    • Meeting Street Crab Dip:

      • 4 tbsp. Butter
      • 4 tbsp. Flour
      • 1/2 pt. Cream
      • 4 tbsp. Sherry
      • 1 lb. white crab meat
      • 3/4 c. sharp Cheddar, grated
      • Melt butter and blend in flour over low heat in saucepan. Remove from heat. Heat cream slowly and add to butter mixture until smooth. Cook slowly until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
      • Remove from heat and add sherry and crab meat. Pour into buttered casserole (8 x 8 inches). Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
      • Serves 4.
Need more? Triple the crab and double the sauce.

Do you have a go-to dish that you always serve? Do you bring out your grandmother’s silver during the holidays? We would love to hear how you bring Charleston traditions into your home while entertaining.

The holidays are a crazy time and planning an event can be overwhelming when life just seems to speed up. Our team at Duvall is ready to sit down with you to create a custom menu for your holiday get-togethers. Wanting to achieve a traditional Charleston feel with the food you serve or the platters you display? We can help you all along the way to insure a seamless gathering.