Last week I drove to the mountains of North Carolina with my BFF, Theresa, the author of the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook to teach Outlander-themed cooking classes and attend the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games with a lovely group of women (and a few husbands) with Novel Adventures.
When we arrived on Wednesday we were greeted by a wonderfully diverse group of women from all over the country. We quickly checked into our cabin and returned to the main house for cocktail hour and a cookbook signing on the lawn. Afterwards we were served a delicious farm-to-table dinner from the Mast Farm Inn.
Theresa and I each taught two cooking classes on Thursday and one on Friday. Theresa taught the “Highlands Menu” which featured modern examples of traditional Scottish Highland fare. Her class enjoyed making traditional Scottish bridies, which are a Scottish version of an empanada or hand pie, buttered leeks, a bacon and kale soup and cranachan, a raspberry and whipped cream dessert flavored with toasted oats.
My classes featured the “Ridge Menu” which made sweet-tea brined fried chicken, a delicious broccoli salad flavored with bacon, cheese and, cranberries, cream of non-toxic mushroom soup that used chantrelle mushrooms foraged by some friends in Louisiana, and a fragrant gingerbread cake served with traditional crud. All of the recipes my classes made are cookbook exclusives.
Thursday evening we went to the Calling of the Clans at the Highland Games. What I’m sure is usually a beautiful and moving ceremony, when a representative from each Clan brings his torch forward and announces his Clan is present then places his torch into a larger bonfire, was unfortunately disrupted by violent winds and sideways rain. Due to the inclement weather I was unable to get any good pictures.
Friday evening we were treated to a whisky and moonshine tasting at the main house of the inn. Where there’s good whisky you can usually find a good Scotsman too. In our case, Novel Adventures managed to wrangle Graham McTavish from the STARZ Original, Outlander to join us for the weekend. He was gracious and friendly to all of us Outlander fans.
Saturday was spent at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. We watched sheep herding, highland dancing, and highland wrestling and listened to some beautiful Celtic music.
We returned to the inn for Saturday night, which included drinks with Graham McTavish and then a delicious hog roast and more Celtic music. All in all, it was a lovely weekend! I am so grateful to Theresa of Outlander Kitchen for including me in this wonderful experience. Many thanks to Andrea, Kim and Brian of Novel Adventures for putting on such a great event and to Danielle and her wonderful staff at the Mast Farm Inn. I made some great friends from all over the country and Hawaii.