Native sons follow in father's footsteps to create unique dining, special occasion, and overnight experiences in a rustic, yet modern setting nestled within a pristine mountain community.
Hang on; we’re going back to the future. The Bill Boswell family of Miami, Florida departs the southern coast for God’s Country aka the southern Appalachians. They land in Cashiers, North Carolina (Jackson County - The Trout Capital of North Carolina) and immediately put down roots. Bill first opens The Lodge eatery and later the White Goose, both well known by most anyone stopping in Cashiers for more than a refill of gas. Did I mention the Boswells had two strapping young lads? Apart from college years down state, Chad and Travis have spent most of their lives in Western North Carolina where they attended the Blue Ridge School.
1999The elder Boswell sells the White Goose and retires to Wilmington, NC. Chad and Travis Boswell purchase the 1912 “Ramble” homestead.The Ramble was moved due to the building of the new road running from the center of town toward the South Carolina border. The Orchard officially opened in 2000.
Too often the words “hidden gem” are thrown about rather casually. A hidden gem is somewhat of an enigma - you know they exist, and you know that a good bit of digging is required over time if you hope to eventually, but not certainly, discover it’s location.When hidden gem applies to cuisine, your foodie efforts at digging long and hard to find the glow of ambiance, top shelf service, and gastronomic ecstasy from aperitif to digestif stays with you long after the experience. The glow on your face broadcasts your secret to all. Like bees to honey you attract friends and family who want to know what you know. Yes, culinary nirvana does exist, sometimes in the most unlikely places.
GraciousRoots has set out to find the aforementioned hidden gems tucked away in the cities, towns, and remote locals all over the Southern Highlands. Our first find? The Orchard - you're welcome.
Don’t take my word for it, instead, trust my ever-present companion “Rec Dog” (Liver & white English Springer Spaniel - the cutest thing you’ve ever laid your eyes on and one heck of a bird dog!) sitting beside my chair. As I recall, his original name was “Woodrow,”but it lasted less than twenty-four hours because the name, “Rec Dog” stuck immediately upon being appointed by the community children who played with him nonstop when I was Exec. Director of a Recreation Center some 14 years ago. My furry friend Rec possesses the God-given talent of knowing a good thing or a stinker when he hears, sees, or smells it. A stinker gets an eye roll; conversely, a winner receives a simultaneous head up and tail wag, which is exactly what happens whenever I mention The Orchard.
The Boswell brothers describe The Orchard as: “A promise to provide the highest quality seasonal dishes using the finest ingredients available. Our extensive menu consists of American Cuisine and Southern flavor. The dining ambiance is rustic elegance with mountain charm.” A spot on description to be sure. This hidden gem first and foremost has found the solution to consistent excellence by pairing Chad and Travis Boswell (Travis still manages the kitchen) with the seemingly magical talents of Craig Woods, and Iwayan Sudiartama. No matter where you are seated inside, on the porch, or the patio of the 100+ -year-old farmhouse, all provide a relaxing view of the apple orchard, lawn, and gardens. Surprisingly, there is much more to The Orchard’s allure. Here’s an example: Do you have a “Special Day” or Event coming up? The Events Barn is what you’ve been looking for all along!
The demand for special occasion requests reached fever pitch over the years, and the Boswell brothers responded. The Orchard now sports a new, heated, indoor/outdoor Events Barn ideal for rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions, birthday parties, after-parties, family reunions, and more. Maybe you’re only in the area for a short two-night stay, or a week or more. Not to worry, the well appointed, uber romantic Guest Cottage is only a stone’s throw from the restaurant.
Top Tip - The Vidalia onion, poppyseed vinaigrette is outstanding. Patrons have asked the Orchard to bottle it for years - better grab a bushel of bottles before leaving.
The extensive, seasonal menu promises a sensory delight every visit, but it’s the trip back in time to experience the rustic indulgences of The Orchard combined with the magical mountains and the charm of Cashiers, NC at 3,500 feet that will call you back again and again.
Fried Trout Recipe (The Orchard)
Pecan Fried Carolina Mountain Farm's Rainbow Trout served on Anson Mill's Cheese grits with a Honey Dijon Tartar Sauce and Black-eyed Pea Corn relish.
1 cup Anson Mill's quick yellow grits
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups half and half
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cups shredded cheddar
Place everything except for grits and shredded cheddar in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling gradually add grits while stirring with a whisk. Continue stirring until grits begin to bubble and are all "suspended" in boiling water. Decrease heat to low. Occasionally whisk grits to keep from clumping and sticking to the pot. Cook for 25-30 minutes. If grits are too thick, add more stock as needed. I like my grits on the thicker side, so fish stands up in them. Stir in cheese.
4 "Carolina Cut" Carolina Mountain Trout Farms rainbow trout filets
2 cups House Autry seafood breader
1/2 cup self-rising flour
egg wash (2 eggs, 2 cups milk blended)
1/2 cup shelled pecans pulsed in food processor so that you can still see chunks of pecans the size of a kernel of corn
1 gallon peanut or vegetable oil for frying
1 cup fresh spinach
Mix seafood breader, 1/2 cup self-rising flour and pecans together in a bowl. Dredge trout filets in egg wash, when you lift out trout, let excess egg wash drain off, then pat trout flesh side down into pecan flour so that pecan pieces adhere. Turn trout over and press skin side of trout into flour mixture. Fry in peanut oil at 350 degrees for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Honey Dijon Tartar Sauce-
1 cup Duke's Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
2 tbs honey
1/4 cup housemade or favorite tartar sauce
2 tsp capers
1 tsp chopped parsley
2 tbs white wine
Mix all well.
Black Eyed Pea Corn Relish
5 cups canned black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained well
2 tbs diced Vidalia onion
2 tbs diced roasted red pepper
2 tbs diced red pepper
2 tbs diced roasted poblano pepper
1-1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs Tabasco
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
Mix all well.
Spoon grits onto the plate, topped with 1/4 cup fresh spinach, place trout on top of spinach, spoon sauce on top of fish and garnish with the relish.
Aaahhhh the Blue Ridge School. I well recall traveling to play basketball in elementary and middle school years. Quite the advantage for the home team as many visiting teams were rather lethargic at best by the time parents completed the journey up the never ending, steep, winding curves to Glenville and then Cashiers.