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Virginia Craft: Artisan Virginians in Chelsea Market
June 18th, 2014 by donuts4dinner

Last night, Virginia Tourism took over Chelsea Market for the Virginia Craft event celebrating the state’s artisan food and beverage purveyors. I was invited to attend by the Lou Hammond PR agency and brought my boyfriend along for what I expected to be a quiet night of sampling hams, but it ended up being a party packed with people aching for oysters, bourbon, and beer. The breweries and restaurants in attendance were represented by people who really cared about their products and talked lovingly about their local, organic, heirloom ingredients. Virginia is for lovers . . . of good food and drink!

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC
Chalkboard art by Carolina Ro Design and Alex Russel

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Tables set up around the room all contained one food company and one drink company, which made for some excellent pairings.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Our first stop was Foggy Ridge Cider. Cider’s my go-to at a bar, but Foggy Ridge’s Serious Cider was something entirely different than I’ve ever had–a very light, very mineral, very dry cider that reminded me of a wine but tasted like apples. It was so neat to hear about the different types of heirloom apples they grow, one of which was thought to have gone “extinct” until twenty years ago.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Beth from FOODE served us this beef brisket over organic cheddar grits with organic kale salsa verde that had a delicious little kick of spice.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC
VAT OF TINY BISCUITS

My dream come true, thanks to FOODE.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Caromont Farm was on hand with two cheeses that were washed-rind yet managed to be mild and balanced: a raw milk cheese using milk from their neighbor’s farm and a goat milk cheese using milk from their own goats. They call these American cheeses in the style of European cheeses and won second place in that category last year from the American Cheese Society.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Blue Mountain Brewery was offering two of their beers, a very light and crisp Kolsch 151 lager and a Full Nelson featuring their home-grown Cascade hops.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Chef/owner Ian Boden was serving a lamb dish from The Shack featuring Border Springs Farm lamb, peas, rhubarb picked in gin, and soy sauce lees, which is the solid left behind when the liquid soy sauce is drained away. They were surprisingly mild, and the overall dish was well-balanced with sweet, savory, salty, and sour flavors.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Chef/owner Harper Bradshaw had a lovely blue crab dish from Harper’s Table with buttermilk, cucumbers, peanuts, and lime. Each flavor came through so well, and yet the sweetness of the crab was still the star of the show. As were the wood-grain compostable plates.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Complementing that was the Faux Rickey by bartender Todd Thrasher of PX using Catoctin Creek Distilling‘s Watershed Gin, home-grown basil, and lime juice. The basil foam made it impossible to drink. And also awesome to drink.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Sister restaurants Comfort and Pasture were serving this smoked trout/deviled egg/pickled apple combo on a sumac wafer. Smoke is irresistible to me.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Belle Isle Craft Spirits was making an old fashioned the old-fashioned way with their moonshine, which they had smoked. It was intense, intensely delicious, and perfect next to the smoked trout.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Co-owner Ryan Croxton of Rappahannock River Oysters was offering two types of oysters and a clam, grown at different places in the Chesapeake Bay to give them varying levels of brine ranging from sweet to knock-your-socks-off salty. My boyfriend also thought their cocktail sauce was killer.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC
the backdrop for the band

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC
feasting under the Chelsea Market lights

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC
the guys from Shooting Point Oyster Company talking about their fare

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Catoctin Creek Distilling gave us a shot of their rye whiskey and a cocktail made with rye, ginger ale, orange bitters, and lemon peel. I’ll be making this one at home. A lot.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

I believe this tiny ham biscuit was from Edwards Ham, but it arrived out of nowhere on a tray from an angel/server. The first time I had Surryano ham was on a tiny biscuit at North in Providence, Rhode Island, and this one was comparably tasty with its clear, sweet porky flavor.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

A. Smith Bowman Distillery had seven- and ten-year aged bourbons that we each drank neat and were truly taken by the smoothness of both and the stronger flavors of vanilla and caramel in the longer-aged version, which was impressively from a single barrel. The gentleman serving the whiskey was actually the person who samples the seven-year barrels and decides which of them will be mixed together for the bottles of seven-year and which are perfect enough to go on aging for the single-barrel bottles. What a life.

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC

Virginia Craft @ Chelsea Market, NYC


3 Responses  
  • Katie Qué writes:
    June 19th, 20148:49 amat

    Oh my, this is dreamy. Bourbon and oysters. Patrick’s and my heaven.

  • Kelly writes:
    June 20th, 20142:46 pmat

    You had me at “cheese.”

    I want to try Atlantic oysters! I’ve only ever had sweet, fat Gulf oysters…OK, I need to stop talking about it. Now I’m craving oysters. Anyway, Blake had Atlantic oysters when he was in Atlantic City this spring, and he said they’re totally different than what we’re accustomed to.

  • Ash writes:
    June 22nd, 201411:43 pmat

    This looks like so much fun! Also that ham biscuit photo is gorgeous. I’m so jealous of your work neighborhood.


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