I took a spin around the new Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville this week. It’s a bit of a hodge podge, with an artisan distillery, a bottling company, a site for research and development, and most interesting to me, a place to learn about the craft of distilling beverages — for enthusiasts, not necessarily just pros.
Moonshine University, I hear, will offer classes and programs for folks like you and me. And I like that. Kentucky is steeped in bourbon history – it goes back to those early enterprising pioneers who didn’t let the challenging land or lack of the abundance of needed rye stop them – they hand planted indigenous corn and turned their extra crop into liquid cash. But I don’t know a lot about it, and it seems it’s only recently that we have really begun to see some national recognition. California has wine — there’s no reason our own Bourbon country shouldn’t be just as alluring.
Anyway, I look forward to taking some classes and learning about a spirit I’ve only fairly recently begun to drink. And it’s a bit like this 120 foods of Kentucky project I’m working on. I grew up in Kentucky, but it wasn’t until I tasted a fresh tomato in season in Italy that I became passionate about food. I came home from that trip over 10 years ago and began to transform into what I guess you’d call a foodie, if by foodie you mean someone who loves and appreciates good food.
I’ve done a lot of traveling, around the country and around the globe, discovering each destination through its food. I’ve cooked Pad Thai in Thailand, tagines in Morocco and pasta in Italy. I learned to butcher my own duck in France and have eaten everything from street food to thefanciest restaurant in some two dozen countries. But I’ve overlooked my own back yard and it’s time to fix that. I’m embarking on an education — a four year education — where I get to track down the most interesting, tastiest, best food in every county in the state. And I can’t wait!