Before I went to America I was terrified of the food I would encounter there. I have to admit it;when Alex described the food of the South-breakfast sausage with white gravy, chicken and waffles, the ever elusive “grits”-I felt a tad queasy. I had visions of myself returning home having gained 20 kilos. My first visit to an American supermarket was an eye opener-so many flavours of coffee, an array of frozen TV dinners, and more types of soda than you could ever imagine. However, despite all of this I’m happy to say that my fears about fatty foods and weight gain were mostly unfounded. In fact, a lot of the Southern food we ate found the perfect balance between healthy and comforting. Some places perfected this with such deliciousness they deserve an honourable mention.
Tupelo Honey in Asheville, North Carolina served us a Sunday brunch that I still find myself craving. These guys specialise in southern food with a fresh twist. I got a breakfast bowl filled with fresh veggies, goats cheese grits, salsa, chicken and eggs. Alex had a delicious plate of chicken and biscuits. The food we had here was fresh and wholesome and really felt good for you, while still being great comfort food.
Twelve Bones is a little barbecue joint so famous that Obama has been there several times! It’s also located in Asheville and it’s definitely worth a visit. I had my very first ribs here and they were divine. They offer lots of interesting flavour combinations such as blueberry chipotle and pineapple cranberry glaze. Their sides are delicious too, with all the usual suspects-fluffy corn bread, creamy macaroni and cheese, and chunky potato salad. Best of all, they offer a range of beers on tap from the many micro breweries in the funky town of Asheville.
Back in Charlotte our stand out Southern meal was brunch at Trio. I had the shrimp and grits, a classic Southern meal, and I was surprised by how different the grits tasted here-it seemed that almost every restaurant we visited had their own specific take on this breakfast dish. I also had my first and only plate of collard greens, which tastes like a tangier version of bacon and cabbage. And I have to say, the mimosas here were pretty good too 😉
So, when it came down to it there was no reason to be so worried about Southern food. More often than not I found it to be delicious and hearty, but not necessarily unhealthy. Like everything else, it was fine in moderation-and, thankfully, all my clothes still fit me when I returned home!