You know you're food geek when the favorite part of your weekend getaway is spent in that town's local farmers' market. My destination this weekend: Charleston, South Carolina.
Charleston oozes charm. This historic port city is known for great restaurants, a vibrant arts scene, and cobblestone streets. It’s also home to (the best-ever) boiled peanuts and my good friend Rhett.
Rhett and I met Saturday morning at the Marion Square Farmers' Market. This market has everything you could want. Vendors offer produce, meat, cheese, and prepared foods (ranging from freshly popped kettle corn to hot doughnuts to Melt Charleston's tasty open-faced sandwiches). There are a few nifty arts and crafts for sale, too.
Only the size of my hotel's mini-refrigerator stopped me from over-filling my basket with incredible produce, though I did purchase a few pounds of gorgeous red rhubarb and the most fragrant strawberries I've encountered this year.
What to make when I tote my prizes home to the other Carolina? The ubiquitous strawberry-rhubarb pie? An ever-popular strawberry shortcake? A rhubarb fool, or perhaps rhubarb chutney, setting the berries aside for a straightforward jam? I'm leaning toward a rhubarb compote — the ultimate compliment to homemade vanilla ice cream — and would like to freeze the pitch-perfect berries for Rhett's Mother's Famous Strawberry-Fig Preserves in late summer.
Prying the recipe from Rhett over drinks tonight could be a tremendous challenge, however. He's been unwilling to part with it for almost 17 years, so recreating this stuff could be my big summer experiment.
Rhubarb-Strawberry Madness Post(s) to follow.