GADGETS! For spring, a few must-have tools
DRANKS! New booze opps courtesy of Bottle House
ART! Evan Mooney’s candy-inspired series SPRING 2021
Taste is everything.
lunch! True Heritage aims to further Virginia’s wine legacy
MOUTH-TO-FEED Unpacking three foodie ’grams (and their top five local picks!)
It’s Remarkable! Baggby’s classic sammy combines turkey, cream cheese, and avocado (plus a whole lotta other good stuff).
Food trucks, bagged sammies, and three-meat platters—your midday options are endless
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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S The Dish 7 In the kitchen A Q&A with Khadija Hemmati.
9 Dippin’ dots
The number of unique bottlings at new wineshop Bottle House. PAGE 11
Evan Mooney’s art has a sweet twist.
Out to lunch
11 Nouveau wine
There’s the business lunch (an excuse for a tipple at noon), the lunch date (sweaty palms under the table), the free lunch (there’s no such thing). In this issue, we’re celebrating all things midday eating, with eight great eats. PAGE 18
A new bottle shop opens on West Main.
12 Taste testers Three foodie ’grammers worth a follow.
COURTESY TRUE HERITAGE WINE
Kitchen gadgets to up your game.
With resumes that include Veritas and Flying Fox, George Hodson and Emily Pelton are on to their next project— True Heritage Wines—which they hope will further the conversation about Virginia as a wine (not just tasting room) destination. PAGE 28
THE LAST BITE Have your cake and eat it, too. PAGE 30
That’s how many hours Pearl Island’s Caribbean pork cooks before landing on your plate.
16 Spring in your step
ON THE COVER: Baggby’s Remarkable is still your go-to (ours too!). Photo by John Robinson.
KNIFE & FORK, a supplement to C-VILLE Weekly, is distributed in Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the Shenandoah Valley. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Knife & Fork Editor Caite Hamilton. Copy Editor Susan Sorensen.
308 E. Main St. Charlottesville, VA 22902 (434) 817-2749 n c-ville.com c-ville.com/knife-fork
Graphic Designer Tracy Federico.
Art Director Max March.
Account Executives Lisa C. Hurdle, Gabby Kirk, Stephanie Vogtman,
Beth Wood. Production Coordinator Faith Gibson.
Publisher Anna Harrison. Chief Financial Officer
Debbie Miller. A/R Specialist Nanci Winter. Circulation Manager Billy Dempsey. ©2021 C-VILLE Weekly.
“QUALITY WINES IN A GREAT GETAWAY!”
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The Dish TRENDS, TASTEMAKERS, AND FOODS WE LOVE
For authentic Middle Eastern flavor with backstory, look no further than the City Market By Shea Gibbs
Cooking with Khadija
hadija Hemmati fled Afghanistan in 2016, looking for opportunities not available to women in her home country. She landed in Charlottesville and has found those opportunities in the form of a catering business and farmers’ market stall she calls Khadija’s Kitchen. Hemmati recently spoke with Knife & Fork about her journey.
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Knife & Fork: How have you acclimated to life in the United States? Khadija Hemmati: I’ve lived in Charlottesville for four years. Me and my ex-husband and five kids came here in November 2016. Now, I am a single mom living with my mother and my younger sister. We are eight people living together in the same house. And I am trying to get my GED. What’s going on with Khadija’s Kitchen right now? So, I am doing the farmer’s markets. I started them in 2019 in March. This year, I have started to work with [Richmond farmer’s market] GrowRVA. How did you get started cooking your own food? When I was at UVA, I worked for Aramark in the dining hall. But I quit my job because I realized the food we served was not good and healthy. I tried to start cooking on my own. I had a group of graduate students contact me and said, “Can you come and take care of 20 to 30 or so people?” That was 2018. Everyone enjoyed the food. How would you describe your food? I am from Afghanistan, but I also lived in Iran for 20 years. I know about Turkish food and Arabic—all kinds of Middle Eastern food. In the farmer’s market, I have dolma, kabob, baklava. I like to keep it traditional, but I usually add some sort of sauce to the menu. In the Middle East, we never have a sauce with the kabob. The spicy chicken kabob and lamb kabob, the dolma and falafel—those are my most popular dishes. Have you had some help in growing Khadija’s Kitchen? I appreciate so many people for helping me and supporting me. I have a volunteer who is helping me, and I have a lot of appreciation for my family and my sister. All of my five kids—they come to the farmer’s market. They wake up at 4:30 and help pack everything up. All of these things have happened because I have support. In Afghanistan, we don’t have peace. I finished my high school education in computer science in Iran, but then I got married to a man from Afghanistan who had a relationship with my dad. In Afghanistan, I didn’t have freedom to do business or study. A woman can do all that here.
You art what you eat We’re pretty sweet on this piece by local artist Evan Mooney—and not just because it looks like candy buttons. The UVA grad says her “Hard Candy” series celebrates her steel magnolias. “They might be vibrant, polished and law abiding, but there is so much more to them,” Mooney says. “They are tough as nails, resilient, and fiercely loyal.” To create the series, Mooney hand mixes pigment and resin to make the semispheres, then unites the surface with another high-gloss coat of resin. She says there’s nothing more visually satisfying than color and texture, “and this series has both in abundance.” COURTESY EVAN MONNEY
We just had one more question: How does she feel about actual candy buttons? “I did eat them when I was little,” Mooney says, “but they always looked better than they tasted!” See more of Mooney’s work at evanmooneyart.com.—Caite Hamilton
Bottle House brings high-end drinks and eats to downtown and doorstep
Spring picks By Shea Gibbs
he Bottle House opened on West Main early this year, and the craft beverage and artisanal foodstuffs boutique has some serious pedigree. Daniel Kaufman and Guillaume Gasparini met coming up “in the wine world,” Kaufman says, and the two budding restaurateurs bonded for years over their love of the vine. Kaufman climbed through the ranks of the Farmington Country Club kitchen and now owns and operates Public Fish & Oyster and pasta place Pronto!. Gasparini spent years refining his palate at his family’s acclaimed Restaurant Pomme in Gordonsville. With Pomme closing several years ago and Kaufman feeling some COVID claustrophobia in his dining rooms, the sommeliers decided to team up on Bottle House. Their all-things-adultbeverage shop would provide the expertise and service wine lovers find in a restaurant in a convenient retail setting and delivery program.
“We have built a comprehensive selection of beer, wine, cocktail accessories, fresh foods, glassware,” Kaufman says. “We’ve curated cool stuff, things I think would appeal to a broad range of people...but also brands that are unique to our store.” With their collective background in fine wine, it’s no wonder Kaufman and Gasparini have stocked the Bottle Shop with about 70 percent vino—that’s more than 400 unique bottlings. Kaufman says he and his partner pride themselves specifically on their French finds and local vine varieties. But the duo is also dedicated to bringing in the beers that craft geeks crave and the mixers, bitters, garnishes, and infusions that spirits aficionados savor. On the food front, think hard-to-find tinned fish, cheese, and charcuterie. Oh, and will that delivery service go away after the virus vanishes? Not if Kaufman can help it. “We want to expand beyond these walls,” he says. “COVID just made it more apparent this is something people would be into.”
Daniel Kaufman (right) shared with us his top Bottle House choices as the weather turns warm(er). Domaine Famaey Pétillant Naturel Malbec Rose, Cahors, Spain Tart, fresh, natural sparkler from southwest France. Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina Rubentis Rose, Basque, Spain Amazingly refreshing wine of the Basque region of Spain. Pikes Dry Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia Complex expression of dry riesling from down under. Edmunds St. John “Bone-Joly” Gamay Noir, El Dorado, California Jokingly called “the 11th cru of Beaujolais,” this Gamay Noir mimics the style of its ancestral home but brings along with it the brightness of California fruit. Einstok Icelandic White Ale, Iceland The vikings have crafted a beautiful wheat full of orange peel and spice notes delicious on the hottest or coldest of days.
Three local foodstagrammers offer their secrets to success Almost 50 percent of Instagram users say they’re interested in food/drink, according to the analysts at Business of Apps. And 100 percent of Instagram users consume food/ drink, according to the analysts at Basic Common Sense.
FROM THE FEED:
So, how does one sort through Instagram’s thousands of gustatorial graphics to find a few that actually interest them? Check out these three local ’grammers for the best of what’s around.—Shea Gibbs
Rachel and Nick Buccola wanted to help area restaurants. With their social media savvy and business acumen, they figured they could drive traffic to local diners deserving of more attention. The idea came to them long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Rachel, a digital marketing manager for the Seraphic Group, and Nick, a Lawrence Companies national account manager, launched @cville.foodie on Instagram in April 2017. The spouses had just moved to Charlottesville from Washington, D.C., and were instantly intrigued by their new city’s vibrant, tight-knit food scene. With a mix of homemade dishes and local restaurant spotlights, Cville.Foodie keeps the focus on the food, with Rachel and Nick (who does all the cooking) content to stay behind the camera. The strategy’s helped the couple grow their following to more than 3,500 and attract dozens of comments on each and every pic they post. “We really try to engage with other foodies in Charlottesville,” Rachel says. “We try to ask questions when they comment or comment back... It’s all about keeping your audience intrigued.”
Regular rotation Lampo Neapolitan Pizzeria: “Our favorite pizza place, and they now do takeout because of COVID.” Feast!: “They have amazing sandwiches.” Ivy Provisions: “Every single Saturday.”
Sussex Farm (Mama Bird): “The kimchi pancake wraps, the dumpling soups— everything they make is incredible.”
Ten: “There are so many good places in town. Ten is just amazing sushi.”
The Dish FROM THE FEED:
JM Stock Provisions
@rationsandoldfashioneds The Charlottesville foodstagram space isn’t crowded, but those with the biggest followings tend to bump into each other. Rarely does RationsAndOldFashioneds miss the chance to like a photo from Cville.Foodie, for example. “We interact with people and have other foodies and other Instagrammers that we follow,” says Kevin Wyatt, half of the duo that makes up RationsAndOldFashioneds. “We try to always respond to people, and we personalize our recommendations.” Across the virtual dining table from Wyatt, who’s directing the UVA hospital expansion as a contractor with Corbett Technol-
ogy Solutions, sits Stephanie Henderson, an HR consultant. The couple says they found each other through their infatuation with fine cuisine. “We legitimately and seriously bonded over food,” Henderson says. “If we are taking a vacation, the first thing we think about is where we are going to eat and what we are going to make. We’re both very adventurous.” The couple’s willingness to try new things and put their personalities on display have brought RationsAndOldFashioneds a good deal of success. Wyatt and Henderson have more than 5,000 followers and rarely post a photo drawing fewer than 400 likes.
A few faves The Alley Light: “They’re taking very good precautions, and the cocktails and food are awesome.” Tilman’s: “We love the cheese plates, soups, the really fun wines...We just love how casual it is.” Chimm: “It’s super fresh. It’s our go-to place for Thai and Vietnamese.” Public Fish & Oyster: “The service is great, and it takes out very well.” MarieBette Café & Bakery: “They have the best breakfast sandwiches and make a mean matcha latte.”
Local Kites Country Ham
Kathy’s homemade sweet breads and pies
Local honey, jellies, jams and pickles,
Snow, King and Dungeness Crab Legs Farm fresh local eggs, homemade cheese spreads, and gourmet cheeses, local oysters and crabmeat, fruits and vegetables
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@n.o.m.s.piration For Jannatul Pramanik, a love of food and photography came together naturally to create @n.o.m.s.piration. Premanik is often lugging her SLR camera around when she happens by restaurants, so snapping snazzy photos is a cinch. She started posting the pics to her personal Instagram years ago, but her friends were like, whoa girl. “It went hand-in-hand. I was out eating food, I would have my camera, and it just made sense to journal the foods I was eating,” Pramanik says. “Now it has grown into a big thing, and having all these followers, I get to think about supporting local business, especially local businesses owned by people of color.”
Pramanik, who graduated from UVA in 2016 and earned her masters in 2017, says she’s increasingly trying to feature the folks behind the savory scenes she posts to the ’gram. She coordinates multicultural student services at the university, so she’s drawn to the diverse stories she finds in food, as well. n.o.m.s.piration’s followers today amount to nearly 3,000, and Pramanik’s photos often get praise for their style and composition. The pandemic has limited her culinary outings, but she says she’s found some great stories around the City Market. “The farmers’ market has been a cool way to engage with the scene, but doing it outdoors,” she says.
Foodie finds Pearl Island Cafe: “Stewed Oxtail Platter... with rice, pigeon peas, pikliz, plantains, and kale salad.” Sussex Farm (Mama Bird): “Bulgogi and cheese rice balls and Chonggak-kimchi.” Chimm: “Kao soi.” Al Carbon: ”Pollo Al Carbon Platter. [It] comes with sides and a sauce—I usually get it with the arroz poblano and jalapeño cilantro sauce.” Afghan Kabob: “Chicken tandoori—comes with seasoned rice, salad, a side of veggies, and naan—and the bolanee kachalow.”
FROM THE FEED:
Mama Bird (Sussex Farm)
Ingredients of spring Gadgets we love for cooking with the season
HIC Fante’s Double Mezzaluna
COURTESY THE HAPPY COOK
$19.99 at The Happy Cook The Happy Cook’s Monique Moshier recommends the mezzaluna knife for quickly chopping up spring herbs (say, for an herbed frittata or quiche), and it can also be handy when you want to prepare greens for a chopped salad.
Coconut fiber vegetable brush $2.50 at Be Just We’ll be eagle-eyed for the first root veggies of spring at the farmer’s markets. Get the mud off those fresh beets, turnips, and carrots with this all-natural tool. Hello, iron and Vitamin A!
COURTESY BE JUST
Spring is here, and so are spring ingredients. Hooray for food that’s never seen the inside of a can! Hooray for fresh green stuff on our plates! We shopped around Charlottesville for the best gadgets to help you cook up all that delicious, vitamin-packed produce.—Erika Howsare
OXO Salad Spinner
COURTESY THE HAPPY COOK
$32.95 at The Happy Cook “Not only is it good for doing salads, but for bulk herbs, the best way to clean and preserve is by spinning,” says Moshier. Translation: The salad spinner will stay useful through the summer and beyond.
All about town.
'MY P E R FE CT C'V I L L E DAY' | O N - T HE - S T R E E T S T YL E | SP R I N G HAP P E N I N G S
Chef’n Looseleaf Plus Greens Stripper $9.95 at The Happy Cook Never heard of this clever stainless-steel gadget? It’ll save you oodles of time that you’d otherwise spend slicing the ribs out from kale and collards, and it works on herbs, too. We can’t wait to try it on a bunch of fresh local parsley.
COURTESY THE HAPPY COOK
SPACE RESERVATION DEADLINE FOR SPRING: MONDAY, MARCH 15TH Email email@example.com for more information
What is 434? It’s recreation, it’s culture, it’s society—it’s how we live in Charlottesville. In this full-glossy quarterly magazine, you’ll meet townspeople from all corners of our area, from creatives to CEOs, each with their own story to tell. Every issue will connect readers with the best things to buy, see, and get involved in that season. This is the 434, and we’re all about town. Knife&Fork 17
HOT THE LUNCH ISSUE
LUNCHES! The return to warmer weather carries a bit more weight this year. It signals picnics, visiting the Downtown Mall to nab a bite and, of course, it means we’re inching closer and closer to feeling a melting ice cream cone drip down our chins. But we’ll breathe a sigh of relief when we’re able to dine outside at our favorite places once again—a moment we’re celebrating in this issue with a few of our favorite eateries, from the mobile to the classic. By Nathan Alderman, Shea Gibbs, and Caite Hamilton
NOW OPEN! ANGELIC’S KITCHEN • BEE CONSCIOUS CHIMM STREET • DINO’S • ELEVA COFFEE THE MILKMAN’S BAR • MOO THRU SPRINGHOUSE SUNDRIES STARR HILL BREWERY • TAKE IT AWAY
OPENING SPRING 2021! MAIZAL • CITIZEN BURGER STAND GRN BRGR • MANILLA STREET MASHU FESTIVAL A food and market hall offering a curated blend of the area’s best chefs alongside the most talented mixologists, food artists, and shop keepers.
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For nearly 27 years, Baggby’s has served sandwiches, salads, and soups on the Downtown Mall—and not even COVID-19 can keep it down.
THE LUNCH ISSUE
With help from their daughter, Olivia, Jon and Erin LaPanta are at the helm of downtown sammy staple Baggby's.
HANDHELD & HANDMADE
aggby’s co-founder Jon LaPanta wants you to know two things. First: To everyone who’s reached out to help keep the beloved Downtown Mall soup-salad-and-sandwich shop going during the COVID-19 pandemic, thank you. “We have been humbled by how many of our customers have reached out not only as customers,” he says, “but letting us know how much it means to them that we are still here.” And second, to everyone else: Yes, Baggby’s is still around. “When we first opened, the challenge was to get the word out about Baggby’s,” LaPanta says. “Now we are faced with a similar challenge of letting people know that we are open and that the Downtown Mall is still a great place to visit.” After LaPanta’s father Mike retired in 1991, he and his wife Ann wanted a project to keep them busy. The LaPantas and their sons Jon and Jason fell for Char lottesville and the Downtown Mall—“a perfect fit,” Jon recounts. The Baggby’s name came from the
brown paper bags in which they serve their food, “like the lunch bag you carried to school,” Jon says. LaPanta credits the shop’s decades of success to his family’s hands-on presence, making their dishes multiple times a day in small batches to ensure freshness. Jon and his wife Erin are the sole remaining founders involved with the business, but it remains a family affair; their kids often help out at the shop. Like many local restaurants, Baggby’s faced crushing challenges from COVID-19. “The pandemic killed our business,” LaPanta says. They’ve scaled back and spread out their seating, hoping to roll back those changes as the pandemic recedes. “We are lucky to have great loyal customers that have really helped keeping us afloat.” Pandemic or not, those diners keep coming back to Baggby’s for the comfort food they love. LaPanta says the turkey/bacon/avocado Remarkable and the grilled Navajo and Pueblo chicken subs are perennial favorites. “Our chicken salad has always been popular,” LaPanta says, “but now folks are ordering by the pound for use at home.” With vaccinations underway, the LaPantas are looking forward to brighter times for Baggby’s—and perhaps the chance to try something new, like the cold lamb chop sandwich that Jon has wanted to add to the menu for years. “Keep a look out,” he says, “it may appear as a special soon.”—Nathan Alderman
Spring/Summer Knife&Fork 21
Jerk chicken, pulled pork, and sous poulet (aka chicken with gravy) shine in Pearl Island's Trifecta Platter.
THE LUNCH ISSUE
PLATTER CHATTER Pearl Island’s lunch special is a triple threat
Pearl Island's Sober Pierre captures the flavors of Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Haiti in each of his dishes.
hree meats, rice, peas, salad, plantains, and slaw. It’s the Trifecta Platter at Pearl Island Café, and it means you don’t have to make decisions anymore. “Our jerk and pork platters for the meat folks are up there in popularity, but it depends,” café owner Sober Pierre says. “For me, the best is the sous poulet.” What happens when you order them all is a harmonious collection of roasted and stewed meats alongside accompaniments designed to make the mains sing their island song. The cafés simply seasoned Caribbean pulled pork comes out of a 225-degree oven after nearly 16 hours. The sous poulet, or chicken with gravy, serenades with sauce.
Pearl Island roasts the yardbird, collects the juices, simmers in gravy, and returns the protein from whence it came. Then boom—the jerk chicken brings in traditional island spices like cayenne pepper, allspice, garlic, and ginger. “[We’re] Caribbean overall, and that captures Puerto Rican and Jamaican and Haitian,” Pierre says. The Trifecta’s sides are never off-key, either, with traditional Puerto Rican-style rice and pigeon peas, kale dressed in shallot vinaigrette and tossed with watermelon radishes and shredded carrots, fried-to-order plantains, and pikliz. “Pikliz—that’s our spicy pickled slaw,” Pierre says. “It’s a very traditional Haitian dish that goes with anything fatty.” Yes, pik-lease.—Shea Gibbs
FOR HOME COOKIN’ Bring some of Pearl Island’s signature flavor to your own kitchen with a jar of pikliz (pronounced “peekleez”), a spicy, citrusy coleslaw-like condiment straight from the Caribbean. A family recipe of owner Sober Pierre’s, pile pikliz on hot dogs, salads, or anything fried.
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PICK IT & PACK IT
THE LUNCH ISSUE
What are the best local places to procure that perfect picnic?
o you want to stroll into the foothills Sound of Music-style with your wicker baskets and acoustic guitar. And you want that Alpine meadow feeling on a warm spring day. While you might not have outfits made from old curtains like the von Trapps, you can at least fill those baskets with a brimming bounty. Check out these four spots for some of the best pack-away provisions this side of Salzburg, Austria.
DIY a cheeseboard from the hand-picked selections at Feast!, then head out for lunch en plein air.
Feast! The veteran of the Charlottesville gourmet grocery scene, Feast! offers fine food, a full deli, and fulsome beverages. Over almost two decades, owners Kate Collier and Eric Gertner have gotten to know the local food supply chain as well as anyone, and it shows in the shop. The prosciutto & mozzarella sandwich, with roasted tomato spread, local basil, olive oil, and sea salt on baguette, is a can’t-miss, but keep your peepers peeled for the seasonal specials as well.
Greenwood Gourmet Grocery offers great sandwiches, mostly made with local ingredients, but if you’d prefer to pick a different picnic path, hand it to the hand pies. Greenwood’s baker makes the crust in-house and fills the flaky favorite with what’s fresh. “It’s whatever he feels like trying out,” owner Nina Promisel says. “This week, we had a bunch of carrots and he roasted them with Middle Eastern spices and put them with caramelized leeks and feta.”
Multiverse Kitchens (formerly Keevil & Keevil Grocery) It can be hard to keep up with Harrison and Jennifer Keevil’s latest restaurant and/or grocery concept, but no matter—the dishes are always delish. The Keevils’ rebranded Multiverse Kitchens is now offering C’ville’s first digital food hall, where you can place an order to pick up sandwiches, burgers, sausages, bowls and skewers, or fried chicken. Go with the full fried bird, and don’t forget the fresh-baked cookies.
Greenwood Gourmet Grocery
Main Street Market MSM’s been assembling some of Charlottesville’s best no-frills sandwiches for more than 10 years now. And since the mainstay on Main Street is also a full-service grocery, you won’t leave wanting for fresh produce, fine cheese, cured meat, or wine and beer. For stuffed sammy perfection, try the herb oven roasted turkey with provolone cheese, watercress, tomato, red onion, and paprika cream cheese spread on ciabatta.—Shea Gibbs
ehind the window of a blue and white food truck with a cartoon rooster on its side, Kelsey Naylor and Anna Gardner ladle heaping helpings of ramen, chock full of locally sourced ingredients. But their menu is anything but traditional—they’ve put their own spin on every dish. The chefs’ signature option, Basan Peitan, combines chicken, greens, serrano pepper, and an onsen egg in a spicy, creamy chicken broth. “It also has pork rinds on top,” Naylor says, “which brings me a lot of joy.” If Naylor and Gardner’s names seem familiar, it’s because they’re veterans of the local restaurant scene. A graduate of Johnson & Wales culinary school, Naylor has worked at Lampo, Ten, Timbercreek Market, and The Alley Light, while Gardner has worked in the kitchen at Junction, Oakhurst Inn, The Ivy Inn. It was while they were both working at Public Fish & Oyster that they decided to join forces and spend a year in Japan studying cuisine. “I’ve always wanted to cook Japanese food. So, being able to live and cook there for a year was awesome,” says
26 Knife&Fork Winter
Kelsey Naylor says the truck's signature dish, Basan Peitan, brings her a lot of joy, owed mostly to the pork rind topping.
THE LUNCH ISSUE
Gardner. “I come from a fairly standard meat-and-potatoes family. (I’m not kidding—I didn’t even know pickles could be made from anything but cucumbers until I was in my late teens.) When we were in Japan, I fell in love with all of the new flavor possibilities and ingredient treatments.” When they returned, they opened Basan—but not without help from their mothers, Jennifer Naylor (who owns Mama Bird’s Kimchi) and Kathy Gardner, who helped with taste testing. “We did a lot of R&D on recipes and would make something 50 times in a row until we felt like we had it right,” Gardner says. They launched the food truck in September of 2020, and it garnered such support that a brick-and-mortar isn’t out of the question in the future. For now, the chefs are content to develop more interesting, surprising recipes, and expand the menu. (Try the kare pan—a deep-fried curry bread, only available on Saturday mornings at The Farmers Market at IX.)
WHERE TO FIND IT Friday: Decipher Brewing 5-8pm Saturday: The Farmer’s Market at IX Art Park 9am-1pm, Potter’s Craft Cider 4-8pm Sunday: Potter’s Craft Cider noon-6pm
Basan brings Japan to the ’ville
Monday: JBird Supply Coffee Roaster at IX noon-2pm, Random Row Brewing Co. 5-8pm
WINE FOR ALL
With an eye toward the past, True Heritage creates a vision for the future
By Paul H. Ting
rue Heritage is a still nascent Virginia wine project founded by George Hodson and Emily Pelton. You might recognize those names—the siblings are part of the family behind Veritas Vineyard and Winery and Flying Fox Vineyard. Hodson, CEO of True Heritage, says the new undertaking is a partnership between the Veritas team, which has 20 years of experience in growing and making Virginia wine, and local landowners who wish to grow grapes.
The name True Heritage evokes a sense of the past, an intentional reference to the fact that grape growing and winemaking in Virginia finds its origins in the 1600s and in such places as the Jamestown settlement and Colonial Williamsburg. However, the vision that Hodson and Pelton express is not just about the past, but also firmly set in the future of the Virginia wine industry. In short, they want to move away from Virginia wine that is produced only to sell to visitors out of a tasting room and toward higher production volumes intended to be distributed and sold in stores and restaurants in other states and, ultimately, other countries.
“I was getting tired of hearing the ‘I didn’t even know you made wine in Virginia’ statement,” Pelton says. “The reason a lot of people are not aware is that agritourism is so popular that most (Virginia) wine is consumed out of tasting rooms on site and there is limited availability outside of that.” Hodson elaborates. “Our fear is that if we only sell Virginia wine to people when they come visit us, we limit ourselves to a fraction of customers and never gain the recognition…that we and other producers achieve here in Virginia,” he says. “We want to be a wine region and not (just) a wine-themed tourist experience.”
Where to find it Look for True Heritage in retail locations such as grocery stores and wine shops, as well as in select restaurants. You can also buy directly online at trueheritage. com. Later this year, with the anticipation of easing pandemic restrictions, the winery plans to offer opportunities for local wine lovers to participate in tastings.
IMAGES COURTESY TRUE HERITAGE WINE
“I was getting tired of hearing
A large part of achieving wider distribution is to eliminate the expenses associated with having a “destination winery” and focus on wine production rather than tourism and events. To this end, True Heritage has no physical presence. There is no tasting room, no expensive buildings or landscaping to maintain, no staff required for service. By reducing overhead and keeping prices low, the siblings seek to make Virginia wine more accessible to the consumer when it is ultimately sold in retail stores and restaurants. With its commitment to Virginia wine, True Heritage chose to concentrate on grape varieties known to do well in the state and, specif-
ically, in the Monticello American Viticultural Area: viognier, petit manseng, cabernet franc, and petit verdot. Pelton, who serves as head winemaker, notes her winemaking practices are fairly minimal, in line with her philosophy of producing wines to express a true sense of place. Here, “place” is not just the state of Virginia or even the geographically more limited Monticello AVA, but rather specific vineyards planted on historic estates located in Keswick, in the southwest mountains. Currently, there are three such sites planted with 67 acres under vine and a fourth vineyard to be planted soon, which will add an additional 20 acres.
The goal is not just to sell more wine. Rather, there is a deep desire to help Virginia achieve national and international recognition as a wine region. Perhaps, one day wine drinkers will be talking about Monticello or Keswick in the same way they now talk about Bordeaux, Chablis, or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. “This is definitely a long-term vision,” Pelton says, “and we are fully committed to planting and increasing production levels in order to get Virginia wine competitive in the marketplace. Our love for the Virginia wine industry is at the heart of this project…we want more people drinking Virginia wine!”
COURTESY SUSAN SWEENEY
The Last Bite
All for one While we’ve never really understood the expression “Have your cake and eat it, too” (if you have it, why wouldn’t you eat it?), it becomes clearer in the context of Cake Bloom’s floral funfetti baby cake. Measuring in at 4 inches, it’s not much bigger than your average restaurant dessert, and because it’s sprinkled with dried botanicals (hibiscus petals, blue cornflower, calendula, and thyme) rather than Pillsbury jimmies, it’s practically a health food. So yeah—have it, eat it, lick the plate clean.—Caite Hamilton 30 Knife&Fork
You’re gonna need a bigger mouth.
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