The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Good Food Awards

Virginia Abounds in Good Food Award Finalists

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We are blessed to live in an extraordinary food region. And, every now and then, someone happens to take notice. The latest are The Good Food Awards, which have long been good to Virginia, and this year is no exception.  To be eligible for a Good Food Award, in categories like Charcuterie, Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Spirits, etc., the 2,059 entrants must show that they meet “industry-specific environmental and social criteria.”  Then, a blind tasting by experts determines the winners.

Local artisans abound on this year’s list of Finalists, just announced. Just 23 charcuterie items made the finals, and two are right here in Charlottesville. Timbercreek Market’s Duck Rillette, created by Tucker Yoder, and JM Stock Provisions’ Beef Tongue Pastrami join a list of the who’s who of top American charcuterie producers.

It’s no secret that this is one of the nation’s best cider regions, too, and, of the thirteen cider finalists, two call the Commonwealth home: Blue Bee Cider – for their Harvest Ration – and Castle Hill Cider – for 1764 & Levity.

For coffee, Red Rooster Coffee Roaster’s Ethiopia Hambela Washed was honored. For Pantry items, Lindera Farms’ Black Locust Vinegar made the cut. And, for adult beverages, Port City Brewing’s Port City Porter made the Beer list and Texas Beach’s Bloody Mary Mix is a finalist in the Spirits category.

Congratulations to all of Virginia’s finalists. Winners will be announced on January 20, 2017.

JM Stock Wins Good Food Award, Again

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Repeat!

Last year, Charlottesville’s own JM Stock Provisions earned an unexpected win for Best Charcuterie from the Good Food Awards, which annually recognizes the nation’s best food and drink.  Today, they did it again.

For those unfamiliar with the awards, it is serious competition.  The list of finalists (let alone winners) reads like a who’s who of the nation’s best food artisans.  Even to be considered for an award, in categories like Cheese, Chocolate, Coffee, Oils, Spirits, an entrant must meet “industry-specific environmental and social criteria.”  Among those who survive the vetting process, a blind tasting determines the winners. Top scores in the tasting win.

In 2015, JM Stock’s pate de campagne took home the prize.  This year, it was their tasso ham. JM Stock is one of just four producers in the country to win Best Charcuterie each of the last two years, joining Avalanche Cheese Company, Island Trollers, and Olympia Provisions. “It’s a great honor to be in such great company two years in a row,” said JM Stock co-owner Matt Greene.  “I really appreciate how the Good Food Awards gives credit to the small producers. That’s rare these days.”

Making the tasso ham is a laborious, exact process. First, they separate Autumn Olive Farms pork legs into three muscle groups, and brine each for 7-10 days in a mixture of salt, sugar, chili, garlic, bay leaf, and “other odds and ends,” said Greene. Next comes a coating in a proprietary blend of spices, including several types of paprika,  chili, and “other things.”  The meat rests for several days for the coating to sink in before being smoked for the better part of a day. The result? Award-winning ham.

Voila.