GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The euphoria food and wine festival held a “Tapas and Tinis” preview event Friday night at Zen, offering guests an opportunity to experience the artistic dishes that the annual event will bring to the table this Fall.

The menu centered around the theme of “Decades,” which featured famous dishes from the 1920s to the 1980s. Some options included Sloppy Joes, Steak-Ums, and Tuna Noodle Casserole.

“We looked for dishes that were popular during those times, and just threw our own spin on them,” said Jesse Thompson, from Greenville who helped prepare the food and works as a district manager for Performance Foodservice.

In a creative twist, the dishes further played off the theme by being exceptionally “deca-dent.” While most of the dishes were rich with flavor, one meal captured the artistic vision of the event extremely well. The Chicken-a-la-King.

“Instead of just roasted chicken with the cream sauce, we’ve got duck confit with a [mushroom] demi-glace sauce,” he said.

The dish used “chicken” as a canvass upon which the chef created a nostalgic tapestry of umami flavors that referenced nostalgic memories of various meat dishes. This was done by cooking the chicken in a duck confit and a mushroom demi-glace.

“Duck Confit is duck leg cured in salt, sugar, herbs. It’s a slow process, and then it’s confit. It’s basically cooked in its own fat, slow-braised in its own fat. You can’t get more decadent than that,” said Thompson.

The flavors resulted in a dish that didn’t taste like the original dish, but instead, an idealized conception of it, highlighted by the deep notes of mushroom and duck.

“The duck is pretty fatty. It’s got a lot more richer flavor,” he said. “the chicken is a little bit lighter to help balance it out a little bit. That one is a roasted chicken; so you get a little bit of those roasted notes also. It just adds a little depth to it.”

Overall, the dish brought back feelings of nostalgia by painting the deep umami flavors of duck and mushroom, presenting an abstract, dreamy creation of a well-known dish that tastes like a fond memory.

Euphoria Decades
Tuna Noodle Casserole at euphoria’s “Tapas and Tinis” event.

The euphoria 2022 festival is scheduled to be held in Greenville from September 15 to 18 at various locations in the city. This year there will be 45 events over the course of four days, including food and wine, classes, wine seminars, cooking demos, guest chef dinners and seminars on a wide range of topics, according to a press release from the event.

Seven Michelin-starred chefs are collaborating to produce three back-to-back dinners during the festival, which is held every year in Greenville by the nonprofit group euphoria, according to a press release for the nonprofit organization.

Euphoria's "Tapas and Tinis" event
euphoria’s “Tapas and Tinis” event at Zen in Greenville on July 9, 2022.