The Charlottesville 29

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

Tag: Nona’s Italian Cucina

Five Finds on Friday: Whitney Matthews

Whitney

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Whitney Matthews of SpiceSea Gourmet, three time finalist for Best Food Truck in Charlottesville. To find her stellar po boys, lobster/shrimp rolls, and more around town, check the monthly calendar on her website and follow along on her Facebook page. Matthews’ picks:

1) Garlicky Greens Kraut from Farmstead Ferments. “I (and my mother) love this kraut. It goes with everything – eggs in the morning, sandwiches for lunch, or straight out of the jar. It’s always crisp and full of flavor. There is always a jar in my refrigerator.”

2) Canelés from MarieBette. “This is my extra special treat. Canelés are not a typical pastry to find, but MarieBette always has them and they are always delicious. Biting through the thick caramelized crust into the custard center is my favorite part.”

3) Cabernet Franc Reserve from Montifalco Vineyard. “This wine is wonderful. Not too heavy, lovely mouth feel, and pairs great with a steak. One of my favorite wines from the region. Also, the atmosphere at Montifalco is perect – welcoming, calming, small, and charming. The owners take special care to make sure each guest has an exceptional experience. They also bring in wines from around the world to add to their tasting flights. A great, small batch winery.”

4) Classic Tomato Sauce from Nona’s Italian Cucina. “Such a versatile sauce. I’ve used it for classic pasta dishes, baked with zucchini and mozzarella, and as a dip for baguettes. I always imagine a little Italian nona standing over a stove stirring her pot when I open a bottle. I love that you can taste the garlic and parsley shining through the tomato. The wife and husband team are frequently at the City Market and they take the time to give samples and talk about the sauce.”

5) Fried Chicken Paffle from Iron Paffles & Coffee. “First, all the sandwiches from Iron are amazing, but there’s something about the crunch of the chicken that keeps me coming back. You can build your own chicken paffle to fit what you desire – pepper jack cheese, aioli, and arugula for me. Also, their Instagram page is great. All those beautiful pictures of specials and desserts. It’s mouthwatering.”

paffle

Five Finds on Friday: Yvonne Cunningham

yvonne

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Yvonne Cunningham of Nona’s Italian Cucina, a new local artisan of small batch tomato sauce. Cunningham learned to make tomato sauce during her seven years in Naples, and the result is already winning raves at Charlottesville City Market. Now, her next batch will be available at retail stores as well. Starting November 21, in addition to Charlottesville City Market, you can find it at Market Street Wine, The Spice Diva, Nourish Louisa, and any other vendor wise enough to source from her. Also, December 1 she will offer free samples at The Spice Diva.  Follow along her Facebook page for updates. Cunningham’s picks:

1) Fried Chicken at Michie Tavern. “For a lil taste of 18th Century cooking, Michie Tavern is a must. Every time we have guests in town, we either begin/end with Michie Tavern of course before/after we have toured Jefferson’s Monticello. The staff is outfitted in 18th Century clothing to make your experience complete. From the home style southern fried chicken (best I have EVER tasted and they sell the breading so you can make it at home) to the homemade peach cobbler (to die for), Michie’s definitely does not disappoint. I love the buffet style set up, but if you would like more the staff kindly bring it to you. So get on over to the Ordinary for a lovely afternoon.”

2) In Bloom at Oakhart Social. “Just discovered this gem! The food and staff are amazing and I love the location. I am a people watcher! What really sticks out for me is the In Bloom cocktail. WOW, just WOW! So flavorful and delicious. I mean with lavender infused vodka, crème de violet, elderflower and rose water, how can you go wrong? A match made in heaven.”

3) The Birdwood at Bellair Market. “Now, Bellair Market and I go back a ways. Remember the derecho of 2012? We had been living in Crozet since 2007 and must have driven past Bellair thousands of times and just never stopped. Fast forward to late June of 2012. The derecho blasts through Crozet and Charlottesville, and we are without power for days, but miraculously Bellair Market had power and was feeding the masses. The line was out the door! I said what the heck lets see what the hype is about (plus we were starving) and stepped inside. It smelled like a bakery, as the ovens had been running non-stop baking fresh bread. I stood in line and ordered one of many choices they have of sandwiches. They also make homemade soups and salads are made fresh daily. I was so impressed. What I thought was a gas station/mini mart was actually an extraordinary kitchen, making amazing quality, healthy products. My favorite sandwich is the Birdwood, yup named for the golf course right across the street. French bread with a delicious herb mayo, Havarti cheese, roasted turkey breast, red onions, peppers and romaine lettuce. I have a difficult time deciding on which sandwich, I haven’t tried them all, but all I have tried have been phenom!”

4) Donuts at Chiles Orchard. “Very close to my home and my heart. I spend a lot of time at the orchard from late spring, picking strawberries; early summer, picking cherries; mid summer, picking peaches and hopes of grabbing some of those delicious figs they get from another local farmer; fall for apples, cider and of course pumpkins. Going out to Chiles Orchard is like visiting family. Lisa, one of the employees at Chiles, and I really struck up a friendship. She is great and is always so helpful and answers all my questions about the fruit that is in season. Favorite thing at Chiles: apple cider and peach donuts, yum!”

5) Artichoke Pate at Early Mountain Vineyards. “Not only is the drive beautiful as is the view of the mountains once you arrive, but the wines and food are scrumptious! My personal favorite is the artichoke pate, I know right? Creamy, garlicky and loaded with artichoke hearts, served with cornichons, roasted red pepper and New York style crackers. Oh My! Another favorite is the charred carrot salad: charred carrots and parsnips, feta dill crema, and arugula. The feta dill crema totally brings the salad together. Also, the Early Mountain Vineyard Rose, is light crisp and very satisfying, one of my favorite wines!”