In a state best known to the rest of the country for its bourbon and fried chicken, Louisville’s Benedictine spread is an under-the-radar local favorite.
Made from cream cheese, cucumber, and onion—and colored, traditionally, with a dash or two of green food coloring—Benedictine was the invention of Jennie C. Benedict, a popular caterer and restaurateur in Louisville around the turn of the twentieth century. She developed it as a filling for one-ingredient tea sandwiches, but it has since evolved into an all-purpose dip that tops chips and crackers and comes spread on sandwiches with extras like mayonnaise, bacon, lettuce, and alfalfa sprouts.
Though you will see plenty of Benedictine at Derby-season get-togethers, when the flavors of Louisville get their moment in the national spotlight, its pastel-green color and creamy, vegetal flavor make it perfectly suited to an Easter-weekend lunch.
Emma Lou’s Café, a combination sandwich shop and vintage boutique in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, serves a popular Benedictine sandwich. To recreate it, follow this simple recipe from proprietor Emily Williams and layer the spread with generous amounts of lettuce and bacon.