Sunday, October 7, 2007

Autumn Kickoff

Attending the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, WV is a signal that fall has started. Unlike years past though the weather was decidedly un-fall like; we weren't able to enjoy the first taste of hot cider of the season and my mother-in-law ended up toting around a sweater she didn't need. Still, people seemed to enjoy attending the bubbling hot cauldrons of apple butter and we bought our autumn staples of apple and pumpkin butters. Despite wrong-feeling weather, it was still a nice, small festival and a great halfway point to meet some of our in-laws. Having a nephew and two nieces there made it more fun, too, because it's easy to get focused on the adult things (eating and listening to music) and forget about hanging out by the mineral springs which the town is known for.

I was happy to come across the Mountain State Honey Company table (no website), where I was able to sample six different West Virginia honeys and given an overview of each variety. Since reading Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Cooking, I have become increasingly interested in getting away from white sugar and finding new sweeteners so this was great timing. I walked away with just two varieties--Basswood, a light almost minty honey which I'll use for sweetening tea and yogurt, and Knotweed, a very dark woodier tasting honey which I'll use for baking but mostly I think it will go well with cheese.

Finally, I couldn't resist spending time in some of the antique stores where I browsed cookbooks and found more than a few I wanted. I settled on just three and you will see recipes from those soon!

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