Tennessee Flavors

Key lime pie from Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant.
Key lime pie by Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant.

This is my first blog post on Bobbing For Apples and I thought of no better way to get the wheels in motion than by writing about an event I went to last night here in Nashville called Tennessee Flavors.

Got to dress that pizza chef!
A real balsamic dressing in action!

In its fourth year, Flavors is a way of coaxing the locals out to the Nashville School of Culinary Arts and serving them up a range of interesting local produce from restaurants and artisans around town. The money raised from ticket prices feeds right back into the School, and it’s a great way to showcase what the food community is doing here in Tennessee, particularly Nashville.

Fresh tomato and goats cheese on crusty baguette.
Fresh tomato and goats cheese on crusty baguette.

Dietician and fellow food blogger Karman Meyer of The Nutrition Adventure kindly brought me along as her plus one. Karman and I have recently collaborated on an exciting foodie video project that I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon.

Handmade pasta by the boys at
Handmade pasta by the boys at Nicoletto’s Pasta Company.

There were 40 + stalls at Flavors and boy did we get stuck into some great food. I’m living out of a suitcase right now and have only been in Nashville a little over a month, so I’m fairly new to the local food scene. Although I’m not going to pretend I haven’t been relentlessly searching for the best cup of coffee in town (i’m looking at you Bongo Java!), or that I might just be in love with fried chicken (Monells – right?!). After last night I can tell you it’s a rockin’ scene.

Vanilla bean meringue with espresso cremeux, candied hazelnuts and goat's milk caramel by Etch Restaurant.
Vanilla bean meringue with espresso cremeux, candied hazelnuts and goat’s milk caramel by Etch Restaurant.

A few particular dishes stood out for me and I’m just going to say one word here – SWEETS. Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant were giving out samples of their tasty key lime pie, which had a sticky, nutty base and just the right amount of lime. Staying firmly on the sticky path, Etch restaurant offered up a gorgeous looking vanilla bean meringue with goats milk caramel, and it didn’t take much convincing (these bad boys were popular) to get stuck into one of Padrino’s fresh fruit popsicles. Ok, so I MAY have had two. The coconut pop was heavy on either the coconut pulp or the flesh, and it was perfect.

Coconut popsicle by Padrino's Pops.
Coconut popsicle by Padrino’s Pops.

I can’t say the word sweet in Nashville and not mention the Goo Goo Cluster (I just like saying Goo Goo really). The Goo Goo is a bit of a Nashville institution, and one hell of a chocolate-covered marshmallow mess! I tried one of their newest flavors – dark chocolate, pistachio and dried cherry.

The Goo Goo!
The Goo Goo!

Now I’m not much of a brussels sprout fan but I tried an amazing combination of pan-fried sprouts, sunchoke fries (a type of Jerusalem artichoke), local bacon and paprika aioli. Sigh. I went back for more. Other notable tasters include the baby kale caesar salad at the Wholefoods stall, tiny beef brisket tacos from Puckett’s (I was impressed by the craftsmanship of the tiny taco!), and apparently the pulled pork with avocado mousse slider from Germantown Cafe (I couldn’t quite fit this one in).

Farro, red beet and goats cheese salad.
Farro, red beet and goats cheese salad.

I also had the pleasure of picking up the first issue of Edible Nashville magazine – hot off the press. The beautiful cover shot of a bunch of carrots by Nashville photographer Mark Boughton was enough to draw me in. I’ve had a little flip through since last night – it’s good readin’!

The first issue of Edible Nashville magazine.
The first issue of Edible Nashville magazine.

All-in-all I walked out  feeling content and super lucky I’d had a chance to try so much interesting food. I had my fingers crossed that food wastage from the night would be minimal. Well, fingers crossed on one hand… I had a second piece of key lime pie in the other.

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