A few days ago, I mentioned my penchant for day trips to Asheville, particularly to Biltmore Estate. I first visited about 3 years ago and was enamored by the rich history, the story of the Vanderbilts, the amazing preservation of the 100+ year old [enormous] home, and the beautiful gardens. We purchased yearly passes and have continued to visit. No two trips are ever the same. They change the gardens every few months and hold different events [from Festival of the Flowers in the spring to Candlelight Christmas visits where you tour the home at night with the candle lights and the hundred or so Christmas trees through out the home]. It’s always different and you always feel as if you’ve walked right into a photograph from the past.
Nope, they don’t pay me to say all these good things, friends. I just seriously love it there. After over 15 visits to Biltmore, I still ask Nick “Can you believe this was someone’s house?!” I don’t know; its still just hard to imagine having so many guests at a time, an enormous staff, a dairy, farms, an entire village, and the birthplace of American Forestry in your backyard. Not to mention a bowling alley and an indoor swimming pool in your “basement”. Mind you, this was in 1895 and most people in the mountains of NC [and the rest of the country] didn’t even have indoor plumbing!
The point is, after my first visit there I purchased one of their cookbooks “Biltmore: Our Table to Yours” which has some incredible recipes and beautiful pictures. This past visit, they had actually released a new cookbook called “Traditions” that had recipes that the chefs on the Estate use today, in addition to recipes used when they were prepared for George & Edith Vanderbilt [again, I get strangely excited about the fact they’re recipes rooted in some history… “They ate this once, what I’m making!”]
Today’s recipe comes from that second book, “Traditions”, but it’s not one of the historic recipes the Vanderbilts got to taste. Nonetheless, it’s delicious and I feel just a tiny bit fancier drinking my morning cup of Joe knowing Biltmore has something to do with it.
Homemade Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1.5 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
That’s it. Just mix those things up and you have a much cheaper liquid creamer than you purchase at the grocery store, and honestly, I think it’s much better tasting, too! (I put all my ingredients directly into a mason jar then proceeded to shake it like crazy.)