I've spent time among the flowers and birds of a well-planned garden, being graciously chauffeured through the baffling streets of Charlotte and enjoyed every moment of my time. Perhaps most wonderful of all I have been able to see a bit of Charlotte through its food.
Monday was a full day of food exploration and enjoyment. We started the day with homemade pancakes similar to these and then hit the roads - which as I mentioned are utterly confusing - for a full day of food.
First stop was Amelie's French Bakery at Carmel Commons. Amelie's is a well-regarded local chain celebrating French pastry and unique design with their community oriented space. Each location has its own kitchen for maximum freshness. The baked goods were varied, beautiful and the atmosphere was modern, whimsical and welcoming.
Next up, Davidson Chocolate Co. in the Dilworth neighborhood. They are a teeny chocolatier with elegant creations. Most of their chocolates were available in both dark and milk chocolate which was a nice option. Among their offerings are truffles, hand-dipped cut ganache pieces as well as molded bonbons. The store was very quiet and I couldn't find out what brand of chocolate they used or other details regarding ingredients. Cute shop, but certainly not top on my list. Worth a try if you need a gift. The Hot Chili and Hazelnut Truffles were both light on flavor and a bit firm for my taste.
|Oops! Ate all of these before I got to my camera.|
A stroll around Pasta & Provisions was necessary and the aroma of garlic made me incredibly hungry. The grocery portion of the store reminded me of Arlington, VA's own Italian Store. Obviously, that is meant as a great compliment.
On the way home we stopped for lunch at Cajun Yard Dog where my constant craving for deep fried catfish and potato salad was temporarily sated. Thumbs up for taste, service and value.
In the afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with local chef, Bill Bigham. Chef Bigham works as a personal chef and teacher in the Charlotte area having completed a culinary course at Johnson and Wales. His enthusiasm and insight regarding the Charlotte food culture was both refreshing and encouraging.
We met Chef Bigham at Dean & Deluca, always a lovely experience. I was glad to see their locally sourced pastries front and center.
Finally, day one ended with dinner which I had the privilege of making for my hosts and some of their family members. Roasted asparagus, salmon, risotto, salad and chocolate coated peanut butter cookies were on the menu.
Come back tomorrow for Day 2 which will include my favorite chocolatier in Charlotte and a few more highlights.