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    Get your outdoor #zen on with #yoga in the #stables at Salamander #Resort. You might even be joined by the #barn #cat, Pumpkin! #loveva #virginia #earthday #vaoutdoors #repost #photooftheday#pet #stable @salamanderresort
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  • Archive for the ‘Food and Wine’ Category

    Chocolate Lovers’ Delight

    by Casey | Posted on February 6th, 2014

    Chocolate is a tempter. Indulgent, smooth, delicious. Fulfill your sweet cocoa desires with a visit to a Virginia chocolatier or an upcoming event.

     

     Chocolate Artisans

    The Ultimate Chocolate Experience by Chocolate Spike

    The Ultimate Chocolate Experience by Chocolate Spike

    Alexandria – Artfully Chocolate - Part art gallery, part chocolatier, part cocoa bar and completely fabulous!

    Arlington – Artisan Confections - Specializing in high-quality, hand-made chocolates that are elegant in both design and flavor.

    Blacksburg – Chocolate Spike – Artistic chocolate endeavors by by Genie Ranck, producer of exciting creations.

    Charlottesville – Gearhart’s Fine Chocolates - An artisanal chocolate shop in Historic Downtown Charlottesville that specializes in handmade confections of uncompromising quality.

    Dayton – Warfel’s Sweet Shoppe - Homemade in the heart of Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley: old fashioned creme fudge, chocolate creme truffles, and “sugar free” chocolates, just to name a few.

    Glass House Winery

    Glass House Winery

    Free Union – Glass House Winery – You read right. A winery that not only excels at wine making, but also makes their own in-house chocolates. Win-win.

    Harrisonburg – Chocolate Occasions – See for yourself how the goods are made, then take home a box or two!

    Lexington – Cocoa Mill Chocolate Co. - Offering a wide assortment of chocolates in dark, bittersweet, milk and white. Also featuring turtles — hand poured caramel over fresh pecans topped with milk chocolate; butter cremes, hand rolled truffles … the list goes on!

    Louisa – Cooper Vineyards – Drink your chocolate! Noche Chocolate is a Virginia Norton dessert wine infused with chocolate. It’s also an award-winning wine (2012 Silver Virginia Governor’s Cup and others).

    Richmond – Chocolates by Kelly - See chocolatiers make world-class chocolates right before your eyes. Take a class, buy a gift, try something new and exciting, or taste a treat that’ll make you feel like a kid again!

    Richmond – Gearhart’s Fine Chocolate - Voted one of Chocolatier Magazine’s “Top 20 Artisan Chocolatiers” in the U.S., Tim Gearhart combines Single-Bean Venezuelan Chocolates, fine local and exotic ingredients, and passionate craftsmanship to create chocolates of unparalleled depth and complexity.

    Virginia Beach – The Royal Chocolate - Indulge from cases filled with store made chocolates using Belgian Chocolate – truffles, creams, caramels, chocolate and caramel coated pretzels, not to mention the famous chocolate covered apples!

    Williamsburg – MAD About Chocolate - A chocolate cafe by Marcel Desaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate and nine other cookbooks.

     

    Chocolate Events

    February 7 – Winchester – Chocolate Escape – Thirteen participating downtown restaurants are offering a $2 chocolate sampling menu while and 16 retailers have chocolate themed deals and offers available.

    February 8 – Warrenton – 4th Annual Chocolate Extravaganza – This is a chocolate tasting fundraiser in memory of a 22 year old who lost her life to Leukemia. Six samples for $10.

     

    Chocolate and Wine

    February 7-15 – Bridgewater – Wine & Chocolate Pairing in the Tasting Room at Bluestone Vineyard – Eight wines paired with eight Warfel’s Sweet Shoppe chocolates for $12.

    February 8 – Oak Grove – A Taste of Wine & Chocolate at Ingleside Vineyards - Indulge in the finest Ingleside wines with an elegant chocolate experience. Reservations required.

    February 11 – Norfolk – Chocolate Wine Pairing at Mermaid Winery – Four pairings for $20. Reservations required.

    February 14 – Stanley – Valentine Chocolate and Wine at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard – Join in the chocolate fondue and wine! Get a plate of dipping goodies and a glass of wine for $15.

    February 14-16 – Middleburg – Wine and Chocolate Weekend at Greenhill Winery and Vineyards – Handcrafted nut-free/gluten-free chocolates by locally owned Simply Nut Free will be paired with four Greenhill wines.

    February 14-16 – Purcellville – Breaux Vineyards’ Chocolate & Cabernet Tasting – Hand-rolled truffles and imported chocolate are paired with Breaux cabernet. $30; reservations suggested.

    February 15 – Floyd – Valentine’s Weekend Wine and Chocolate Pairing at Chateau Morrisette –  Chateau Morrisette’s wine-crafter, Rachel Lagergren and Wilbur’s Chocolates Master Chocolatier, Dona Peters will give an expert presentation of five wines paired with Wilbur Chocolates. $40 per person; reservations and pre-payment required.

     

    Where do you find your favorite chocolate? Leave a comment to tell us!

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Events, Food, Food and Wine | 1 Comment

    5 Food and Drink Experiences for 2014

    by Casey | Posted on January 29th, 2014

    Whether your palate makes you a gourmand or not, there are fun food and drink experiences for everyone this year.

    1. Slurp up the favorite delicacy of the Chesapeake Bay - Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) – during this, the 40th anniversary of its shell being named the official shell of Virginia. Seven oyster regions yield a variety of flavors, pushing Virginia to become the Oyster Capital of the East Coast.

    - Virginia Oysters
    Oyster Festivals

    Texas Tavern

    Texas Tavern in Roanoke, VA is famous for their hot dogs. Ask for a “hot, with.”

    2. It’s been 20 years since Legend Brewing Co. in Richmond began handcrafting their legendary lagers and ales, making it Central Virginia’s oldest microbrewery. Their patio overlooking the James River boasts a great view of downtown Richmond and is an awesome place to be on a sunny day.

    - Virginia Craft Beer

    3. Eat cheap but really well when you take a tip from Southern Living. Their January 2014 issue includes “The South’s Best Cheap Eats Under $10″ and we weren’t surprised to find Pasture‘s Pimento Cheese (Richmond), Peter Chang China Cafe’s Dan Dan Noodles with Beef (Richmond), Sally Bell’s Kitchen‘s Boxed Lunch (Richmond) or Texas Tavern‘s “Hot, With” (Roanoke) among the recommendations.

    - 10 Pies Worth the Drive
    22 Places to Eat Like a Local
    - 22 Great Breakfast Spots
    - 17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

    Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.

    Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.

    4. If you’re a connoisseur of fine Virginia wines, you’ll be elated to learn that 2014 potentially ushers in EIGHT new wineries in locations such as Delaplane, North Garden, Orange, Amissville, Barhamsville, Berryville, Lovettsville, and Purcellville. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wineville!

    - Virginia Wine

    5. Love the local flavors. From farmers’ markets to five-star restaurants, the taste of what’s real, authentic, and right out the back door simply can’t be beat.

    - Farm to Table Dining
    - Culinary Virginia

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide.



    Beer, Food, Food and Wine, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

    48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 1 of 8

    by Casey | Posted on September 3rd, 2013

    Fall in Virginia. What is there to say except that it’s stunning, breathtaking, amazing, vibrant, crisp and that there must be at least one hundred more adjectives that can describe the immense beauty of the season. This fall promises to be especially incredible, as Virginia’s summer was wetter and cooler than usual – the perfect scenario for amazing foliage.

    The Priest OverlookWho would you pick to stand by your side at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook when the season is near or at peak? Probably your significant other, hand in hand. With that in mind, this is the first of eight posts that will give you grand ideas for ways to spend 48 hours in Virginia this fall. Enjoy!

     

     

    Much Ado About Staunton

    Virginia’s foliage spreads west to east and the Shenandoah Valley is one of the areas to see orange, red and yellow first. If you’re planning multiple fall getaways, start here.

    In Staunton, the food and foliage are as fine as the performing arts and history. With culture and culinary stock rising, you’d better get your foot in the door early to book a room in this neck of the Valley. Choose from quite a few accommodations – an inn such as Frederick House or Inn at Old Virginia, a fine historic hotel like Stonewall Jackson Hotel, or a Shakespeare-influenced stay at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast to round out a visit to Blackfriars Playhouse. You won’t go wrong with any of these.

    I mentioned the food. Food is important and you want to make sure Zynodoa is on your “to eat” list. Zynodoa’s ingredients are locally sourced and esteemed Chef James Harris is at the helm. Harris has kitchen management at the Mobil five-star The Inn at Little Washington under his belt.

    Dive deeper …

     

    Autumn Splendor in the Cabin Capital  of Virginia

    Luray is the Cabin Capital of Virginia. If you’re looking for a sweet, snuggly place for the two of you to be alone, look no further.

    Shenandoah Mountain Escape

    Shenandoah Mountain Escape

    Contact Shadow Mountain Escape to inquire about their luxury Ladybug or Bumblebee cabins. The last I checked, those two still had a Sunday-Monday availability in October. Mid-week stays are possible for the rest of fall.

    Another great option for a fall cabin getaway is to call Shenandoah River Cabins to ask about their Angler, Drifter and Paddler cabins, which all sit riverfront, have a queen bed with fireplace and a private hot tub. Each cabin still has weekend availability for September and October.

    In and around Luray you can enjoy Luray Caverns and a drive through or hike around Shenandoah National Park. Check out Skyland Resort Restaurant (highest elevation and amazing overlook from Shenandoah National Park), Circa ’31 and Triple Crown BBQ for great dining.

    Read more …

     

    Get Out on the Wine Trail of Botetourt County

    The Jackson, Cowpasture and James rivers are your playground this fall in Botetourt County. Or is it the wine that’s calling your name? Either way, a getaway to Buchanan will be a memorable one.

    Cowpasture River, Botetourt County

    Cowpasture River, Botetourt County

    Taste your way along the Wine Trail of Botetourt County, with a check-in at the Fincastle Vineyard Bed and Breakfast as a sure highlight. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll want to get connected with Twin River Outfitters for a kayak or canoe rental to experience the Head Waters of the James and the James River itself.

    There’s more …

     

    Touring and Tasting DC’s Wine Country

    Loving the wine theme? You’re going to LOVE Loudoun County, home to nearly 30 Virginia wineries! With that many to choose from, I can only wish you good luck!

    Choose from an abundant amount of luxury accommodations, the newest being Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Also consider Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne, Norris House Inn in Leesburg or the Briar Patch B&B in Middleburg. Each is unique and renowned in its own right. Then, let the fine dining and wining begin …

    To Eat:

    To Drink:

    Read more …

    The Inn at Little Washington

    The Inn at Little Washington

    Fall in Rappahannock County

    Art thrives in Washington and Rappahannock County. Retreat to The Inn at Little Washington, Gay Street Inn, or one of the other very fine accommodations nearby.

    From the center of this historic town, you’ll encounter several types of art galleries and can also schedule a plein air landscape painting lesson with artist Nora Harrington. Your handcrafted creation will be quite the memento to recall your trip.

    Take a tour into “The Art of Whiskey” at Copper Fox Distillery and then on to the Artisanal Wineries of Rappahannock.

    See what else …

     

    Subscribe to receive our latest blog posts via email so you don’t miss a thing this fall! We have part two of the eight part 48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia series coming up Thursday, so keep an eye out.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.



    48 Hours, Couples, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Food and Wine, Outdoors, Wine | 1 Comment

    4 Ideas for Foodies Who LOVE the Outdoors

    by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2013

    You love food. You love the outdoors. Marry the two in Virginia, where we deliver both equally well.

    Kayak to wine, clams and oysters.

    Kayak to wine, clams and oysters.

    1. Take to the Atlantic or Chesapeake Bay and catch your own dinner, but leave the cooking to one of Virginia Beach’s fine establishments. They’ll prepare it any way you like while you enjoy a little time with the ones you love.

    2. Paddle away in a kayak for oysters, clams or even wine, if you like, from Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Find littleneck clams buried in the mud of Cherrystone Creek when you sign up for a kayak clamming tour with SouthEast Expeditions. SEE also offers a kayak winery tour to award-winning Chatham Vineyards or Holly Grove Vineyards. Check the calendar at Chatham to look for special oyster and Chardonnay pairings.

    Morel found by Steve Haas Mushrooms

    Morel found by Steve Haas Mushrooms

    3. Take a guided hunt for wild mushrooms! Really, take a guided hunt. I can’t overemphasize the need to hunt mushrooms with someone who KNOWS mushrooms. Connect with Steve Haas Mushrooms – HaaShrooms – in Richmond. He has the connections to lead you on “Wild Food Forays” in Virginia. After you reap the rewards of the hunt, ask for his HaaShrooms White Sauce recipe (goes great with Chicken of the Woods, he says).

    4. Hollin Farms in Delaplane is the only farm in Virginia (that I found) that allows you to dig your own peanuts (call to verify hours). What do you do with raw peanuts? See this Pinterest board of recipes or this previous post that includes Hotel Roanoke’s peanut soup!

    Of note is that Hollin Farms is located along the Fauquier County Wine Trail. Maybe you want to pair your dig with the pop of a cork or special pairing?

    5. So I said four in the title, but I have to give you a fifth …

    The season may have passed, but I have to include the capture-and-cook notion dreamed up by bon appétit: CICADAS. Yes, the plague that was hit-or-miss this spring in Virginia found its way into Richmond by way of three local chefs – Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture, Will Wienckowski of Ipanema, and John Seymore of Lunch. and Supper! Cicadas were caught and the trio of chefs developed recipes like Charleston Cheese Grits and Blackened Cicadas with Grilled Onions and Peppers. In the end, everyone agreed that the little (big) buggers will not be added to the menus. Try them at home? Recipe.

    As a foodie or outdoor adventurer, what would you like to do in Virginia? Do you have any thoughts on marrying the two? Comment below to let us know!



    Food and Wine, Outdoors | 1 Comment

    9 Summer Wine Festivals to LOVE

    by Casey | Posted on May 22nd, 2013

    Cheers to summer! If wine festivals strike your fancy, we have quite a list for you – one you’re sure to LOVE.

    ValleyFest - Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival

    ValleyFest – Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival

    Get your weekend started at ValleyFest – Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival at Massanutten. The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25. Sample the wines and microbrews of the Valley while live entertainment sets the atmosphere.

    If you find yourself on the other end of the Valley, check out the Cork &  Blues Fest at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista Saturday from 4 until 9 p.m. Six wineries will be on hand with blues bands setting the tone for relaxation.

    The Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival in Centreville is a weekend chock full fantastic cuisine, food trucks, food and wine seminars, and 40 Virginia wineries. It’s all happening June 1 & 2.

    Historic Lee Hall Mansion hosts the Summer Celebration Wine Festival in Newport News on June 8. Live music, exquisite food, unique craft vendors and the finest wines from Virginia wineries make this one of the most memorable events on the Peninsula.

    Does Dad like wine? He’ll certainly like the venue of the Reynolds Homestaed in Critz when you take him to the Bushels & Barrels Local Food, Wine & Beer Festival June 15. Free wine glass and wine and beer samples with admission. Beverages also available for purchase by the glass or bottle.

    More wine on Father’s Day? Yep. The Manassas Wine and Jazz Festival is June 16 on the Manassas Museum Lawn. Starting at noon, it promises to be an intimate, relaxing afternoon.

    Stroll around the Alexandria Food and Wine Festival for free on June 22 from noon until 7 p.m., but if you want to taste, you’ll need a ticket. Eight food samples for $15 and unlimited wine tasting with a $10 Wine Garden ticket.

    The Frontier Culture Museum welcomes you to the Shenandoah Valley Wine & Jazz Festival June 29 from 2 until 8 p.m. Your festival tickets allows you to browse this one-of-a-kind museum, too.

    The Horse and Hound Wine Festival at Johnson’s Orchard in Bedford is always a big draw. The festival centers around horse and hound events, of course, but Virginia wineries are pouring their best bottles all day long. It’s happening July 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Looking to round out the rest of your summer? Find more festivals at Virginia.org. Want to chime in with your favorite wine festival? Do it! Comment below.

     LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Couples, Food and Wine, Wine | 2 Comments