Farm-to-Table to table happenings HOMEMADE HIBISCUS
TUSCAN CHEF VISITS TAVOLA
It was when Meryem and Ali Erarac’s son, Furkan, decided to sell lemonade that Pure Hibi began. Instead of making lemonade, Meryem remembered an interesting tea mentioned by a friend and UVA professor—hibiscus tea. Made from the dry petals of the hibiscus flower, hibiscus tea has been brewed for thousands of years. So the Eraracs tried it, and the tea they brewed at home resulted in a beautiful and tasty red-colored drink. Soon after, Meryem and Ali began to experiment and fuse their tea with flavors such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. Now, their Pure Hibi hibiscus flower tea is currently being sold at Whole Foods, Revolutionary Soup, The Market at Bellair, Nude Food, Sticks Kebob Shop, Greenwood Gourmet Grocery in Crozet, Hunt Country Market and Deli in Free Union, Salt Artisan Market and more.
Michael and Tami Keaveny, owners of local favorite Tavola Restaurant in Belmont, welcomed seventh generation Italian chef Roberta Vivetta Cintelli this summer. Head Chef of Il Falcone restaurant in Charlottesville’s Italian sister city, Poggio a Caiano, Cintelli spent one week learning and teaching in the kitchen at Tavola, culminating in a food-and-wine street festival. Upon arrival, Cintelli and translator Caterina Martini joined the Keavenys at Hamiltons’ at First & Main, where she experienced some American cuisine and expressed her admiration for authentic American dishes like the soul food at Southern Crescent in Belmont. However, she was eager to get into the kitchen at Tavola and cook herself. Cintelli said, “I would like to teach my traditions, but I also want to learn as much as possible.” Acknowledging the changes in the world since she first started cooking more than 50 years ago at the age of 20, Cintelli remains humble and seeks to gain as much knowledge as she can.
HERITAGE HARVEST FESTIVAL This fall, the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello highlighted inspiring chefs, farmers and cuisine from around the region. Guests to Monticello enjoyed a tour of Jefferson’s home as well as a stroll around the gardens and grounds, which were filled with diverse local food tasting tents, speakers, booths for sampling wines, beers and ciders as well as shops and artisans proudly sharing their wares. Chef Patrick O’Connell sat down to sign copies of his recent book for eager fans, The Inn at Little Washington: A Magnificent Obsession. Over the years, O’Connell has helped to craft an exceptional reputation for The Inn at Little Washington. With his delectable flavors and multiple awards, it has been a leader for the region. Another notable attraction at this year’s festival was a seminar with Ira Wallace, a founder of the festival and the owner of the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Ira educated festivalgoers on the history and benefits of saving collard seeds and other biennial greens of the southeast. Wallace is actively involved throughout the Virginia farming community helping people control their food supply through sustainable gardening practices.
FARM AID COMES TO VIRGINIA Dave Matthews along with fellow Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson and Neil Young headlined the all-day affair that featured a unique line-up of artists across all genres. For its 31st anniversary, this annual music and food festival returned to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, in September. Farm Aid’s Homegrown Concessions provided concertgoers with family-farm produced food that adheres to its core values. The foods were strictly produced by family farmers using ecological practices and sold for a fair price. Patrons could choose to dine on humanely raised meats, local and organic produce and ingredients as well as bread made with organic flour. Since its first concert when Bob Dylan, Billy Joel and Tom Petty took the stage in support of struggling American family farmers back in 1985, Farm Aid has raised over $50 million in support of local farmers. Closer to home, Blenheim Vineyards hosted a farm-to-feast celebration to support our own Local Food Hub and Farm Aid, with Wine & Country Living happy to join in the celebration.
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Charlottesville Wine & Country Living Fall 2016