Defined by an abundance of fresh seafood and produce, grain-producing marshlands and a melting pot of Spanish/French/West African culture, Southern cuisine is soul-warming comfort food at its best. Charleston and New Orleans are at the top of my short list for food-forward destinations, cities whose mere mention conjures up the smell of crab and shrimp sautéing in a pan. But don't stop your culinary tour there: Nashville; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Savannah, Georgia, are all on my radar, as local chefs revisit (and revive) classic Southern recipes passed through the generations. —Andrew Zimmern.

Food & Wine

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