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The Smokehouse: An Appalachian Tradition

The Smokehouse: An Appalachian Tradition

Posted in All News, Bistro, History on Jun 12, 2018

We’ve added an old-fashioned Smokehouse to add a delicious smoky flavor to dishes on the menu like Chef Shelley’s pork osso bucco, whole duck, salmon, and pork shoulder. You’ve gotta have dinner at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro just to taste it for yourself!

dancing bear appalachian smokehouseIt took Jean-Paul Borrouso about 10 days to build the Smokehouse for us out of a combination of cinder blocks and black walnut recycled from when we added the new villas last year, along with cedar shingles from Anderson Lumber of Maryville, steel cooking grates made locally by Keith Shepherd, and concrete, rebar, hardware, and trimming ...


Come Home to Appalachia with Chef Shelley

Come Home to Appalachia with Chef Shelley

Posted in All News, Bistro, History, Recipes on Jul 11, 2017

Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot lately, especially in the culinary scene. Ever since the local food movement took off and eating green became the thing to do, people are craving “real” food that is simple, unprocessed, and has a story. They want to taste a place. As much as we crave something authentic, though, diners also love the exciting and new. There’s never been a bigger moment for fusion cuisines, from bahn mi tacos to poke nachos, made by brilliant cooks with no ties to either cuisine’s place of origin. But at Dancing Bear Lodge, the secret is what happens when a c...


Appalachian Produce: A Summer Celebration

Appalachian Produce: A Summer Celebration

Posted in All News, Bistro, History, Recipes on Jun 23, 2017

Eating seasonally has always been a huge part of Appalachian heritage. It started thousands of years ago with the Native Americans who hunted and gathered in these hills, and it became a refined practice when they settled into villages where they grew the three sisters: squash, beans, and corn. Cherokee leaders lived in large townhouses atop mounds, from which they could oversee their communities, which cultivated vast communal gardens.

The Cherokee largely lived off fresh produce in the spring and summer, enjoying nuts, berries, mushrooms, and wild plants such as poke and ramps that are still...


Ramps: Appalachia’s First Taste of Spring

Ramps: Appalachia’s First Taste of Spring

Posted in All News, Bistro, History, Recipes on May 25, 2017

Ramps appear in two of the dishes on our current menu, including the Braised Rabbit, which comes with pickled ramps, and the Wild Mushroom “Toast.” If you aren’t familiar with Appalachian cuisine, you might be wondering what on earth a ramp is. If you’re in the know, you might be pretty excited to see this regional ingredient with our spring dishes. The simple answer is that ramps are essentially a wild leek (that’s allium tricoccum to you botanists) indigenous to the eastern United States and especially the Appalachian Mountains.

Ramps have a spicy, pungent flavor similar to spring onions or ...


Appalachian Cuisine: An Underrecognized Trend

Appalachian Cuisine: An Underrecognized Trend

Posted in All News, Bistro, History on Nov 06, 2015

The Oxford American magazine published an outstanding article on New Appalachian Cuisine In the Spotlight and At the Margins’ Courtney Balestier noted the link between current food trends and traditional Appalachian foodways, and how that link is under recognized amidst the hubbub made over New Southern recipes and buying local. She wrote, “People are, in some sense, rediscovering Appalachian cuisine; they just don’t know it. Without getting swept away “without forgetting that these hunter-gatherer acts represent an era that many barely survived” it’s still important to remember that trends li...


Putting up for Winter: Fall Appalachian Food Traditions, Canning, Pickling, and Country Cooking!

Putting up for Winter: Fall Appalachian Food Traditions, Canning, Pickling, and Country Cooking!

Posted in All News, Bistro, History, Recipes on Nov 04, 2015

Fall Appalachian Cooking traditions canning

Walk into many groceries, big box stores, and other shops this time of year, and you’ll see more Ball canning jars than ever before. Canning, like many other culinary and craft arts, is seeing a big resurgence. As local and organic food has grown more popular, so have the traditional ways to preserve it.

Appalachia never really let go of its “old canning ways” in a poor region where foraging got dinner on the table as much as farming, it’s important to save every scrap of the summer harvest. This is a land of stew tomatoes, bachelor’s jam covered with a protective layer of hooch, and preserve...

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