The first time I saw the Biltmore Estate was through the eyes of Thomas Kinkade. His painting Elegant Evening at Biltmore is a breathtaking depiction of America’s largest residence, and in 2008 I saw it while browsing Mr. Kinkade’s website. At the time I lived in Mandeville, Louisiana and had no idea if I would ever see its beauty in person. I had just begun talking to a blue-eyed Carolina boy who told me that he’d take me there one day, and guess what? He did!
That first visit to Asheville, North Carolina happened on Valentine’s Day in 2013. The blue-eyed boy was now my husband, we had a one-year-old little boy, and I was pregnant with our second child. I was blown away by the beauty of Biltmore, and how the Blue Ridge Mountains perfectly framed the estate.
Our First Trip to Biltmore, February 2013
While we were able to view the grounds, we arrived to the house a little too late and weren’t able to peek inside. Our next trip happened in May 2015 and we not only toured the house, but we also saw the most lovely exhibit called Dressing Downton. This exhibit showcased the beautiful clothing that the actors of Downton Abbey have worn over the years.
Our Second Trip to Biltmore, May 2015
With each visit I fall more and more in love with this magnificent estate. And while Asheville is only 4.5 hours away from where my family and I live, we don’t get to visit as much as I’d like.
And that got me thinking…
How can I bring a little of the Biltmore home with me?
During our last visit I happened to purchase a cookbook called Biltmore Traditionsthat is filled with recipes and stories from the Vanderbilt family. Each chapter is unique and focuses on a different theme of delicious dishes, and overall the cookbook is the most charming I’ve seen.
So here’s what I’ve come up with!
With permission from the Biltmore Company, I’ve created The Biltmore Cooking Project! This project consists of myself cooking every recipe from the Biltmore Traditions cookbook, along with sharing tidbits about Biltmore. George and Edith Vanderbilt has a fascinating story, and it is one that should be told.
Here are the rules:
All recipes must be attempted regardless of my personal food preferences
Must document the results of each recipe, even if the results are disastrous
Must be completed by December 31, 2017
Must have fun
Even though my plate is full and my life is busy, I find enjoyment in cooking and in the Biltmore, so why not combine the two? I have to cook for my family anyway, and I might as well make it interesting!