The Final Four: Game-Changing Flavors

As the clock counts down to the Final Four games of March Madness this weekend, it’s time to turn your attention to the spread … the snack spread, that is.
By: Erin Cassin
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Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

As the clock counts down to the Final Four games of March Madness this weekend, it’s time to turn your attention to the spread … the snack spread, that is. With college basketball teams from Washington, Oregon, North Carolina and South Carolina facing off on Saturday, will your party playbook favor the flavors of the Pacific Northwest or the cuisines of the Carolinas? Looking to both regions for inspiration, we’ve rounded up a roster of winning recipes.

The Carolinas
Saucy Barbecue

The Carolinas are known for serving succulent 'cue smothered in tangy sauces. Put their iconic pulled pork sandwiches, smoked ribs and signature sauces into play on the party platter.

Shrimp Appetizers

Get in on the dunking action come game day with an appetizer inspired by the Carolinas’ coastal waters. Shrimp can be served smoked, battered or chilled, and are ideal with plenty of dipping sauce.

Photo by: Emmer Schmidt

Emmer Schmidt

Blueberry-Peach Baked Goods

It’s teamwork for the win when you combine North Carolina’s official state berry with South Carolina’s official state fruit. The result? Tantalizing blueberry-peach desserts to please your game-day crowd.

Pacific Northwest
Smoked Salmon and Mushroom Pizzas

No matter which teams win the Final Four, pizza is sure to make everything better. When it comes to the toppings, look to the Pacific Northwest’s abundant bounty for inspiration — get creative with smoked salmon or keep it classic with mushrooms.

TylerFlorence_CrabDipwithGarlicSaltinesandRoastedCherryTomatoes_H

TylerFlorence_CrabDipwithGarlicSaltinesandRoastedCherryTomatoes_H

Tyler Florence’s Crab Dip with Garlic Saltines and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Tyler’s Ultimate, Ultimate Summer Seafood.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Crab Dip

Want an assist to turn a typical game-day dip into something more decadent? Incorporate crab (a Pacific Northwestern staple) and you’ll elevate a standard party appetizer to MVP status.

Blackberry Treats

As the saying goes, there’s nothing sweeter than the taste of victory. Your game-day guests may beg to differ, though, after trying one of these treats studded with blackberries (which grow prolifically in the Pacific Northwest).

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