Posts Tagged ‘Cross Keys Vineyards’

We have a Chocolate Festival – again?

f66585_788a9f4976f447c586ca333a5febcf3c.png_srz_p_672_225_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzCame across this the other day and at first I was flummoxed. We have a chocolate festival? Why have I not been to it before? It’s like going to Paris and not taking the scary, glass-walled elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It’s like seeing a sign that says wet paint and not touching it to be sure the paint has dried. Some things you just have to do.

If there’s a chocolate festival, well, this is an important thing to know about.

Then I did some research. We apparently did have a festival in conjunction with the Virginia Arts Festival in years past. We did not have one last year. That begged the question – why not?

I checked some Yelp reviews and, as I suspected, the festival was decent but not spectacular. Prices were high, vendors (some at least) were snooty. Attendance dropped. Money was not made. Thusly, last year there was no festival.

How can you mess up a chocolate festival, people? Apparently it happened. We suck.

But we can do better!

Looking at the current list of sponsors, I see some potential. Flour Child Bakery is a family-run business and it is one of the best in town. The Royal Chocolate has been a Beach favorite at the Virginia Beach Town Center since the beginning. Duck Donuts, while not my number one pick for locally-owned and freshly made donuts, is a big hit with everyone at work.

However, Fudge Brother’s Fudge? I went to their website and found it has been “suspended.” It didn’t even rate a 404 Not Found. This does not bode well.

But, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best. I would give you a first hand account of the festival, but I will be spending the same week secluded up in the Shenandoah Mountains sampling fine beverages brewed by the Old Hill Cidery and Cross Keys Vineyard. But I digress. Back to the chocolate!

I’ve done my civic duty. I have passed on the information about the chocolate festival. Now it’s up to you to go! In fact, as Monty Hall would say – let’s make a deal.

If you go to the Virginia Beach Chocolate Festival – let me know how it went. You could end up as a guest blogger on Exploding Potatoes!

Think about it. A new culinary critic’s career could be launched.

Apparently not at Fudge Brother’s Fudge, though. Come on guys – let’s see what you got! Now I’m curious.

Send samples!

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Cross Keys Vineyard – just in time!

Cross Keys Vineyard comes through!

Cross Keys Vineyard comes through!

Taking a short break from the throes of Nanowrimo to bring you this important message:

Virginia produces some very nice wine.

There, I said it. And I’ll even give all the purists who think good wine can only come from France, or at worst – California, some time to regroup. Take a seat. It’ll be alright.

What is the current fad? Oh, yes. Stay Calm and Drink Wine? Well we are in luck! Our quarterly shipment of wine just arrived from Cross Keys Vineyard, an awesome little winery located in the northwestern part of the Commonwealth, hidden among the shadows of the Massanutten Resort and the Shenandoah Mountains.

Today’s assortment included a Meritage, a Merlot, and a Fiore, which is fairly new to their fleet of award winning wines. To quote from their website, the Meritage is a blend of Cab, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, aged 15 months in oak barrels. The Merlot is just that, a fine Merlot that, like the Meritage is aged in both French and American oak barrels. The Fiore is an off-dry rosé, blended with Cab, Merlot and Pinot Noir. It is very light, “crispy” as they say, and one of my new favorites. I would give you fancy descriptions along the lines of this wine reminds me of springtime in my mouth, with just a hint of clover, blueberries, and fresh mountain air. But instead, I’ll give you the layman’s version: they are pretty darned good! Not too stuffy, yet packing just enough punch to remind you they have some moxie.

Yes, I used the word moxie. Either you have it or you don’t. And these wines have it in buckets.

Eleven wines are in production at present, and I like most of them. The Tavern? If you like port then you have a winner. Since it was not selected for the wine club shipment this time, I may just have to go online and buy one, or two.

Cross Keys, in comparison to other wineries, is a new entrant, planting the first vines only in 2001. But the key to their success is the dedication of the Bakhtiar family, and the superb vintners and staff who make the magic happen each year. And again, I send them our thanks.

Bonus: Now I know what’s for dinner!

And if you are ever in their neighborhood, stop by for a tasting and a tour. Cross Keys is Virginia’s little bit of the Mediterranean, found just outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Try it!