Chocolate, the fallback dessert ingredient for many young chefs, doesn’t fare well in the Lowcountry. “It’s hot down here,” Kelly Wilson, an instructor at Trident Tech’s Culinary Institute of Charleston, this week explained during an American Culinary Federation regional conference session dedicated to regional pastry.
“In terms of climate, that dictates what you can make and what you can store,” Wilson said.
But Wilson urged her audience to think beyond chocolate for other reasons, too: While chocolate has a long central American history (and shorter European history), a bevy of other ingredients are more closely tied to the Native American, African, British and French cultures that are reflected in traditional Charleston foodways. Chefs who reflexively localize their savories sometimes forget about fortified wine, black walnuts, rice, sweet potatoes and coconuts when planning last courses, Wilson suggested. Continue reading