Pastry chef Earl Vallery is new to Charlottesville, and there are a few things you should know about him. 1) He loves bread. “I think it’s the most amazing food. I could eat it every day of my life,” says Vallery, who went to culinary school for bread-baking before turning to pastry (he helped launch Whisk bakery in Richmond). 2) His brand-new Bowerbird Bakeshop will sell matcha mint chocolate chip cookies (“if a Thin Mint and a chocolate chip cookie had a baby…” Vallery says) and double-chocolate vortex cookies (a naturally gluten-free meringue-based cookie that’s crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside) at the City Market holiday market. 3) Vallery loves a good French macaron, and 4) He’ll make macs for your holiday party. Vallery has a smorgasbord of interesting macaron flavors lined up, too, like Thai coffee (Italian buttercream filling flavored with coffee, condensed milk and cardamom); another with Earl Grey-infused chocolate ganache; and a classic pink-shelled vanilla macaron with rainbow sprinkles. Get at him at firstname.lastname@example.org for wholesale order info.
Charlottesville’s beer scene will get funkier this Friday, November 24, with the opening of Three Notch’d Brewing Co.’s sour house at 946 Grady Ave.
Most Americans are familiar with beers made from a very specific kind of yeast, says Three Notch’d founding brewer Dave Warwick—a yeast with a clean finish and a soft, fruity flavor. But other yeasts, such as wild yeasts, can add a funky flavor to brews. It’s fun for brewers to play with different yeasts and flavors, but it can be difficult to brew sours, Warwick says, because the yeasts required for sours are airborne and if not contained to a single room, can “go wild, so to speak, and infect” cleaner beers with that funky, sour taste.
Warwick says that for opening weekend, the sour house (which has been in the works for about a year) will have about a dozen sour beers on tap, including the Galaxy Table Beer, a low-alcohol, crisp, easy-drinking sour that gets its tropical fruit flavor from the Australian-grown galaxy hop, and Eat A Peach, a sour brewed with lapsang souchong smoked black tea, fermented on top of peach puree and aged in oak barrels.
Sours are “wonderful, wonderful, beautiful beers,” says Warwick, adding that they go well with many fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. Fans of dry, red wines high in tannins might be surprised at how familiar the flavor profiles will taste, he says.
Cherry on top
A couple months ago, a C-VILLE reader said Cocoa & Spice’s triple chocolate chunk brownie was the best thing she’d eaten in Charlottesville all year (and she doesn’t even like chocolate). Get one of your own for $6—warmed up and smothered in two toppings of your choice, such as salted caramel sauce and toasted coconut—on Saturday, November 25, during the chocolate shop’s brownie pop-up fundraiser at the City Market’s holiday market from 8am to noon, and again from 3 to 6pm at Cocoa & Spice’s retail location at 506 Stewart St. One dollar from every brownie sold will benefit the Charlottesville Derby Dames.