Culinary Event Aims to Lure Tourists to Blackbelt


By Lisa Blackwell

City and tourism officials cook up a new promotion to lure tourists to the black belt region.

Mayor Todd Strange and Alabama Black Belt Adventures announced the first in a series of Food and Wine Experiences to be held in Montgomery.

Black Belt Adventures promotes outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.

Now they’re hoping this event will showcase the game in the area and give hunter’s wives an alternative activity.

Renaissance Hotel’s Executive Chef, says he has a menu that will please a hunter’s pallet.

John Melton, Executive Chef, says, “We’re going to be doing a seared duck breast with persimmon jam and local grits, for our main course we’re going to be doing a cornbread and cranberry stuffed quail with wilted baby mustard greens and bacon vinaigrette.”

He’s going to be cooking up dinner in front of an audience of around sixty people. All the food featured will be local and will be served with a wine pairing.

“It’s something that a wing shooter might come to the black belt region and go on a dove shoot and also a quail shoot,” said Melton.

The whole dining experience will be held in a theater like setting inside the Renaissance Convention Center where people can see the food prepared, taste it and walk away with a little something extra.

“We’ll be distributing the recipes so people can come and go a hunt in the black belt, come to the cooking school and take the recipes home and prepare the dishes themselves,” said Melton.

Mayor Strange says thousands of people travel to the region to hunt every year.

“This culinary experience that we will be offering six times over the next several months is just one additional piece to that in addition to trying to capture and brand and to own being the gateway to the black belt adventures,” said Strange.

And while they’re hoping hunter’s and their wives will come for the game, they know they’ll stay for dessert.

“For our final course we’ll be doing pumpkin cheesecake with pecan powder and cinnamon ice cream,” said Melton.

The first session will be held Thursday, October 14th from 6:30 to 9PM.
Seating is limited to 50 tickets at $125 per person.

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

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