Third Thursday Wine and Chocolate Event at Louisville Stoneware

Last week, in my HerKentucky Summer Fun List for Louisville, I suggested that y'all visit Old 502 Winery and Louisville Stoneware. This Thursday, June 19, there's a free tasting event at the Stoneware factory that involves their brand new event space, Old 502 wines, and Cellar Door Chocolates.

I'm going to let that sink in for a minute.

Stoneware, wine, and chocolate. 

All Kentucky Proud. At a free event.

I've heard amazing things about Old 502's Bourbon Barrel Red. I can't wait to try it, along with "Bore Dough", "Bach's Wine" and the dessert wine "After Choc." I mean, those names alone are reason enough to sip. 

The selections from Cellar Door look amazing, too. I never met a chocolate I didn't like.

I always look forward to any opportunity to check out the Stoneware Showroom. There's always a gorgeous new piece of pottery displayed in a fun manner.

Head out to Stoneware this Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for wine, chocolate and fun!


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Appalachia Proud

You know when you hear an idea that is so simple -- so brilliant -- that you can't believe somebody didn't think of it before now?

Here on HerKentucky, I've shared many stories of growing up in Appalachia. As I look back over so many essays and blog posts I've written about my Eastern Kentucky childhood, I realize that two themes have surfaced time and again: the need for a diversified economic base in Eastern Kentucky's Appalachian region and the delightful fresh-from-the-farm food that we love back home.

Sunflowers from my aunt's Floyd County garden.
I'm certainly not the only person who's noticed those two facts. But, like the old Reece's Cup commercial said, somebody finally put those two great tastes together. Yesterday, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced a new marketing initiative called Appalachia Proud: Mountains of Potential. An offshoot of the Kentucky Proud brand, Appalachia Proud will connect the dots between the area's economic needs and its amazing agricultural potential.

I am so excited to see Appalachia Proud branding on local products in and around my hometown. I can certainly attest that the best tomatoes and beans in the world are grown in Floyd County, Kentucky. I can't wait to see how these and other local products are showcased by the Appalachia Proud branding. It's been so amazing to watch the Kentucky Proud incentive transform the way food is served across the Commonwealth.  I always enjoy finding new ways to try Kentucky Proud products -- my favorite Vietnamese restaurant here in Louisville serves Pho with locally-sourced beef -- and I can't wait to see how products from the Eastern Kentucky mountains find hip new incarnations!
Tiny tomatoes in my mother's garden.
I am so impressed by the Appalachia Proud initiative. It's far more than just a brand to stick on locally-sourced products. It's a well-designed plan to effectuate real economic change in the mountains. It's a sustainable project that seeks to train a new generation of farmers and provide a long-term impact on a fragile economy. Here's hoping it blossoms!

Game Day Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Please forgive the horrid iPhone photo.
Having people over for the Big Game today?

This shrimp and grits casserole is amazingly creamy and hearty and only takes about 30 minutes to prep and cook. The shrimp comes out so tender! It's also a great way to showcase Kentucky Proud ingredients like Weisenberger Mill grits, Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese, and your favorite Western Kentucky country ham.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or other hard white cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz country ham, diced
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper (or less, to taste)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine milk and broth in saucepan; bring to a boil. Add grits and about 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan. Stir constantly, cooking about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, butter, and cream cheese. Stir in remaining ingredients; salt and pepper to taste. (I like this quite spicy, but you may want to cut down the cayenne and garlic.) Pour into greased 11x7" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until set.

There you go. Game Day ready. The Cats or Cards serving pieces are your call.
(Serving pieces via Louisville Stoneware.)