Biscuits are more than just a sidekick food in the South. Biscuits (like bread) are life, with coveted family recipes passed down from generation to generation. But how did biscuits become a Southern food staple? And does the mother of buttery Southern biscuits actually lie in ancient breads found in countries like Indonesia and Italy?
Walking tour company Unexpected Atlanta aims to explore the history behind the South’s love affair with biscuits during a guided tour, Southern food tasting, and baking class held at the Municipal Market, known locally as Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Led by Unexpected Atlanta founder and culinary historian Akila McConnell, this two-hour tour focuses on the history and lore behind Southern biscuits, tracing the roots of the biscuits we know today back to Sumerian flatbreads and the breads of ancient Africa and the Roman empire.
During the tour, attendees will taste baked goods from restaurant vendors at the market, including sausage rolls from Panbury’s Pies and yams and hoecakes from Metro Deli and Soul Food, while also learning about the evolution of biscuits and other Southern dishes and receiving a history lesson on the century-old Sweet Auburn Curb Market. The tour ends with a baking class on biscuits in the events kitchen.
“As pasta is to Italy and tortillas are to Mexico, the buttermilk biscuit is an integral part of Atlanta’s cuisine. Yet, its history is largely overlooked,” McConnell explains, who authored the book “A Culinary History of Atlanta”. “From ancient Africa to the Romans to the early Southern colonists, the biscuit has evolved and changed, resulting in the butter-studded biscuit we all love today.”
Tickets are $65 per person and include 11 tastings from market stalls Jikssa Ethiopian Cuisine, Metro Deli, Pi’s R Squared pizza, Panbury’s Pies, and Miss D’s Pecans and Pralines, a tour of Sweet Auburn Curb Market, and a biscuit baking class.
Unexpected Atlanta launched in 2015 offering walking tours in some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods, including a food and history tour of Grant Park and Oakland Cemetery and a tour of the historic sites within the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park.