LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kentucky tourism officials launched a food trail Monday at nine state parks featuring popular regional dishes such as burgoo, a hearty stew; soup beans; fried potatoes; beer cheese; spoon bread and bourbon cake.
The Kentucky Tourism Cabinet says the Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail includes nine parks offering different authentic meals that represent their region.
In the western lakes region, the entree is local surf and turf. In eastern Kentucky's Appalachia, visitors can dine on soup beans and cornbread followed by salmon patties. In central Kentucky, visitors can enjoy a hot brown — an open-faced sandwich with turkey, bacon, tomato and Mornay sauce — and succotash. Beverages also feature Kentucky fare including Ale-8-One and bourbon. One park offers a choice of milk or moonshine.
Kentucky Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum says the initiative "is a fun and interactive way to highlight the state's signature dishes and encourage locals and visitors alike to explore every corner of our great state."
She said the trail is beginning with state parks because they are so well known, but officials are also recruiting restaurants to join the trail.
Branscum said tourism officials spent last year talking to foodies, chefs and local tourism officials across the state to come up with the right dish to represent each region, and to tell the story of why it's popular. Salmon patties might seem an odd food for Appalachia, but she said they're cheap to make and easy to pick up and eat so coal miners would snack on them while they washed up for dinner.
Branscum said the state has a long agricultural background and some great stories surrounding popular foods in each region.
"We want to use these culinary assets to attract new visitors, and to educate and inspire Kentuckians to travel across the state and taste these different flavors," she said.
Participating state parks are:
Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park in Calvert City
Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park in Dawson Springs
Rough River Dam State Resort Park in Rough
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park in Carlisle
Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonburg
Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park in Jamestown
Barren River Lake State Resort Park in Lucas
The meals are available through Oct. 3. Check out a map with the food available at each location.