Southern cuisine is well known for characteristic comfort aesthetics. Traditional meals include pan-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and rich creamy gravies, black-eyed peas, cornbread and a variety of heavy desserts. Barbecue and grilled foods along with seafood are also popular along with super hot chili infusions. The new southern cuisine has expanded to include more upscale versions of the traditional dishes with a new age twist. I decided that it was important to include some of the more popular wine pairings that work well with southern cuisine
Smoky Shrimp and Grits
Traditional southern cooks include copious amounts of cheddar and butter with their grits. Recent amendments to the old style include decreases in butter and cheddar and the addition of spinach for a lighter meal offering and alteration in presentation. This dish is best when paired with a Chardonnay.
White chicken breast is coated with whole-wheat flour and the addition of andouille sausage. This reduces the heavy texture of this traditional southern dish and allows for a more modern presentation of an old favorite. The French term Etouffee means to braise, stew or smother, as in southern gravy. It is best when paired with a Pinot Noir wine selection.
Fried Green Tomato BLTs
The traditional bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich is graced with southern style cornmeal fried green tomatoes. Not much could be done to alter this southern classic because it needs no changes to be exquisite. It is best when paired with a Sauvignon Blanc wine selection.
Ham Steak with Redeye Gravy
The redeye gravy gets its unique flavor from the infusion of coffee. The addition of jalapenos and sweet pickled peppers gives it a traditional southern kick for those who like it on the spicy side. This food is best when paired with a Syrah wine selection.
Southern cuisine has undergone a series of changes with the intervention of modern chefs who have a strong connection with the foods but also have a strong desire to incorporate their personal preferences for integration of aspects of the upscale gourmet trends observed in other cultures and global cuisines. The result has been a magnificent melding and transformation of southern staples into a new age. While there is no real substitute for down home southern cooking, there is a place for the modern forms that are making their appearance in more upscale fine dining venues. The results have been positive and we’re looking forward to more.