Monday, May 14, 2012

Scuppernong Wine on the Beach

Have you ever heard of scuppernong wine? The scuppernong is a kind of muscadine grape native to North Carolina, named for the Scuppernong River and has been grown and cultivated there since the 17th century. The warm climate and sandy soil is perfect for this delicious grape, which is the state fruit of North Carolina.

In 1851 Calvin Henderson Wiley noted* that there were no less than five kinds of scuppernong grapes - black, green, purple, red and white, but that the white ones were the real, genuine scuppernongs. Wiley quotes a Southern journalist (visiting from Alabama) as writing "he who never ate Scuppernong grapes perfectly matured, has no idea of God's blessing, bounty and goodness in the grape 'line.' Such a grape was never dreamed of in Madeira or sunny Italy; the south of France has nothing to be compared with it; Andalusia has nothing so sweet, so rich, so positively superior to all other productions of the vine."

Well, that sounds really good, doesn't it? So let's all go to North Carolina, and get ourselves some fresh, delectable scuppernongs. What shall we make with them? How about some homemade wine, or jelly - or even a scuppernong pie. Fortunately I have a cookbook called America Cooks, on hand - from the 1949, it covers every state and gives recipes for all manner of local dishes. Let's turn to the North Carolina chapter, and try these recipes:

North Carolina Scuppernong Pie

Beat 2 eggs with 1 cup of sugar, add a tablespoon of butter and 2 cups of scuppernong grapes. Bake in a pastry shell with a lattice top. When done, sprinkle with sugar and a little nutmeg. Serve with hard sauce.

Scuppernong Syllabub

Beat 1 cup of heavy cream, adding 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar as you beat, Carefully stir in 1/4 cup of scuppernong wine into the beaten cream and serve in sherbet glasses with cake on the side. For Tipsy Cake, soak some sponge cake in scuppernong wine and pile the syllabub on top. Decorate with split blanched almonds.

Beautiful Kure Beach, North Carolina
We'll want to stay near one of North Carolina's wonderful beaches, I think. They are every bit as delightful as these grapes - in fact, they are to ordinary coastlines what the scuppernong is to an everyday grape you get at the local grocery store.

You can Search Kure Beach Real Estate & Homes to find the perfect getaway home on the beach, a place where you can come back after a glorious day of swimming, sailing or just lying on the beach reading a good book. And then you can enjoy a nice glass of real North Carolina scuppernong wine as you look out over the ocean.  I love this place on the right, which features your very own lighthouse - have a look and see the perfect place to have your scuppernong delights along with a beautiful beach sunset.

*In The North Carolina Reader (1851)

1 comment:

Marcheline said...

My mom's side of the family is from NC, and I can testify to the yumminess of the scuppernong grapes. That tipsy cake with syllabub sounds delicious, y'all!

The closest thing I've found to the taste of scuppernong here in NY is Barefoot Wine's "Moscato" white. Very similar, very yummy!