ConventionSouth

JUN 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ J U N E 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 34 SOUTHERN FOODIE DESTINATIONS horticulturists, nutritionists, writers, cookbook authors, breweries, distilleries and wineries. "There is a growing consumer base that is educated and looking for better food," Terrazas said. "San Antonio has quickly become a culi- nary destination and one major thrust amid this gastronomic explosion is culinary medicine and an increased mindfulness about what we put into our bodies." Off the Beaten Path While groups are seeking more locally sourced options and interactive experiences from destinations, they are also looking for unique opportunities that might otherwise fly under the radar. The South Carolina Pecan Trail is one example. Using a passport as a guide, groups can experience the flavors of the city of Florence, including pecan pie martinis, goat cheese and pecan salad, pecan-encrusted grouper and White Russian pecan pie. As the hub of the South Carolina Pecan Trail, Florence highlights more than 20 local restaurants featuring pecans in their dishes, making the concept of progressive dinners simple. Groups can use the Pecan Trail passport to choose restaurants for each course, collect stamps and earn prizes along the way. Tours of wineries and distilleries are popular go-to options for today's groups. Located just outside of Austin in Texas Hill Country, the Duchman Family Winery provides a remote setting for group culinary outings. The expan- sive property is home to vineyards, a shaded Recipe: Local Motive Pecan Pesto • 1/3 cup pecan pieces • 3 garlic cloves • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil • salt to taste Directions 1. Add pecan pieces and garlic cloves to a food processor and chop. 2. Add basil leaves and chop. 3. Add Parmesan cheese and process. 4. Slowly add olive oil until incorporated. 5. Salt to taste n (From The Southern Pecan Trail) During the prohibition era, rum was regularly smuggled into Key West, often from Cuba. So, when Chef Paul Menta, who has owned and operated several Key West restaurants, decided to begin distilling rum, he traveled to Cuba to taste-test his products with the island's legendary rum makers. Not only did he receive adulation for his rum, which is uniquely created using Florida white-sugar cane, a six-step distilling process and salt- cured barrels, he also learned how to create a delicious mojito using fresh local ingredients. Menta explained his passion for distilling rum during my recent visit to Key West, where I had the opportunity to tour the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery and taste the various varieties of rum made onsite. I also took part in a mojito-making class, which can be arranged for private groups of six or more participants. This is one of the curated group experiences offered through the Gates Hotel Key West, a property specializing in hosting small corporate gatherings and incentive travelers. Led by Paul's wife, Crystal, the class was informative and fun and we all enjoyed our tasty hand-made beverage as well as a sample kit for making our own mojitos at home – quite the souvenir! The distillery, which Menta opened in 2013, is also full of interesting and nostalgic décor. Housed in an old saloon built around 1900, that became a Coca-Cola bottling factory in 1903, it pays tribute to the Key's residents who illegally distilled alcohol during America's prohibition era with mug shots and artifacts from that time. n Mixing Up Mojitos By Marcia Bradford Site Visit:

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