Posts Tagged ‘2014 Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville’

Covington Gourmet Sweet Potato Vodka from North Carolina is The “Best Yam Vodka” on Earth Which Makes The Best Moscow Mule on Earth!

Covington’s Sweet Potato Vodka from North Carolina is America’s Vodka. Actually, it makes every cocktail the best!


Vodkas around the world should take notice! There’s a new vodka on the horizon distilled from sweet potatoes and it is exquisite! Covington Gourmet Sweet Potato Vodka is a beautiful reflection of our proud Southern heritage and the fruits or sweet potatoes from North Carolina. Covington is actually the name of the species of sweet potatoes that make the vodka.

The wildly popular 2014 Music City Food and Wine Festival in Nashville hosts many new products on the market, especially artisan spirits. The Covington Gourmet Sweet Potato sign caught my eye and I couldn’t resist finding out more because I am passionate about artisan small batch spirits that reflect the local farmers, especially in the South.

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On the left is Mary Rich, PR and Marketing. The gentleman in the photo is Jimmy Burch’s son, Jared Burch and on the right is Elizabeth Revell, who helps with the Vodka brand and helps run Burch Farms. The owners are Jimmy Burch and Bobby Ham, who live in eastern North Carolina. They have a 7000 acre farm in Faison, NC, on the way to Wilmington, just off of I-40 where the famed, Covington Sweet Potatoes are grown.

How I drink sweet potato vodka….

Lately, I have enjoyed creating cocktails with vodka because that’s what I like! Little did I know that this gourmet vodka from North Carolina would kick my Moscow Mules in the beautiful Oggi Moscow Mule Copper Mugs way up at to the top of my cocktail list. Or, a couple of splashes over ice is another way to enjoy it. I can’t say that I have enjoyed that experience with other vodkas. You don’t even need an olive to enjoy the velvety mouthfeel and delicate creamy flavors. Keep a chilled bottle of this exceptional vodka so you can share an authentic flavor of the South with your friends.

Listed below is my favorite Moscow Mule recipe. Covington Gourmet Sweet Potato Vodka adds a rich, balanced layers of flavor that pair well with a exceptional  Bundaberg Ginger Beer that has big flavors of fresh spicy ginger and lots of bubbles. I do like to add freshly made ginger syrup to give it yet another layer of flavor and because I love ginger! A splash of fresh lime juice and mint leaves  completes this recipe for a refreshing vodka cocktail.



The Best Moscow Mule on Earth!
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • Ingredients
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Fresh, homemade Ginger Syrup (optional but I really love this addition)
  • 2 ounces Covington Gourmet Sweet Potato vodka
  • 4 to 6 ounces Bundaberg Ginger Beer
  1. In a saucepan, simmer 1 C water, 1 C sugar and 4 or 5 slices of fresh ginger until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Cool in pan and then place is a sealed container.
  3. Squeeze lime into a copper mug and drop in half lime.
  4. Fill the copper much halfway with crushed ice,
  5. Pour in the vodka and fill with cold ginger beer and a good slash of ginger syrup.
  6. Stir and serve with a lime slice and fresh mint.



11 2014

Chef Tim Love Demonstrates the Art of Burning Food at the 2014 Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville

Grab your cast iron skillet and rediscover the art of burning food without the grill. 


Big flavors come from burning or caramelizing the sugars in vegetables and meat until they are richly browned with a nutty flavor and golden color, which is a great way to pull flavor out of the simplest of foods. Chef Tim Love  demonstrates how to get the most flavors from vegetables and meats from this method of cooking.

He has been perfecting the art of his signature urban western cuisine  as chef and owner of beloved Texas restaurants, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie’s Steakhouse and Love Shack, as well as the storied White Elephant Saloon, his inspired and innovative dishes have earned critical and popular acclaim.


From “burnt” zucchini and carrots to steak and beets, caramelization deepens the flavors of just about everything. Tim poached the shrimp in burnt wood chips placed in boiling water to enhance the flavors before adding them to the skillet.

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Nathan Followill, drummer for the Kings of Leon and one of the original collaborators of the Music City Food + Wine Festival, joins Tim during the demonstration to finish up the beat and goat cheese salad along with laughter and shots of tequila.



Chef Tim shares his passion for Tennessee’s football. Check out the boots!

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You are also likely to find Chef Tim Love at the fabulous Austin Food + Wine Festival playing with fire! Be sure to check the schedule for next year!




10 2014

Chef Michael Symon Puts a Nashville Spin on Paella Perfection at the 2014 Music City Food and Wine Event

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Nashville’s Signature Dish, is the finishing touch

to Chef Michael Symon’s Paella Perfection at the Red Bud Demo for the

Music City Food + Wine Festival in Nashville 2014

Paella, the most vibrant rice dish of Spain, is making its way front and center in the culinary scene all across America. Chef Michael Symon demonstrated how to make a authentic Seafood Paella with a a touch of Nashville’s regional cuisine.

Hattie B’s Executive Chef John Lasater and friend, joins Chef Michael on stage to bring his favorite Nashville dish to add in the paella.

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Paella is a communal dish shared by friends and family in Spain. Cooking paella is a celebration of friendship, family events and love.

Cooking is all about using your hands as tools as Chef Michael demonstrates by crushing fresh tomatoes for the sofrito. Cooking can be sexy. Yep. That’s right. Use your hands! Get your “hands dirty” by immersing yourself into the dish. Feel the juicy ripe tomatoes break up into the pan. Not only is it sensual, it becomes your dish, your signature dish that you have created with your own hands to share.

IMG_8573In the pre-event article that I posted, Chef Michael told me how much he loved Nashville: the people, the combination of  music, the food scene and, of course, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. He would be celebrating his birthday while he was here for the event and would celebrate with hot chicken. As we discussed the types of paella he might prepare, I suggested a Hot Chicken Paella and I am glad  I did!


As you might know, I am a paella chef in Nashville (My Paella Travels) and having the opportunity to speak to Michael Symon in a  phone interview and then attend the  Paella Perfection demo was full-circle!

photo: Lisa Mays, Wine & Food Blogger, Paella Chef,  Chef John Lasater and Chef Michael Symon!




09 2014