January 5, 2013 8:25:50 PM
JACKSON -- The Mississippi Development Authority encourages locals and visitors to savor Mississippi's true delicacies in January with a month-long celebration of food, restaurants, chefs, recipes, specialty items and flavors that will satisfy anyone's appetite to discover the authentic Mississippi.
Mississippi is known for down-home cooking as well as distinctive upscale cuisine. Throughout the month of January, the entire state is highlighting the unique eateries, specialty foods and dining experiences that are such an integral part of the True South.
The Mississippi Culinary Trail, a virtual trail available online at visitmississippi.org/culinary-trail.aspx, features an interactive map with background information, stories and details about the culinary heritage of eateries, restaurants and other food-related sites in every region of the state.
The Culinary Trail highlights singular local attractions travelers want to find, but often don't know where to search for them. Now visitors can eat local throughout Mississippi and enjoy the bounty of farm-fresh produce and fresh Gulf seafood as well as traditional favorites like hot tamales, fried catfish, barbecue ribs and much more.
To view all the sites on the Culinary Trail, as well as the hundreds of other restaurants around the state, go to visitmississippi.org/culinary-trail.aspx or visitmississippi.org/food.aspx.
In addition to being home to notable restaurants, Mississippi is the proud birthplace or home of many past and present celebrities: actors, athletes, artists and chefs, too.
Chef and humorist Robert St. John is not only a restaurant owner, he writes food columns and cookbooks that are quickly becoming some of the most popular gifts around.
Chef John Currence of Oxford was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef South in 2009. Other notable Mississippi chefs include Cat Cora, the only female "Iron Chef" in that franchise's history, and Martha Hall Foose, another popular chef and storyteller. These and other well-known chefs, along with lots of soon-to-be-famous ones, can be found all across Mississippi.
The Magnolia State is also home to Viking Range Corporation. What started as a small operation is now a household name in cooking appliances, accessories and cooking schools. Based in Greenwood, Viking continues to grow and flourish with its headquarters and cooking school there, as well as a new cooking school in Ridgeland.
Jubilations Cheesecakes, based in Columbus, offers nearly endless flavors of cheesecakes that can be ordered online or by phone. The Mississippi Cheese Straw Factory in Yazoo City is another favorite for holidays or anytime guests are gathered.
The Indianola Pecan House in the Delta celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. (And remember, that's pronounced "puh-kan," not "pee-kan.")
This month, learn more about what Mississippi has to offer along the Culinary Trail.
For more information about things to do and see in Mississippi, go to VisitMississippi.org.