Enjoy art, history, heritage and garden talks paired with seasonal menus and expertly curated wines and champagnes
Blenheim Palace and its official catering partner Searcys have unveiled a programme of fun and informative 'Supper Clubs' in the Orangery Restaurant which overlooks the Duke of Marlborough's private Italian Garden. Evening events on selected dates from March to October cover topics from J M W Turner and horticulture to Winston Churchill and the work of a world-renowned chocolatier and celebrity chef. Each supper includes a talk from a guest speaker and a specially selected menu tailored to the topic of interest.
Nothing says Southern hospitality quite like Southern comfort food and the Raleigh area dishes up some of the best. What about non-meat specialities though? Yes, absolutely - read on!
Fried green tomatoes
This side dish features unripe tomatoes washed in egg and buttermilk, coated in cornmeal and fried to perfection. Served as an app or tangy entree, fried green tomatoes continue to appear on tables across the South—and Raleigh offers some of the best. Try them at The Pit or Tobacco Road Sports Café. You could also sample them at Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar.
Sweet potato pie
Sweet, satisfying, healthy and versatile. There's no sweeter spot to try sweet potato pie than Slice Pie Company, whose pie crust earned them a highly-sought blue ribbon award once upon a time at the N.C. State Fair. Try a different take on this Southern classic with the sweet potato pie croissant at lucettegrace. However you slice it, it's heaven on a plate.
This popular hors d'oeuvre has been making appearances at family reunions, cookouts and parties for generations. Try devilled eggs as an appetiser at The Oak, or as a simple side with a barbecue dinner at The Q Shack at North Hills. Sample a different take on this traditional dish with Korean deviled eggs at the celebrated bu•ku in Raleigh, or take a walk on the wild side and try the Voodoo deviled eggs at Lucky 32 in Cary.
Southerners enjoy this cheese on crackers, in a grilled cheese sandwich, added to devilled eggs or mixed into grits. Try a classic grilled pimento and cheese sandwich at Community Deli or sample this signature specialty at Relish Craft Kitchen & Bourbon Bar with pimento cheese and homemade crackers or pimento cheese fritters with pepper jelly appetisers.
Summertime in Raleigh means fresh peach cobbler.As a leading state in peach production, go straight to the source at the State Farmer's Market Restaurant, where the peach cobbler is the perfect combination of sweet, tangy fruit, mild spices and a buttery, baked crust. For a French twist on this Southern classic, stop by Saint Jacques French Cuisine in North Raleigh and sample the peach cobbler with lavender ice cream.
Haven't tried grits yet? This popular corn-based Southern side dish is not to be missed. Whether you're trying grits for the first time or simply looking to start your day off right, stop by Big Ed's City Market Restaurant downtown. Not that grits are just for breakfast though. Popular grit dishes are popping up on brunch, lunch and dinner menus . Grab a reservation at the celebrated NOFO @ The Pig in Raleigh's Five Points neighbourhood and try the crowd-pleasing shrimp and grits. Housed in a restored Piggly Wiggly grocery store building, this combination café, food market and gift shop not only offers delectable southern fare, but also features an eclectic Southern gift shop and food market.
Calling all gin and cake lovers - Mrs Cuthbert’s is a new range of British Gin Liqueurs. The inspiration came from one of the founder’s late Aunt Dorothy, aka Mrs Cuthbert. Born and bred in Yorkshire, Dorothy was a frugal home-baker, typical of the 1940s and 1950s era. She was also partial to gin and liked to garnish her G&Ts with a cake or pudding ingredient, creating bespoke cocktails.
The first flavours in the range include: Mrs Cuthbert’s Parma Violet - Mrs Cuthbert’s Rhubarb & Custard Crumble - Mrs Cuthbert’s Lemon Drizzle - Mrs Cuthbert’s Cherry Bakewell. Serve with tonic or prosecco. Don't they all sound fantastic?
Mrs Cuthbert’s Gin Liqueurs are bottled at the Yarm Distillery in North Yorkshire. They come in 50cl bottles, have an ABV of 20% and RRSP of £13.99. Available from Amazon; B&M stores; thedrinkshop.com; local retailers, pubs & bars
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. I write for national and regional papers and magazines. See my website gillypickup.co.uk