Maggie Valley is 12.86 miles from Cherokee, although it is actually 16 miles if you follow the US-19 route in your car. That makes it close enough to have a rich array of historical and cultural delights; including some fine authentic mountain food.
The question is, which are the top 5 authentic mountain foods you should try while enjoying these fantastic Maggie Valley attractions?
As the name suggests this is ham which has been smoked and then dried in massive salt barrels. The salt helps to preserve the food for a long time; allowing the meat to be used sparingly for many weeks.
Fried Rainbow Trout
Part of the fun of having trout used to be catching it. Fortunately, that’s not something that you have to do today! It’s done properly by leaving the skin on as this improves the flavor.
It’s worth noting that this is not an oily fish, its flavor is distinctly un-fish like. This dish is usually served with potatoes and vegetables; making a fulfilling and delicious meal.
Collards With Bacon
Collard greens grow exceptionally well on the mountain hillsides. This makes them an obvious choice for any meal. The collard leaves are sliced on each side of the central rib.
Separately bacon is usually cooked separately. You’ll then have onion, chicken broth, cider vinegar and some Tabasco sauce in a pan. The split collard greens are added and the whole mixture will simmer for 1 hour. This makes the collard greens soft enough to eat but still have enough of a tang for you to enjoy them.
Of course, you don’t need to do the cooking, just the enjoying.
Cornbread is actually the perfect accompaniment to collards with bacon. It is traditional and very satisfying. Of course, the best Maggie Valley restaurants will make their own cornbread; you’ll be guaranteed to taste the difference between genuine mountain cornbreads and those made elsewhere.
The 5th food that you have to try is hominy. It is actually made from dried corn which is then soaked in a dilute solution of lye. After soaking the maize is washed and you’ll notice that it’s not at all sticky.
Then it just needs to be cooked to create a rice-like dish, a staple part of the mountain diet not so many years ago.
There is no doubt there are plenty of places to eat in the mountains but there are not that many which will give you the authentic mountain food taste. You need to find a restaurant that offers genuine home cooking, such as Butts on the Creek, or County Vittles restaurant, or even Pop’s Place.
Don’t forget that many of these dishes were created out of necessity during the Great Depression, they may not always have tasted as good as they do today! Check out one of these fantastic restaurants and experience the food that will turn you into a mountain man, (or woman).