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US: Florence, SC – Go Nuts for Pecans in Florence and Snag some Free Swag

April is National Pecan month so why not celebrate by following a culinary trail dedicated to the pecan.

Julie Belle's - White Russian Pecan PieFlorence is home to the South Carolina Pecan Trail, showcasing 17 local restaurants and specialty shops offering pecan dishes or products, putting pecans in the spotlight. From pecan-encrusted grouper to pecan pie martinis, those venturing on the trail will experience a variety of originality.Rebel Pie - Danish Pizza

Pick up a passport at the visitors center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, or any of the participating restaurants to start the journey. Earn a stamp in the passport by feasting on the featured pecan item at each establishment.

Pecan Pie Martini - Victors

Return your passport to the Visitors Center in person or by mail for some sweet Pecan Trail swag. Show up with four stamps, and receive a charming metal nutcracker. Eight stamps will get you a drawstring bag and the nutcracker. Present a fully stamped passport and  walk away with a T-shirt, drawstring bag and the nutcracker. SC Pecan Trail

 

Get your stamps and enjoy tasty pecan offerings at these restaurants and specialty shops:

Block and Vino: Seasonal praline pecan cheesecake; candied pecan brie-stuffed chicken

Clay Pot Coffee Shop: Signature BIG cookie: Southern Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookie

Dolce Vita: Double chocolate chip pecan muffin

Freeman’s Bakery: Assortment of baked goods, including cakes, Danish pastries

Julian Belle’s: White Russian pecan pie

The Library: Bourbon pecan pie

Rebel Pie Wood-fired Pizza: Danish pizza

Red Bone Alley: Chicken salad with pecans; apple crisp; chocolate chip cookie pie

Seminar Brewing: Pecans Gone Wild smoked brown ale

Struttin’ Turkey: Turkey salad with cranberries and pecans

Top Hat Special-Teas: Top Hat Pecan Scones

Town Hall: Braised oxtail ravioli, local sweet potato puree, espelette-spiced pecans and sage oil

Tubb’s Shrimp and Fish Co.: Sweet potato cheesecake

Venus Restaurant and Catering: Pecan (Belgian) waffle, Southern pecan pancakes

Victors: Pecan pie martini

Wholly Smokin’: Goat cheese salad, features warm goat cheese patty encrusted with local pecans

Young Plantations: Variety of flavored pecans

Location: Visitor Information Center, 3290 W. Radio Drive, Florence Center Upper Level, Florence, SC 29501
Time: Daily 9am – 5pm
Tel: 800-325-9005
visitflo.com

Belgium: Farm to Table

Michelin listed Ghent restaurant t’Pakhuis (www.pakhuis.be) takes the concept of farm right to table so seriously that they bought the farm – in Bresse, France. So now they breed and serve famous and flavourful Bresse chickens, guinea fowl, Hampshire down lambs, and Bayeux pigs. From home in Belgium, they get special tomatoes, their herbs, and even “lost and forgotten” vegetables

Located in a former ironworks factory with painted cast-iron pillars and a soaring wrought-iron balcony now filled with light from the huge roof skylight, the noisy chattering happy diners, both inside and out might be enjoying the beers and fancy cocktails at the bar or on the large terrace. In keeping with it’s slick metallic theme, it has the coolest bathroom lock I’ve ever encountered and I challenge you to try to turn on the tap without having to ask!
pakhuisBelgium

And the food – my liver screamed for mercy but my mouth was bathed in smiles. Though you could start with  a lighter lobster soup or beef carpaccio, if you dare, the foie gras plate had the most generous hunk of silky foie we have ever encountered accompanied by sage apple cream and dates. Had I stopped there, it would have been a perfect dinner.

But yet we ventured on to the grilled duck breast in pea cream with baby veggies and mashies that were so smoothly whipped that they could have been served for a dessert sorbet. The asparagus risotto with lemon butter was so yummy, it alone could turn me into a vegetarian.

We could have ended the meal with a locally favorite flavor, gingerbread, in cheesecake with vanilla sauce or gone lightly with some sorbets, but we took it to the max with a silky creme brûlée. Sigh.