HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Chef Patrick Evans Hylton shares his Chardonnay picks and a delicious dish to celebrate National Noodle Month and National Peanut Month.
CHEERS TO VERY VIRGINIA VARIETALS
A TOAST TO CHARDONNAY
With a robust industry boasting hundreds of wineries across the Commonwealth, now is a good time to raise a glass to Virginia wine.
From time-to-time, we’ll explore the different types of wines being produced in Very Virginia Varietals. In this segment, we’re looking at one of the most prevalent vintages, Chardonnay.
There are around 140 wineries across Virginia that offers Chardonnay, according to www.VirginiaWine.org
Also, around 30 percent of grapes grown in Virginia are Chardonnay.
The grape’s provenance is from France. It’s been grown in Virginia for going on a half-century.
Chardonnay is generally dry and medium-bodied. Look for crisp notes of apple and pear as well as nuanced citrus and tropical fruits. Depending on if the Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, and how long if it is, flavors shift picking up butter, pineapple, and vanilla, among others.
Today we are tasting two Chardonnay expressions from our friends at Williamsburg Winery: one that has been aged in oak barrels, and one that has been aged in stainless steel.
Notes from Williamsburg Winery winemaker, Matthew Meyer:
2019 Wessex Hundred Chardonnay
A full-bodied wine offering some pleasant aromas of peach, lemon, grapefruit and pineapple along with a floral note that transitions into a lovely fresh rose and hydrangea essence. Among the fresh fruits and flowers is a layer of creamy vanilla and caramel that then leads into a saltwater taffy character. The oak is sublimely integrated with the fruit and acidity making for a deliciously balanced wine with an elegant body and finish.
2020 Virginia Stainless Steel Fermented Chardonnay
This wine is packed with a cornucopia of fresh bright fruits including apricot, peach, pear, and green apple with some tropical notes of kiwi, banana and pineapple. All these fruits are wonderfully enveloped in a layer of bright lemony citrus that is a nice complement to a creamy vanilla cake layer. The mouthfeel and finish of the wine are both long and fruit forward with a clean crispness that enhances the overall structure and balance. This wine will be fun to pair with many different foods.
Visit Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, or their tasting room in Virginia Beach.
Wine comes from Williamsburg Winery, www.WilliamsburgWinery.com
BON APPETIT TO NOODLES - AND PEANUTS!
WITH OUR CHILLED NOODLES IN PEANUT BUTTER SAUCE
March is both National Noodle Month and National Peanut Month; two of our favorite ingredients.
We incorporate the two in our savory Chilled Noodles in Peanut Sauce. With hints of the Pacific Rim, the dish is decidedly Virginia with a sauce made from local peanuts and a slaw made with farm-fresh cabbage and other produce.
Make the noodles and toss in peanut sauce ahead of time and allow to chill in the refrigerator; this also allows the flavors to marry. Fold in the slaw just ahead of serving so there is a nice dichotomy of flavors between creamy and crunchy.
Peanuts have been part of the Virginia culinary scene for centuries, enjoyed out-of-hand, and in many dishes. The Peanut Belt stretches from Western Tidewater from around Wakefield and south and west. For year, Planter’s Peanuts was headquartered in Suffolk.
We favor the Virginia type nut, noted for its size and butteriness.
Here’s how to make it:
1 pack vermicelli or spaghetti noodles
1⁄3 cup evaporated milk
1⁄3 cup coconut milk
1⁄3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon soy sauce1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
Hot chile sauce, such as Sriracha
1/4 small head green cabbage
1/4 small head purple cabbage
1 medium carrots
Optional: 1 stalks of celery and/or 1/4 small onion
Make the noodles: prepare noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside
Make the sauce: combine the evaporated milk, coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, and a dash of hot chile sauce in a blender and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
Make the slaw: shred green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrot, and optionally, celery and/or onion. Toss and set aside.
Assemble the dish: toss noodles with sauce, cover, and refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Just before serving, toss with slaw. Serve.
Note: to make your own homemade peanut butter, place 4 cups roasted, unsalted Virginia-type peanuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment and drizzle 3 tablespoons peanut oil over the top. Pulse to break up the peanuts, then blend until very smooth. If the mix is very dry, drizzle in more oil by the teaspoonful. Add salt, if desired.
For more, visit www.VirginiaEatsAndDrinks.com
EATS, DRINKS + DO
THE TASTE STUDIO AT Colonial Williamsburg
Taste Studio, formerly the Craft House, is an airy, open space that allows folks to reserve for private functions, or participate in scheduled activities.
The demonstration kitchen hosts classes and tastings delivering unique culinary experiences.
Many of the experiences are led by Williamsburg Inn Executive Chef Travis Brust.
At a recent function, I enjoyed a bourbon dinner led by Chef Travis where a number of dishes and drinks were demonstrated, then served.
This is a similar experience to the now-closed A Chef’s Table which was led by legendary Chef John Gonzales who passed away last autumn.
For more information, visit www.ColonialWilliamsburgHotels.com [colonialwilliamsburghotels.com]
FOR MORE VIRGINIA EATS + DRINKS
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