The stereotype of Southern food is slow-cooked and tradition-bound. F&W's Grace Parisi reinvents classic dishes, while F&W's Ray Isle names the best matches from Southern winemakers in Napa and the South's top wine hangouts.
In this article
Pair With: Chardonnay
Old-school Southern cooks prepare grits with an abundance of butter and cheddar. To make the dish less heavy, Grace cuts back on the cheese, drops the butter altogether and adds spinach.
Pair With: Pinot Noir
Étouffée—from the French word for smother, stew or braise—is a classic Cajun dish of shellfish (or sometimes chicken) served over rice. Grace uses chicken breast, whole wheat flour and only three ounces of andouille sausage to make the recipe lighter.
Pair With: Sauvignon Blanc
This is a brilliant marriage of two classics: cornmeal-dusted green tomatoes and a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
Pair With: Syrah
Coffee is the key ingredient in redeye gravy—hence the name. Grace adds a hint of it here to give the sauce its characteristic depth, along with Peppadews (sweet pickled peppers) and jalapeños.
Updating Classic Southern Cocktails
From cocktail king Greg Best of Atlanta's Holeman & Finch, new versions of two classics.
Wine Pros' Top Hangouts
Looking for a fabulous wine spot? Follow these three Southern wine importers.
1. Open Eye Café; Carrboro, NC
"One of the South's best coffee shops, where you can also have a bottle of good Côtes-du-Rhône, or maybe a Savennières." —Jon-David Headrick, Jon-David Headrick Selections; Asheville, NC
2. Baan Sawan; Columbia, SC
"This strip-mall-ish Thai restaurant has an incredibly surprising wine list." —Harry Root, Grassroots Wine; North Charleston, SC
3. Palladio at Barboursville Vineyards; Barboursville, VA
"The restaurant is fabulous, plus I think Barboursville ranks in the top six wineries in America." —Bartholomew Broadbent, Broadbent Selections; Charlottesville, VA