Holiday Time

Only in the South: Celebrate the Arrival of 2020 with Unique New Year's Eve Drops (December 2019)

Log on to Cyber Monday Deals (December 2019)

Southern Hospitality Traveler's Favorite Things About October (October 2019)

Honor the Red, White and Blue in the South with Independence Day Celebrations (July 2019)

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Celebrating Mardi Gras 2019 (February 2019)

Pickle, Pelican or Peach: The Many Unique Ways the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2018)

Get Into the Holiday Spirit with the 29th Annual Smoky Mountain Winterfest (November 2018)

17 Celebrations Honoring the Red, White and Blue (June 2018)

Celebrate Mom this Mother's Day with Getaways and Experiences (May 2018)

"Throw me Somethin' Mister!" Celebrating Mardi Gras 2018 (January 2018)

Beach Ball, Fleur-De-Lis, MoonPie: Unique New Year's Eve Drops in the South (December 2017)

25 Festive Events to Keep that Holiday Feeling Through the New Year (December 2017)

Awe-Inspiring Gingerbread Displays at Various Hotels and Resorts Around the South (December 2017)

Fun and Fireworks: 14 Events Celebrating Independence Day (June 2017)

Celebrate 2017 Mardi Gras in the South (February 2017)

Three Festive Ways to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Before the Holidays (December 2016)

30 Ways to Get Your "Jingle" On in the South (December 2016)

Five Ways to Experience the Holidays "Louisiana-Style" (December 2016)

"Brighten Up" Your Holidays with These Holiday Light Displays (November 2016)

Red, White, Blue and You: Fourth of July Celebrations in the South (July 2016)

Drops, Celebrations and More: Memorable Ways to Welcome in 2016 (December 2015)

Spark Your Holiday Spirit with the Many Events Happening Around the South (December 2015)

Six Places to Celebrate the Holiday Season (December 2015)

So Many Ways to Kick Off the Holiday Season in the South (November 2015)

14 Dazzling Holiday Light Displays Throughout the South to Enjoy Now (November 2015)

Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights (November 2015)

New Twist on an Old Favorite: Amping Up the Grilled Cheese (April 2015)

Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels (January 2015)

Move Over Ball Drop - This is How the South Welcomes in the New Year (December 2014)

Ways to Get Your Holiday On in the South (December 2014)

Liven Up Your Thanksgiving Meal with Some Myrtle Beach, S.C.-Style Comfort Foods (November 2014)

Warm Up the Days and the Nights with These Chili Recipes (October 2014)

Creating the Perfect Cheeseburger with Crawford Ker on National Cheeseburger Day (September 2014)

Celebrate National Martini Day with these Recipes (June 2014)

It's Great to be King...Celebrating Mardi Season with King Cake Creations (February 2014)

Celebrate Your Valentine with a Getaway (February 2014)

A MoonPie, Pickle, Red Stick and More...Welcoming in the New Year in the South (December 2013)

Celebrate the Holidays with a New Orleans' Reveillon Dinner (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide...Packages and Escapes (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Books (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Food and Beverage (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Made in the South (December 2013)

2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences in the South (December 2013)

End Your Holiday Meal on a Sweet Note courtesy of Chef Sara Thomas (November 2013)

From Their Table to Yours: Holiday Recipes from The Carolina Inn (November 2013)

Firing Up the Grill: Tips and Recipes for a Successful and Tasty Grilling Season (May 2013)

Breakfast for Mom, Southern-Style (May 2013)

Mom-Worthy Hotels in the South (May 2013)

Talkin' Mardi Gras, Shreveport, La. Style (February 2013)

Southern Style: 13 Things You Must Do in 2013 (January 2013)

Holiday Joy: Tips for Creating the Perfect Gingerbread House (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Secret is in the Sauce at Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Make It Memorable and Give the Gift of an Experience (December 2012)

8 Reasons to Visit Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights this Season (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Chef's Table at Emeril's Delmonico (December 2012)

Absolutely Southern Gift Guide: Simply Ballastone Cookbook (November 2012)

Treat Your Mom to One of These Eight Southern Destinations (May 2012)

Seeing Various Shades of Green: St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations in the South (March 2012)

It’s Mardi Gras Time in the South (February 2012)

Celebrate Elvis Presley’s Birthday in the South (January 2012)

A MoonPie, a Pickle, a Horseshoe and More: Ringing in the New Year Southern-Style (December 2011)

Celebrate the Holidays New Orleans-Style with a Reveillon Dinner (December 2011)

"Treat" Yourself this Holiday Season with (November 2011)

Holiday Fun in the South After Thanksgiving (November 2011)

Holiday Fun at Gaylord Opryland (November 2011)

Tours and Treats Along Virginia’s Inn to Inn Cookie Trail and Tour (November 2011)

Celebrating Milestones in the South (August 2010)

5 Activities that Add a "Sizzle" to Your Summer Vacation (June 2010)

Forget Gifts, Give Experiences This Mother’s Day (April 2010)

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2010 (February 2010)

Published: January 2015
Celebrate National Soup Month Anytime with Recipes from Benchmark Resorts & Hotels  

It doesn’t have to be National Soup Month to enjoy a bowl of good soup. When it’s a little chilly outside or you need a pick-me-up, just prepare these tasty recipes provided by chefs from restaurants at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels® anytime.

Salsify Soup
Served at The Chattanoogan Hotel’s Broad Street Grille.
Recipe provided by Chef Adam Roe
Serves 8-10

3 pounds           Salsify, peeled and soaked in lemon water until ready to roast
¼ cup              olive oil
4 tablespoons     butter
1 ¼ cup            Vidalia onion, diced
½ cup              diced celery
2                  medium potatoes peeled and diced
8 cups             chicken stock
½ cup              cream

Collard Green Pesto
1                    bunch collard greens, stemmed and washed
¼ cup                toasted pecans
½ cup                olive oil
¼ cup                Parmesan cheese, shredded

Roast salsify with olive oil in 400-degree oven until tender. Sauté onion and celery in butter until translucent and add potatoes and chicken stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender and add roasted salsify, then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove soup from heat and puree with heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Cut collards and cook in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, remove and drain. Place collards, pecans, and cheese in food processor and on lowest setting blend while slowly drizzling oil until fully incorporated.

Caldo Gallego
This is a Spanish style peasant soup from the Galicia region of northern Spain, where the Spanish language and culture is blended with Celtic influence from the proximity to southern Ireland. In San Antonio, prized Serrano ham and Manchego cheese echo Hotel Contessa’s Spanish flair. Hotel Contessa_Caldo Gallego Photo1
Serves 8-10

2 pound        Cannellini beans, soaked overnight
2 each         small yellow onions, diced
8 each         cloves garlic, chopped
1 each         bulb fennel, diced
2 each         smoked ham hock
4 ounces       serrano ham, diced
4 each         bay leaves
6 each         red potatoes sliced and boiled tender
6 ounces       light olive oil
4 ounces       grated manchego cheese
5 cups         Lacinato kale, chopped
4 quarts       chicken stock
4 each         grilling chorizo sausages sliced

Cracked black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Spanish olive oil (as much as you like)

Boil beans until reasonably tender and set aside. Add the light olive oil to a medium stock pot, and add serrano ham and two slices of chorizo and sauté until fragrant and oil turns a little red. Add onion, garlic, and fennel. Sweat vegetables until softened and fragrant (no browning.) Add chicken broth, bay leaf and ham bone and simmer for 45 minutes.

While soup is simmering, grill or pan fry chorizo slices in Spanish olive oil and set aside (keep the grease.)

Add cooked beans, and season with salt and pepper. Add sliced potatoes, kale, and chorizo slices and simmer for 10 – 15 additional minutes (depending on how cooked you like your kale.) Serve in a shallow bowl with lots of the chorizo infused Spanish oil drizzled over, and grated manchego cheese.


Florida Corn & Crab Chowder
Florida crabs and fresh corn are spiced with a Creole seasoning at the Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando. Recipe provided by chef Lonny Huots.
Serves 8-10

1 ounce         melted butter
1 pound        fresh cut corn
1 ounce         red onion, minced
2 ounces       red bell pepper, minced
2 ounces       green bell pepper, minced
1 teaspoon    garlic, minced
20 ounces      heavy whipping cream
20 ounces      fresh crab stock (or 20 ounces water 2 ounces crab base)
2 tablespoon  Creole seasoning
1 pinch         fresh thyme leafs
1 teaspoon      corn starch with 1 teaspoon water mixed

In stock pot sweat all the vegetable in clarified butter. Add the water cream and bases and mix well. Add all the seasonings and bring to bring to a simmer. Thicken with the corn starch slurry.

Garnish with jumbo lump crab meat, chive oil, and fried sweet potato curls.


Yukon Gold Potato and Kale Soup
Featured at Inn at Virginia Tech’s restaurant, Preston’s, not only is the establishment known for its fine fare, but also its award-winning wine cellar. Recipe provided by chef David Oehirng.
Serves 8-10

2 tablespoons    olive oil
8 ounces         yellow onions, sliced
2 pounds         Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
1 quart          heavy cream
1 pint           vegetable stock
2 tablespoons    kosher salt
¼ teaspoon       ground white pepper
2 teaspoons      ground coriander
1 pound          red new potatoes, ¼ inch dice
1 ounce          whole butter
6 ounces         fresh kale, chopped into bite size pieces
¼ cup            sour cream

In a 8-quart sauce pot, heat the olive oil, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the Yukon Gold potatoes, heavy cream, vegetable stock, salt, pepper, and the coriander. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 30 minutes. Puree with a stick blender or a food processor until smooth. Return to the pot, add the diced red potatoes, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Heat a sauté pan on the stove, add the butter and the kale, cook on a high heat for 4 minutes. Stir into soup, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Put into serving bowl and finish with a dollop of sour cream.


Stone Crab Bisque
Florida’s legendary stone crabs are the main ingredient in the bisque at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa. Stone crabs are in season from October 15 - May 15. Recipe provided by chef Bob Axenfeld.Bonaventure_Stone Crab Bisque Photo
Serves 8-10

1 cup           butter
1 cup           chopped onion, thin chop
1 cup           chopped green pepper, thin chop
4               scallions, thin chop
2 packages      fresh mushrooms
½ cup           fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup           flour
4 cups          milk
4 teaspoons    salt
½ teaspoons     pepper
2 teaspoons     hot sauce
6 cups          half and half
5 cups          stone crab claw meat (about 45 medium claws)
½ cup           dry sherry

In a Dutch oven, melt ½ cup of butter over medium heat. When melted, add the first five ingredients from the ingredient list. Sauté onions, peppers, scallions, and mushrooms until tender. Once sautéed, remove from Dutch oven and set aside.

In same Dutch oven, melt ½ cup of butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, cooking for approximately one minute. Gradually add and whisk in the milk.  Cook until thickened and bubbly.

Once thickened, add the onion-pepper-scallion-mushroom mixture along with salt and pepper, hot sauce, and half and half.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and stir in crabmeat. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes while stirring often. Stir in dry sherry.

Photo credit: courtesy of   Benchmark Resorts & Hotels® and Personal Luxury Resorts & Hotels®; top right, Caldo Gallego, Hotel Contessa; middle right, Stone Crab Bisque, Bonaventure Resort & Spa