The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Gearharts

Must Try: Miso Caramels from Gearhart’s

Miso

Umami lovers take note!

Miso Caramels, now available at Gearhart’s, are unlike any we’ve ever tasted.  And, they’re delicious.

Tim Gearhart, long recognized as among the nation’s best chocolatiers, is branching further and further into the world of caramels, and his latest creation has been on his mind for years.  Gearhart, a former pastry chef, once created a dessert using a miso caramel sauce, which was so well received that he considered bottling it.  Gearhart eventually decided it would be simpler to use the concept for caramel candies instead.  To the standard caramel formula of butter, sugar, and cream, Gearhart adds Miso paste and toasted sesame seeds.  The result is a sweet and savory umami bomb that, because of its rich, meaty flavor, does something that many sweets cannot: satisfies.

Five Finds on Friday: Mike Ketola

Ketola

On Fridays, we feature five food finds selected by local chefs and personalities.  Today’s picks come from Mike Ketola, who cooks at not one but two restaurants that have been inducted into The Charlottesville 29.  Ketola is the longtime sous chef of Mas, and also cooks at Barbecue Exchange.  Ketola’s picks:

1)  Glazed Blueberry Cake Donut at Spudnuts.  “Is there anything they can’t do?”

2)  Tequila-lime Chocolate at Gearharts.  “The aged anejo tequila-lime fondant is the perfect complement to the intensely rich and sweet white chocolate casing.”

3)  Seared Jumbo lump Crab and Corn Cake at Three Notch’d Grill.  “Lightly textured, virtually exploding with flavor- the velvety lemon beurre blanc and refreshingly crisp jicama slaw really take it to the next level.”

4)  Pappardelle Ragu at Tavola.  “Rich and meaty pork ragu, supple ribbons of housemade pasta: comfort food turned up to 11!”

5)  Chicken Shawarma at Aromas Cafe.  “I always get it with extra habiba sauce, which is really out of this world tasty!”

Two for Tuesday: Pizza Bella and Gearharts

1)  Heart-shaped Pizza at Pizza Bella.  Never the type to dine out on Valentine’s Day, we prefer to celebrate at home.  Pizza Bella makes that easy.  For years, we’ve observed an annual tradition of ordering a heart-shaped pizza from Pizza Bella, and taking it home to enjoy with a bottle of wine.  What could be more romantic than a heart-shaped pie – half his and half hers?  Besides, unlike some area restaurants, Pizza Bella’s food costs the same on Valentine’s Day as it does any other day of the year.

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2)  Malted Milk Hazelnut at Gearharts.  There’s got to be chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and in Charlottesville, we are blessed to have one of the nation’s best chocolatiers.  Don’t take our word for it, just ask Saveur Magazine, Epicurious, Travel & Leisure, the TODAY show, or any of the many others who have sung the praises of Gearharts.  Better yet, try for yourself.  It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite among the sixteen varieties of fine chocolates, though the rich Criolla and spicy Maya are two serious contenders.  So, we asked the expert: Tim Gearhart, the man behind all of the creations.  He says that if forced to pick just one, he’d go with the Malted Milk Hazelnut, which is whipped Gianduja malted milk and toasted hazelnuts, dipped in creamy milk chocolate.  Who are we to disagree?  And, good news for procrastinating lovers:  there is still time to order the Valentine’s Day Trio, which includes a 16-piece Assortment (one of each their chocolates), a four piece box of Buttery Pistachio Toffee dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate, and a solid Valentine’s Day Heart.  And, again, there’s no holiday upcharge.  In fact, at $35, the trio is considerably less expensive than the sum of the three items sold individually.  We won’t tell your Valentine their gift was on discount.

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