Our Local Commons announces statewide food-and-drink book and more local restaurant news

The Virginia Table is the third publication from the photography team that founded Our Local Commons, a Virginia food-and-wine blog. Photo: Courtesy of Our Local Commons The Virginia Table is the third publication from the photography team that founded Our Local Commons, a Virginia food-and-wine blog. Photo: Courtesy of Our Local Commons

Our Local Commons announces statewide food-and-drink book

C-VILLE Weekly isn’t the only media outlet in town that loves talking to chefs, discussing food trends, trying new restaurants and putting words on paper. The team behind Our Local Commons has been on top of the Charlottesville food scene for years, compiling interviews and photos for articles on ourlocalcommons.com, and publishing books (Charlottesville Commons and Our Local Commons) showcasing the tastemakers of the area. Last week, co-founders and photographers Sarah Cramer Shields and Andrea Hubbell, along with writer and editor Jenny Paurys, announced the publication of the group’s third book, The Virginia Table.

“This is not a new volume of something that’s happened before,” Paurys says. “We had been wanting to find a way to capture the artisan food movement that’s going on in Virginia, and the thing that differentiates this from the Charlottesville-focused book is that it is state-focused.”

The inspiration behind The Virginia Table came from the crew at Early Mountain Vineyards, who make a conscious effort to offer wines from all over the state in their own tasting room. Winemakers quickly learned that creating and maintaining Virginia wine has to be a team effort, and Paurys says the goal of the new book is to capture that enthusiastic, collaborative spirit that seems to be driving the food-and-drink scene across the commonwealth.

Paurys, Hubbell and Cramer Shields spent months trekking around Virginia, from Dugspur to Marshall and everywhere in between, picking the brains of locals who make a living growing, fermenting, cooking or baking something they love. The book features profiles of artisans and tastemakers, interviews with industry experts and specialists, plus recipes and pairings.

Aside from the compelling stories (such as a man who loves cheese teaming up with a woman who loves raising goats) and photography, Paurys hopes that readers take away a sense of the blood, sweat and tears that go into the local food industry. Whether they were building a new restaurant from the ground up, planting an orchard or butchering locally sourced beef, Paurys says the people featured in the book eat, sleep and breathe their work. It’s a labor of love, and it’s a “disservice to these people” to rave over a beautiful piece of cheese without acknowledging the effort and passion that go into it.

“All the energy that’s happening here, all the work these people are doing, it’s happening simultaneously,” she says. “This is just a little peek into their lives and all the hours that they’re investing in this.”

The book is available for pre-order at earlymountain.com, and Early Mountain Vineyards will hold a release party on Monday, November 16.

Fall fare

Thought you’d seen it all when it comes to pumpkin-flavored fall treats? How about some habanero pumpkin spice wings? National chain World of Beer, which opened in Charlottesville on West Main Street last year, just announced its first Plate and Pints seasonal fall menu.

The limited-time menu items include the aforementioned wings, Dogfish Head meatloaf sliders with sautéed mushrooms and onions, Southwest skillet cornbread with queso fresco, Colorado chili and a pimento cheese board with charred garlic toast.

To wash it all down, if you’re not in the mood for one of the hundreds of beers available, there’s an Irish apple pie cocktail with apple juice, Jameson Irish Whiskey, bitters and ginger beer, and a spiced red sangria with red wine, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, orange juice and club soda.