What are scuppernong grapes I wondered, when I found a recipe using them in The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook. I did a bit of research and learned they were native to North Carolina.
The explorer Verrazzano wrote to France in 1524, "Many vines growing naturally there..."
Captains Armadas and Barlowe, affiliated with Sir Walter Raleigh, wrote in 1584, "so full of grapes as the very beating and surge of the sea overflowed them...in all the world, the like abundance is not to be found."
In 1585 the governor of North Carolina wrote to Sir Walter Raleigh, "grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater..."
Read more about the history of the scuppernong...and muscadines, which are related to each other...here. A few tips on how to prepare, store and recipes are included.
To my great surprise I found both scuppernongs and muscadines while grocery shopping in August. I immediately brought a bagful of each! I knew the family would enjoy trying these historic grapes!
I adapted the recipe from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook a bit because I wanted to grill the chicken instead of heating up the kitchen. In August the weather was still nice for delightful cooking and eating on the deck...my favorite cooking and eating venue!
Here are the scuppernongs! So pretty!
I varied up the recipe a bit from the cookbook partly because I wanted to grill and also because I didn't have all of the required ingredients. Therefore I substituted from what I had in the fridge and pantry! These spices are all quite common to the colonial era so I used them for the flavoring. See how large those scuppernongs are!
After rubbing oil on the chicken thighs and sprinkling on the dry ingredients, I put them on the grill.
Then I started the sauce. Deseeding is definitely necessary.
The cooking of the sauce...
I topped the chicken with the sauce and served it with a side salad with balsamic dressing and buttered corn.