One of the best things about travelling, aside from seeing friends and catching up, is discovering local food artisans. I’m in Asheville, North Carolina, to teach so I’m lucky to get an insider’s view of the food scene here. Yesterday included a visit to the Chop Shop, where everything from “snout to tail” is available. I was there to pick up a gorgeous beef chuck with the bone in; and was tempted by everything from home-smoked pork chops to home cured bacon.
Dinner with friends included an appetizer of Palmetto Pimento cheese, locally referred to as Pimento cheese with soul. There is nothing better, particularly along with a frosted glass of locally brewed Razor Wit White Belgian beer. It tastes like its namesake, bière blanche, and with a slice of lemon floating in it, was the perfect apéritif.
Finally, for a sweet touch we had scuppernong grapes. These tough-skinned orbs with their huge seeds are loveable by name alone – scuppernong – it has such a ring to it! Their flavor is deep, unusual, beguiling.
Asheville has so much to commend it, and each time I come here I find more!