As a friend would say, it was worth every sit up.
For the second consecutive year in a row, we’ve eaten our way across the South and come up with our short list for the Tastiest Towns in the South in our February issue. We’ll profile each of the towns and reveal the ultimate Tastiest Towns in the May issue, which hits newsstands April 19th.
At a time when Southern cooking has never been more revered or nationally celebrated, it wasn’t easy to narrow down our list to a mere 10. But after a flurry of herbaceous cocktails, pork belly benders, belt busting charcuterie platters, noodle bowls, fancy tasting menus, and rowdy food festivals, our criteria came down to a few crucial details.
Which Southern destinations have serious swagger when it comes to Food as a cultural identity (a unique food or ethnicity that defines a particular Southern region); the Growth of a culinary-minded community (the influence that the culinary industry has on the local community and tourism); Hot chefs on the rise; and an Abundance of buzz-worthy food events? Where can you eat exceedingly well at a variety of price points?
Our roster includes some surprises (Greenville?!?), as well as a few no brainers (Charleston, New Orleans, and Louisville are repeats from last year). If you have passionate opinions surrounding your hometown flavors or favorite food destination (and we know you do) cast your vote for the “Tastiest Town in the South,” from January 10 to February 28 on southernliving.com/tasty or via smartphone by downloading the free Digimarc Discover app and scanning the corresponding image in the magazine. Each daily vote allows a user to be entered for a chance to win $1,500 toward a trip to the Tasty Town of his or her choice.
Introducing the Southern Living Top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South” for 2013:
Asheville, NC: This bohemian brewtopia has a buzzy scene flavored with local bounty.
Atlanta, GA: The city’s multicultural explosion makes Atlanta an essential food destination.
Austin, TX: With a posse of star chefs, there are ample opportunities to swill and chomp in style.
Charleston, SC: The city’s top chefs are moving indigenous ingredients to the center of the plate.
Durham, NC: The town boasts a mix of pioneers alongside a new generation of bootstrap cooks.
Greenville, SC: Features luscious Lowcountry cooking with a surprising international flair.
Louisville, KY: With a bourbon-infused larder, the city is experiencing a culinary renaissance.
Memphis, TN: The town’s latest riffs on soul cooking rock.
Miami, FL: The fusion flash of the ’80s has evolved into a diverse, refined eating town.
New Orleans, LA: The sultry confluence of old world and innovation maintains our adoration.