The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Five Finds on Friday: Stephanie Williams


Photo by Jamie Kay.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Stephanie Williams of La Vache Microcreamery, maker of extraordinary handmade caramels.  A modern day renaissance woman, the mother of two is a trained architect who also co-founded the outstanding wine buying club The Wine Guild, and occasionally combines her loves of architecture and wine by designing custom wine cellars.  La Vache caramels are available at select outlets throughout the area.  Williams’ picks:

1)  Passionfruit Cheesecake at The Alley Light.  “There is not a better dessert on any menu in Charlottesville. Jose de Brito is a master of the kitchen – if he cooked a shoe there is no doubt I would eat it and it would be delicious.” (Note: kudos also belong to pastry chef Robin McDaniel.)

2)  Brioche from Albemarle Baking Company.  “Nothing says Saturday morning like buttery flaky french toast made from ABC’s brioche with real maple syrup.”

3)  Chef’s Tasting Menu at the Clifton Inn. “Chef Tucker Yoder knows how to highlight the ‘terroir’ of vegetables unlike anything I have ever experienced before – always with an unexpected twist, always with very few and simple ingredients, always delicious. Put your taste buds in Tucker’s hands for an evening.”

4) Toss-up between Lamb Bacon at JM Stock Provisions & Supply and the Almond Cupcakes at Sweethaus. “Both are variations on classics and both are insanely good.”

5)  Pig & Fig Terrine by Smoking Goose from Feast!  “I can’t go on a picnic without this ever again. What a treat!”




Feast! Visits the Fancy Food Show


Kelsey Gillan (left) and Kelsey Vergin

The good ladies of Feast! traveled to New York City last week for the Fancy Food Show, where 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and regions showcased more than 180,000 products.  Kelsey Gillan and Kelsey Vergin, both Feast managers, were there to expand their palates, search out new discoveries, and connect with existing vendors.  They returned to Charlottesville in awe of what they saw, and eager to share:

General Impressions

“Beyond huge. Basically a big convention center filled with food. A wide range of foods and businesses, from a family owned business from Virginia to European companies selling prosciutto and cheese to big corporations. It was overwhelming to say the least, but you just take it one aisle at a time.”

view of aisles


  • Health. “There were several trends at the food show but the big general idea we saw was a shift towards more health conscious food. We saw a lot of foods being made with chia and quinoa vs. potatoes or wheat. Many vendors were emphasizing what was in their products: non GMO corn, no corn syrup, etc.  Gluten free was an obvious trend. Hence the use of chia, quinoa, and chickpea as substitutes.”
  • Coconut. “Holy coconut! Gotta say, we love this trend. Coconut water, oil, chips, flour (kinda weird), ice cream–we’ll take it.”
  • Sriacha. “Sriracha in everything. Sauces, dips, even a Sriracha caramel. Gross.”

The Kelseys also said they observed “LOTS of younger producers and newer businesses that were health forward and friendly. Based on who we are, we obviously like this shift and hope it continues.”  We tried to pry out of them some of their favorite new discoveries, but we’ll just have to wait to see them at Feast. “We don’t want to get too specific with new products,” they said, “but would say to keep your eyes out for new snack mixes and the always growing and changing cheese department!”  Stay tuned.

Five Finds on Friday: Sara Adduci


Photo by Justin Ide.

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  This week’s picks come from Sara Adduci, cheesemonger of Feast!.  Last weekend, Adduci helped make Charlottesville proud at The Cheesemonger Invitational, in New York City, where top cheesemongers from around the country competed against one another in cutting, selling, tasting, wrapping, and proving their cheese knowledge.  Adduci finished in 4th place while fellow Charlottesville monger Nadjeeb Chouaf took 2nd place.  A great showing for Charlottesville.  Adduci’s picks:

1)  Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit at Ace Biscuit & Barbecue.  “I just adore breakfast and brunch foods and these are simply fantastic! It’s truly hard for me to pick a single item in this category, because I also have a big crush on the ginger scones from Albemarle Baking Company and the BFP (big f****ing pancake) with bacon from Brookville.”

2)  Spanish Tuna Salad and White Bean Salad from Feast! with Pea Shoots from Manakintowne Specialty Growers. “Mix these three items together in a bowl and you get my ever-so-lazy, non-cooking, dinner or lunch more often than I care to admit.”

3)  African Curry Powder from The Spice Diva.  “Simply saute any gorgeous, local veggies that suit your fancy with garlic, onions, and this flavorful, not too hot, green curry, top with toasted pine nuts and serve over the nutty, Kagayaki 6 Grain Rice blend from Seafood @ West Main. Delish.”

4)  Farmhouse Dry Cider from Potter’s Craft Cider.  “I love this stuff, in all its bone dry, bubbly, apple-y glory. It is great on its own and also great as a cocktail mixer. I like it with the brown liquors, but I seriously think you could use it wherever club soda is called for with great success. I have some mulberry gin steeping and I look forward to trying them together.”

5)  Linguica Sausage from The Rock Barn. “I just can’t get over my deep affection for this Portuguese style sausage. I make a simple marinara with a couple of links of this sausage pulled from the casing, add fresh sheep and goat milk ricotta from Twenty Paces, some fresh spinach or basil and serve it over pasta. Then, the next day I take the leftover sauce, add black beans, and serve an over-easy egg on top. So good.”


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