Over the last two weeks, I have had two delicious encounters with Slow Food RVA. While the group was vaguely familiar, these gustatory experiences have been a delightful introduction to our local branch of the national Slow Food movement. According to its website,
Slow Food RVa is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization which works collaboratively to champion the local foods of central Virginia and their sources, producers and historical traditions. We welcome volunteers of all ages, skills and backgrounds to join us in developing and staging our programs.
Our mission is to reconnect Greater Richmond area residents with the people, traditions, plants, animals, fertile soils and waters that produce our regional food, thus promoting sustainability and preserving biodiversity. Through a range of volunteer-led social & educational events and projects, school outreach programs, public awareness-raising activities and advocacy work, we strive to link the pleasure of enjoying fresh, local, seasonal food with a responsible commitment to community and the environment.
Both of these unique events definitely raised my awareness of our local foods while delivering tremendous culinary pleasure.
Fire, Flour & Fork
Created by the ladies behind the Real Richmond Food Tours, the inaugural Fire, Flour & Fork was tagged a gathering for the food curious. Celebrity chefs from all over the country teamed up with local chefs to create one-of-a-kind dining experiences for the fortunate few able to score tickets to the almost completely sold-out lunches and dinners held Thursday, October 30th through Sunday, November 2nd. The weekend also included speakers, book signings and tastings.
TEdF and I lucked into dinner at Rappahannock, which Esquire magazine named one of the 15 Best New Restaurants of 2014 just days before our meal. The non-profit beneficiary of this feast, dubbed Preserving Virginia, was Slow Food RVA.
Concocted by Rappahannock chef, Dylan Fultineer, and Chicago-based celebrity chef, Paul Virant, the menu for the evening naturally included Virginia seafood and pork, as well as preserved ingredients, Virant’s cause célèbre.
Needless to say, when your meal has been prepared by one of Zagat‘s 10 Southern chefs to watch (May 2014 – Fultineer) and the Michelin-star chef of Vie and a self-proclaimed Jar Star who recently published the book, The Preservation Kitchen (Virant), you lick your plate clean.
In the spirit of the night before Halloween, a different beer from Roseland, Virginia’s Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company accompanied each course. What a surprise to discover how much I enjoyed the Ramsey’s Draft Dry Irish Stout.
The outstanding preparations and presentations deserve rhaphsody-filled paragraphs, but I will spare you needless salivating.
We left feeling sated, hip and happy to have helped support Slow Foods RVA. Fire, Flour & Fork was such a success that next year’s edition has already been scheduled for October 29th – November 1st. Follow FF&F on Facebook to find out when tickets go on sale. I guarantee it will be another sell-out event.
Graze on Grace
This past Sunday Slow Food RVA helped host Graze on Grace, a food festival with 21 vendors selling $3 plates of unique tastings.
Having missed Graze’s big sister, Broad Appétit, which has been held in June for the last couple of years, I was thrilled to see the local crowds.
Comfort’s Kentucky/Virginia Burgoo with Lockhart Family Farms’s Mulefoot Pork, Cuyuga Duck and Rabbit
pulled pork and ginger grits cake from Thirst and Fifth Gastropub
Graze on Grace reminded me of a small-scale Fall for Greenville that lasts for days in the newly-thriving and still gentile Southern city.
only local ingredients fill this wrap from Amour Wine Bistro
My partner in grazing, dNz, likened the atmosphere to Taste of Chicago, again on a much smaller scale. Fall for Greenville is a point of pride for that city’s residents. Let’s hope Slow Food RVA’s two tasting events can grow to similar levels of popularity.
New York Deli‘s Tur-Duck-En sandwich is the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner on a roll. Oh my!
Fire, Flour & Fork and Graze on Grace are two more delicious reasons to be excited about the culinary trajectory that Richmond finds itself following. Slow Foods RVA is helping Richmond reach new heights, and aren’t we the lucky beneficiaries? As we wait to see what Slow Foods RVA puts on its plate next, we’ll be sure to keep you posted and remind you of its recurring events.
November 14, 2014