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The Travel Detective

The Travel Detective: Williamsburg’s Taste Studio

For the original settlers of Williamsburg, farm to table wasn’t a cute trend. In fact, it was a harsh reality. If there was no farm, there was no table – they died. But here at Taste Studio, the chefs are using the historic gardens to recreate the food from America’s past.

Chefs from the Colonial Williamsburg historic district teach courses at the Taste Studio showcasing how Americans ate hundreds of years ago. And that all starts, in the garden.

Local Chefs tend to these gardens, which also supply their respective kitchens with traditional fare. Here, you’ll find onions, baby red carrots, beets, lettuce, and a whole lot more–all grown as they were generations ago.

Inside, Chef Rhys Lewis prepares a carrot and almond soup. In keeping with that tradition, Lewis ads almonds, herbs and chicken stock.

The pumpkin soup is finished with local chilies, yogurt infused with fresh dill from the garden and topped off with roasted almonds.

And then there’s the chard and beet leaf salad with pomegranate and lemon dressing. It’s all picked from the garden as well. For dessert, there’s red velvet, beet cake with fresh, raspberry compote.

In fact, you’ll find dozens of incredible dishes, and they’re made more or less like they were over 300 years ago. One of my favorite dishes takes traditional ingredients like micro, boxwood basil and heirloom tomatoes for a twist on a modern bruschetta.

It may be a recipe rooted in hundreds of years of American history, but I could eat it every day.

By Peter Greenberg for