Overheard on the restaurant scene… This week’s foodie news (Week of July 15)

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Sometimes we’re jaded by our own successes, and Virginia possesses many. From agriculture to breweries, top-notch restaurants, the mountains, and the sea, we are a fortunate and multifaceted state. The New York Times recognized our feats in viticulture over the last decade with an article featuring Barboursville Vineyards and RdV Vineyards in its July 7 edition. The article traced the roots of wine in Virginia and proved how far we’ve come in an industry wrought with challenges. With sales now reaching as far as London, Italian-born winemaker Luca Paschina of Barboursville was the main focus of the piece, yet he did not take full credit for the vineyard’s success. “In Italy, you respect your competition, but you don’t want to help,” Paschina said. “Here in Virginia, we still have a lot of room to grow. The more good wine, the better it is for all of us.”

On a more local note, Brookville Restaurant has started serving lunch Tuesday through Saturdays at 11:30am, with Sunday brunch beginning at the same time. Menu items include a $9 “Design your own salad” with three types of lettuce, four dressing choices, and a dozen toppings to choose from. The sandwich menu has old-fashioned basics with nouveau twists and a slight Asian flair, like steamed duck buns with peach “love” and chive, and a pork belly bahn mi topped with pickled veggies and gooey local porky delight.

In cheese news, Nadjeeb Chouaf of Whole Foods Market in Charlottesville (and the mid-Atlantic) won second place in the nation at the Cheesemonger Invitational in New York. He was up against stiff competition, with 52 of the best cheesemongers in the U.S. judged by 15 judges. The champion was Justin Trosclair of St. James Cheese Co. in New Orleans, and the third place winner, Katie Carter of Arrowine & Cheese, was also from Virginia.

Join some of the best chefs of the south as they “get down on it” for the Chefs in the Garden series at the Clifton Inn on July 29, featuring Richmond-based Joe Sparatta of Heritage, Tim Bereika of Secco Wine Bar, Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture, and Tucker Yoder of the Clifton Inn. With pork from Autumn Olive Farms in Waynesboro, the menu has a Southern vibe, yet it’s suited for the summer heat. Dinner starts at 7pm, and reservations can be made at 971-1800.

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