Monday, May 24, 2010

Mississippi Inaugurates New Culinary Trail

By Hanna Raskin



Photo Source: Seriouseats, Flickr

Mississippians have always known where to pick the plumpest blackberries and dine on the freshest catfish, but officials say a pair of new itineraries will help visitors find the state's choicest edible experiences.

Mississippi this month added culinary and agritourism trails to its tourism web site, showcasing nearly 200 restaurants, farmers markets, farms and fruit stands across the state. According to Sandy Bynum, bureau manager for Mississippi's tourism division, the project was designed partly in response to the current field-to-table craze.   "It's nouveau for some places, but we've always been close to our farms," Bynum says. "We've done this for years. But the trails are a good way for people to partake of our bounty."

The culinary trail, which weaves historical information with restaurant recommendations culled from local economic development offices, makes the expected stops at institutions like Lusco's in Greenwood and The Blue and White Restaurant in Tunica. But the trail also detours to lesser-known destinations, including Lee Hong Grocery in Louise. One of the last remaining businesses in a Delta town that tried to lure Chinese-born workers to its cotton fields after slavery was abolished, Lee Hong "is famous around these parts for its mouth-watering Hoover sauce."

The guide also points culinary tourists to Chicken Supreme in Ripley, a pork skin and cracklings factory in Carthage and a Pass Christian pub that serves oyster "nachos" topped with jalapenos, bacon and cheddar cheese.

Bynum describes the trail, which she calls a "museum without walls", as a way to prod tourists off the interstates and into Mississippi's smaller communities.
So has Bynum made all 80 stops on the culinary trail? "Well, no, I've not," she admits. "But if you looked at me you could tell I've been to a lot of them." 

Source: Slash Food

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