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The Best International Food Festival You’ve Never Heard Of


Mougins is a beautiful little hill-top town in the South of France, surrounded by pine, olive and, Cyprus, trees. It’s known for its art (Picasso famously lived and died there), and perhaps more importantly, for its food.

For foodies, the town’s annual Les Etoiles de Mougins food festival is a must-do. Still relatively unknown stateside, it packs a big punch in the culinary community, bringing together chefs with more than 300 Michelin Guide stars among them, as well as 25,000 visitors every year.

“You have Cannes for movies, but you have Mougins for food,” said Moha Fedal, chef at Dar Moha in Marrakech, who attended the 2015 festival.

This year, along with chefs from France, Morocco, and Greece, the United States represented — restaurant group Fig & Olive sent executive chefs Wilfrid Hocquet and David Gussin, as its founder, Laurent Halazs, grew up in Mougins.

“Mougins is a city known for big gastronomy,” said Oliver Roth, pastry chef at the Michelin starred La Mas Candille. “It’s a good idea to get the chefs together and we have fun and we can see the other chefs and their work. Mougins has a big reputation for good food."

The festival, held every September, offers cooking classes for just 20 euros. This year, Roth held a dessert-making class in which visitors could participate. There are also demonstrations that take place throughout the weekend, where tourists can watch gastro gurus whip up some of their favorite dishes.

"The cooking show is always a great moment,” said Hocquet, who is French himself, but oversees Fig & Olive’s U.S. locations, including L.A, New York, Chicago, Miami and D.C. “[It’s] so nice to interact with the public, make them discover what we do and how we do the cuisine we realize everyday in our restaurants,” added the chef, who demonstrated a scallop dish.

“The objective is that people can do it at home,” explained Matthieu Lestrade, head chef and owner of Le Clos St Basile in Mougins, who prepared lobster ravioli during a cooking demonstration.

Lestrade participated in the first Les Etoiles de Mougins 10 years ago, and has been returning annually to mingle with chefs from all over the world. “In my opinion, it has become one of the top five gastronomic events in the world. That’s why people come from so very far away,” said Lestrade.

The three-day event culminates with a 500-person gala on Sunday evening, at which the chefs each serve small portions of their favorite dishes. (Visitors can purchase tickets.)

“I’m happy to meet all the many, many, many chefs of the world and sometimes I like to do something different outside of my country,” said Fedal of cooking for the big final night. His pastilla of duck with foie gras and argan oil was a crowd-pleaser at the gala.

Fig & Olive’s Hocquet served up another gala guest favorite — the scallop dish from his cooking demonstration. Diners stood in line and watched the pan-seared scallops sizzle; the mollusks were then served over tabouleh. “To be on the French Riviera with so many chefs from all over the world is great,” said Hocquet.

Even without the festival, Mougins is known for it’s vibrant food scene. Local restaurant Paloma, is a Michelin-starred restaurant headed up by 33-year-old Chef Nicolas Decherchi. “[Paloma] opened two years ago; we got a Michelin star in seven months,” he said through a translator. “Last year I was chef of the year.” (His creation for the gala this year was an unusual tart masquerading as dessert, that actually had foie gras inside.)

For those who aren’t able to travel to the South of France or who can’t wait until next September, the team behind Fig & Olive is releasing a cookbook dedicated to recipes of the region: Fig & Olive: The Cuisine of the French Riviera[Assouline, November 2015, $50.00]. The restaurant’s founder, Laurent Halazs, developed the cookbook, which features recipes from his mother’s own kitchen in Mougins and from Fig & Olive.

This article was written by Carson Griffith and originally published on October 12, 2015

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Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.


Spiedies Are the Best Sandwiches You've Never Heard Of

Spiedie sandwiches are to me what the cheesesteaks are to Philadelphia natives. This simple dish originated in my hometown of Binghamton, New York, and it doesn't sound like anything special on paper. It's cubes of marinated meat—chicken, pork, beef, or lamb—skewered, char-grilled, and served in a hoagie roll or a slice of fresh Italian bread. The zesty marinade tastes a little like Italian dressing, and when it hits the grill, it caramelizes quickly on the outside and remains super-tender on the inside. It's instant-gratification at its finest.

The first thing I eat when I go home to visit my family is a spiedie, and it's so popular in my region of Upstate New York that we have a festival for it. The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally has happened every August in Binghamton for 33 years. There, you can sample many different types of spiedies in a highly-smoky environment, see random bands—boy band O-Town performed when I was a kid, and this year it's country star Kellie Pickler—and maybe brave a hot air balloon ride.

Lupo's classic "Endicott-style" Italian marinade.

The origins of the spiedie are widely disputed, but the name reportedly comes from the Italian word "spiedino," which translates to "skewer" in English. There are four options of meat in the Binghamton area: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. The classic way to eat it is to take a slice of fresh Italian bread—local Endicott bakery Jim Roma's is a popular pick—and wrap it around the meat on the skewer. It's almost like a potholder so you can pull out all the meat at once and eat immediately. Second-best is a big hoagie roll, filled to the brim with meat and only meat. "You can always tell someone is from out of town because they ask what kind of toppings you put on it," says Sam Lupo, Jr., the co-owner of local spiedie company Lupo's. "No, you just eat it the way it is!"

Lupo's is my personal favorite spiedie in the area. While Lupo doesn't claim that his family created the spiedie, his father and his uncle's version of the "Endicott-style" marinade—aka the suburb of Binghamton where it's said to have originated in the ✰s—has remained the same since 1951 when they made it in their local butcher shop. He won't reveal the full recipe of the marinade, but discloses there is "oil, vinegar, and surprisingly moderate spices". (The bottle's label only lists garlic, paprika, cider vinegar, and corn oil, but it has an Italian-seasoning flavor of at least added oregano.)

Now, almost 70 years later, they sell thousands of pounds of spiedies a week. Lucky for me, they sell their bottled marinades ($3.49) and pre-marinated meats ($8.50 per pound) in stores nationwide and online. Another popular pick is Salamida State Fair Spiedie Sauce, and they have rival URLs: spiedies.com and spiedie.com. Drama!

Want to get wild? There are lemon-garlic, Buffalo-style, and mango-cilantro spiedie marinades, too.

Whether you buy or make your marinade, the most important step in spiedie-making is marinating for at least 24 hours, or up to a few days. Lupo's uses sirloin tip of beef, top round of lamb, pork sirloin, and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, all cut into 1" cubes. You can either thread onto skewers or use a wire topper rack when grilling—you just don't want them to fall through the grates. Lupo's uses high heat on a charcoal gas grill in their restaurants, but if you're stuck indoors, you could pan-fry or broil them.

Morocco's version of the chicken spiedie has tomatoes and onions on the skewers.

Senior food editor Chris Morocco put his own spin on a spiedie-like marinade for Bon Appétit's June issue, adding tomatoes and sweet onion for extra texture and flavor. Since he had never been to Binghamton before, I brought a bottle of Lupo's marinade from home for him to compare. Although Morocco's typically against bottled marinades and dressings, he was into this one. "It's aggressively-seasoned with salt and spices," he says after taking a bite of a freshly-grilled chicken spiedie in the BA test kitchen. "It's not super acidic but perks up the meat and caramelizes nicely." Funny enough, Morocco was tipped off about spiedies from deputy editor Andrew Knowlton, who has also never been to the region. Knowlton tried the sandwich at Ticonderoga Club in Atlanta, which is run by Binghamton natives and hosts "Spiedie Mondays." Side note: I'm looking to bring this exciting spiedie-a-week club to Bon Appétit, so stay tuned.

With summer grilling season about to kick off, the best thing you can do is add spiedies to your lineup. If you happen to hop in a hot air balloon, too, more power to ya.