“Does Dolly like the banana pudding?”
I’m on the cellular phone with Nathaniel, 1 of the concierges from Dollywood’s DreamMore Vacation resort in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and he’s going for walks me by means of the menu solutions for a individualized supper that I am going to be ingesting on her tour bus.
The traditional menu capabilities dishes like bacon-wrapped shrimp and mesquite-smoked brisket, and I detect a few distinctive dessert options. Although they all sound appealing, I genuinely just want to know what Dolly likes. I’m confident she does, in actuality, love the banana pudding. And what’s good ample for Dolly is very good enough for me.
The five-system evening meal is provided in a continue to be on Suite 1986, in any other case recognised as Dolly Parton’s tour bus. The superstar and philanthropist used more than a ten years crossing North The usa on the personalized Prevost tour bus, en route to live shows and awards demonstrates. The bus is outfitted with a bedazzled bedroom (total with a hand-painted vanity, microwave, and wig closet) and a kitchen area with a complete-sized fridge that required the elimination of the bus’s entrance window to put in.
The tour bus was retired and forever docked in the identical place it was parked anytime Parton would pay a visit to DreamMore. Now superfans can e book the Dolly Tour Bus Knowledge. Commencing at $10,000, it includes two evenings on the bus for two company, a suite inside of the resort for up to four added people, a welcome amenity, loads of fun swag (plush bathrobes, signature Dolly fragrance), and a extremely-personalized non-public evening meal cooked by the resort’s chef, Tiffany Hicks. (Proceeds are donated to Parton’s Dollywood Basis.)
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Times in advance of arriving for your remain, a concierge calls to hammer out the evening meal menu so it is accurately what you want. Even though the conventional menu is whole of Dolly’s favorites like biscuits, smoked ribs slathered in Cola barbecue sauce, and that banana pudding, Hicks suggests guests can select their very own experience.
“We’ll tailor it to you — your preferences, the flavors you like,” says the chef. “If you want anything else, by all signifies, we are listed here to help you take pleasure in. That’s what Dolly gets — whichever she wants.” It is just section of an experience that, for a few magical, thrilling times, channels the nation songs legend’s existence.
The very first thing I observe when we action onto the bus — apart from the partitions splashed in hand-painted murals of tourists and crystal balls, and the glossy faux-wood kitchen desk exactly where I visualize Parton drinking her early morning espresso — is a cheese board. It is overflowing with cheddar and blue cheese and fruit. Seemingly, it is the identical spread the singer gets anytime she arrives at DreamMore. (In accordance to the workers, she enjoys cheese, which is just one particular of the quite a few items that can make the icon so relatable.) The comprehensive-sized fridge is filled with bottles of water, coke, and root beer, also.
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When you’re staying on the bus, you can pay a visit to Dollywood and find out some of the concept park’s most well known treats, including the funnel cake and iced cinnamon bread. But the produced-to-get supper, each program named for 1 of Parton’s music or albums and paired with wine, is only readily available for Suite 1986 guests.
When it’s time for our supper, we make our way to the Music & Hearth cafe inside the hotel, and are led to a cozy banquet in a secluded segment of the eating home. On each and every position placing is a rock imprinted with phrases like “blessed” and “grateful” together with wooden spoons tied with a recipe for Dolly’s famed Stone Soup as a souvenir.
Chef Tiffany greets us and clarifies the initially course: a cup of duck confit and dumpling soup, with a abundant, turmeric-laced broth. It is a riff on the Southern staple rooster and dumplings. “Turmeric is great for the soul,” Hicks claims. “At least which is what my good-grandma advised me.”
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Subsequent up is a plate of cheddar biscuits sitting down along with a ramekin of roasted garlic and rosemary-whipped butter. (Biscuits are a different Dolly most loved.) There’s refreshing burrata with tomatoes that the chef cooks with brown sugar and finishes with a drizzle of balsamic reduced with honey.
System 3 is bacon-wrapped shrimp and andouille sausage over yellow grits that the chef can make with smoked Gouda. And the fourth and final savory study course is a feast unto by itself. The procession of mains include pan-seared catfish, crispy fried hen, brisket, slow-smoked for 11 hrs, pulled pork that is been smoked for 12 hrs, and — the star of the display — five-hour smoked ribs coated in Coca-Cola barbecue sauce. They’re Dolly’s favorite, and now they are my preferred, as well.
Along with the buffet of entrées (intended, somehow, for just two adult human beings), we’re presented with a secondary procession of sides: built-from-scratch mashed potatoes and collard greens with ham, bacon, and brown sugar “to sweeten your foreseeable future,” according to the chef. At last, there is the mac and cheese, blended with smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, cheddar, and Cotija, “because it’s salty,” says Hicks.
The previous system is a Southern sweet tooth’s aspiration. Banana pudding, vanilla bean pastry cream, and crushed Nilla wafers are layered into rustic mason jars that the chef very first scents with a smoking cigarettes vanilla bean. It’s not the only dessert, although — Hick will make mini (Ok, not that mini) solid iron pans entire of peach cobbler, employing her grandmother’s recipe with a mystery, aromatic component. They occur out very hot and doused in salted caramel and vanilla bean ice product. Eventually, there’s a strawberry mille-feuille made by the resort’s pastry chef Cindy Fairbanks. Disks of property-created puff pastry are structured with macerated vanilla bean pastry product and sprinkled with torn basil for a properly-balanced earthy and sweet chunk.
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Just when we considered we were finished, one particular very last plate comes: a heap of salted pecan pralines laced with bourbon that Hicks built just a couple of hrs before. By the time the feast was winding down, I couldn’t flavor additional than a bite of the banana pudding. But the chef graciously put the mason jar in a to-go bag. The following early morning, I experimented with my luck bringing it as a result of airport safety, and — a Dolly Miracle — they let me carry it property on the aircraft.