Chefs at The Cliffs Discuss Seasonal Produce
As the sweet smell of pumpkin spice fills the air, this can only mean one thing –– autumn has arrived in the Carolinas! And what better way to enjoy the spirit of the season than by gathering around your dining room table for a home-cooked meal.
Now that autumn is finally here, let’s take a look at some of the most popular seasonal produce ingredients used by our culinary experts during this harvest season.
Seasonal Produce Available in The Carolinas
Throughout the year, the Blue Ridge Mountains’ fertile land and cool mountain air work in harmony to create an environment that is perfect to grow a wide selection of fruits and vegetables. This allows our chefs to prepare delicious meals from fresh, local ingredients.
We talked to a few of our chefs to find out more about their favorite ingredients to use as they prepare our menus at The Cliffs. As our chefs put it, seasonal produce is always at its peak in flavor, quality, and texture –– and they accept nothing less than the quality only sustainable or organic seasonal produce can provide. Here are a few of their favorite ingredients to use in the kitchen:
Locally Grown Apples
Nothing tastes of fall like a bite of a crisp apple picked fresh from the local orchard. During the fall months, you’ll have a large variety of apples to choose from in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Some of the most common include Honeycrisp, Gold Rush, Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, and Granny Smith.
Among one of the most versatile fruits, apples can be prepared in many ways and are sure to become a staple in your kitchen this season. They can be used to make cider, cook pork, add to salads, and use in many baked good recipes, such as pies, tarts, and doughnuts.
Native Muscadine Grapes
Known as North Carolina’s state fruit, muscadine grapes can be easily found at local farmers’ markets and local vineyards in the region. The growing season lasts from August until early October and many vineyards and wineries even allow visitors to pick their own. These grapes make great wines, jams, pies, cakes, and even ice cream.
Given the region’s temperate climate, Asian pears are another seasonal produce item that can be incorporated into your cooking. While often reaching their peak in September and October, they can be used to make jams and jellies that will last you well into the winter months. Similar to apples, Asian pears are also excellent ingredients for baked goods too.
Winter squashes come in many shapes and sizes, giving you plenty of choices when it comes to creating delicious dishes this season. Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, and Hubbards squashes are all varieties that do well in North Carolina during the fall months. When paired with onion, nuts, cheese, and greens, such as kale, spinach, and collards, they can make a healthy and delicious combination of flavors.
Carrots, beets, and radishes are a few of the common root vegetables that can be harvested in the autumn. These plants prefer cooler temperatures to grow and develop their rich flavors. You can use root varieties in juices, salads, side dishes, and more to showcase their natural flavor.
Seasonal Kitchen Tips from Our Chefs:
- To get the freshest ingredients, we recommend visiting your local farmers’ markets in the area. You can also visit some farms directly to purchase ingredients there.
- Take some time to talk to the farmers as they can direct you towards the best ingredients in their current harvest.
- Before you purchase, ask if they are willing to allow you to taste the products before buying to ensure the flavors are right for you.
- To learn how to prepare the seasonal produce, dine at your club’s restaurant where our chefs are sure to deliver farm-to-table recipes that include this season’s bounty of fall flavors.
- The Carolinas boast farm-to-table restaurants –– here you can find inspiration for recipes in your own kitchen.
- Use Farm to Table cookbooks as a resource to learn new techniques to cook and prepare seasonal ingredients.
New Culinary Creations at The Cliffs
The chefs in our kitchens are committed to delivering an exceptional dining experience. One of their favorite aspects of working in our kitchens is that they are not limited to preparing only one style of food, but rather have the freedom to prepare creative dishes from the freshest, local ingredients. This inspires them to look for ways to improve our menus, offering a fresh twist on Southern classics made with seasonal produce.
One of the new dishes to expect this fall is a roasted root vegetable salad. Dressed with a vinaigrette made with Lusty Monk Mustard, which is made locally in Asheville, this seasonal salad is both hearty and flavorful.
Another way we are expanding our menus is by offering vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based dishes. This fall, our chefs are creating a seasonal flatbread that begins with a crust that is gluten-free and is made with fresh sweet potato.
In our kitchens, we utilize “impossible meat”, or vegan meat, to make different meatballs and sausages offered in some of our dishes. We also have vegan burgers, seasonal, meat-free pasta dishes, with gluten-free pizza crusts, buns, and bread available too.
Something sweet to sip on
Pair your meal with one of our many Southern Cocktail creations from our expert bartenders. Each is inspired by one of our seven communities at The Cliffs.
Our Culinary Experience at The Cliffs
Our acclaimed chefs recognize that food has the ability to bring communities together. For this reason, they are always looking for new ways to unify our seven communities through the art of fine dining.
One of the ways our culinary experience at The Cliffs accomplishes this is through specialty cooking courses hosted by our chefs. During these classes, members learn basic kitchen skills, cooking methods, and are given the opportunity to expand their taste profiles. It is not uncommon for our members to leave our classes feeling deeply inspired to experiment with their own recipes.
Enjoy Gourmet Dining at The Cliffs
Want to experience our seasonal kitchen for yourself? Become a part of our exclusive luxury community in the Carolinas and enjoy fine dining, at its finest. Browse our available properties and discover your perfect home at The Cliffs.
If you need guidance from a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.