AUTUMN FOOTBALL FEAST IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Virginia Tech, A Mano Primitivo, Grilled Feta Tenderloin, Sugarleaf Vineyards, Charlotte Russe, Marshall Tucker Band
By Doc Lawrence
CLEMSON, SC—Traveling down the Blue Ridge Mountains from Highlands, the nearby North Carolina resort town to Clemson is a visual adventure. The natural beauty is stunning with brilliant fall foliage equal to a Monet painting. Combined with the fresh air, the appetite is stimulated prompting a mighty thirst for an eye-opening drink and some tasty casual food. The destination was the tailgating area on Clemson University’s campus, a necessary step for a friendly traveler looking for nourishment.
It’s game day down south with Clemson facing Virginia Tech: Who needs football when there is great food, wines, cocktails and craft beer?
The food was uniformly delicious, but one dish was a show stealer: Grilled thinly sliced tenderloin of beef filet with garlic and oregano and topped with flakes of Feta Cheese. The wine was a selection by an engineer, a Clemson grad, A Mano Primitivo (2010), a delight from the southeast of Italy made from the grape with DNA identical to California Zinfandel. The pairing was stunning.
I had an ample serving accompanied by flutes of J Vineyards Russian River Valley Vintage Brut, a California sparkling wine.
Along the way, memories are made during the tailgating ritual. After doing this for many years, I have believe that these pre-game feasts display America at her best. Goodwill, joy and sharing dominate, even in the midst of often-heated rivalries. Mature folks love to cook, uncork, pour and share, even with a stranger from Atlanta whose football loyalties may well be different. The chance to make new friends is a blessing. A healthy appetite, a willingness to try new beverages and a mind that is open leads to new possibilities.
NOTE: This week is dedicated to “The Jack,” the Jack Daniel’s 2012 International Barbecue Competition In Lynchburg, Tennessee. I’ll be there serving as a judge, making new friends and reuniting with so many participants from across America and other countries.