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MAR-APR 2017

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Page 34 of 51 35 M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 7 A T T E N D O N E O F T H E S E S O U T H E R N C O O K I N G S C H O O L S BLACKBERRY FARM WALLAND, TENNESSEE The artisans at Blackberry Farm, a celebrated luxury hotel in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains south of Knoxville, want peo- ple to know that Southern food goes way beyond fried food and casse- roles with extra butter. Southern cooking is about combining the right ingredients — think green tomato pie and lamb meatballs with green garlic, roasted peaches and brook trout with grits. Blackberry Farm cooking demonstrations are available only to groups who book a stay on the pastoral 4,200-acre estate, with its heir- loom gardens, dairy, creamery, salumeria, honey house and preserva- tion kitchen. Using ingredients that are grown or made on the farm, the artisans create a three-course lunch paired with a great wine. "The artisan will guide the guests through food history, growing healthy plants and animals, knife skills and the preparation of the dishes," said Mallorie Mendence of Blackberry Farm. "Recipes will be included for the group to take home." The presentation takes on the flavor of the artisan leading the class. The gardener focuses on seasonal produce from the garden and wild edible plants found on the property, and the butcher is meatcentric and features charcuterie and cheese from the larder. Groups are also en- couraged to take part in the farm activities and learn about the land and the food it provides from a culinary aspect. W W W . B L A C K B E R R Y F A R M . C O M CASUAL GOURMET AT THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF VIRGINIA NORFOLK, VIRGINIA Popular demand inspired the chefs at the Culinary Institute of Vir- ginia to open their kitchen to the public, and several culinary students sign on to assist each semester. The Casual Gourmet program allows groups to work alongside chef instructors and culinary students as they prepare local recipes with local ingredients. "Our Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern classes are filled with recipes based on ingredients indigenous to our area," said chef Troy Camacho, director of Casual Gourmet. The list of attractive ingredients is extensive. Inland, Virginia is known for its apples, blackberries and other fresh produce, as well as peanuts, ba- con and ham. Because of Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern shore, groups also get to work with fresh batches of flounder, crab and oysters. "There's something about being able to go right down to the pier to buy our fish," Camacho said, adding that groups often learn to make she-crab soup or stuffed oysters, in addition to Southern favorites like chicken pot pie. The chefs also couldn't resist having a little fun with their state's travel slogan and offer a "Virginia is for Dessert Lovers" class. Chocolate aside, most of their baking ingredients come from around the state as well. W W W . C A S U A L G O U R M E T . C O M TENNESSEE Courtesy Blackberry Farm Blackberry Farm cooking demonstration EXPERIENTIAL travel ISSUE

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