The July/August issue of Food Network Magazine includes an article titled “50 States, 50 Ice Cream Treats” that features a different frozen dessert for every state in the country. Virginia’s winner is Chef Aaron Deal’s banana pudding at The River and Rail in South Roanoke!
In this dessert, banana pudding is elevated to new heights with the addition of crunchy bits of cornbread and jalapeno-coconut ice cream. According to the magazine, “this dessert-in-a-jar is full of surprises.”
It’s neat to see Southwest Virginia in the national spotlight yet again for the quality of its food offerings. Within the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about mentions for Bruno’s GastroTruck and Virginia Tech in two best-of lists on The Daily Meal website.
Whenever I see a listing like this, it makes me wonder how a Southwest Virginia restaurant/food truck, etc. came to the attention of a national magazine. When I contacted the magazine and asked how they found the banana pudding at The River and Rail, the email response was this:
“Our editors worked with hundreds of local food experts from all across the country who are deeply knowledgeable about their local food scene. The list was crafted from the recommendations of these local experts, combined with our editorial judgment. And yes, wherever possible, we tasted as many as we could!”
That seemed a bit vague, so I asked Deal if he knew any more about how his puddin’ got the lovin’. He says someone at the magazine apparently saw a review of The River and Rail by local writer Tony Barbour in The Roanoker magazine. The review mentioned the dessert. So thank you to Tony, who is indeed deeply knowledgeable about our local food scene, and to The Roanoker for bringing this praise to our neck of the woods.
And congrats to The River and Rail, as well!
You’ll see a little more about this pudding in next week’s Front Burner column, so check back.