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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

We serve a small dessert to our guests at breakfast here at Foxfield Inn.  We call them "Sweet Endings"

With the number of guests who request gluten free foods I am always looking for great gluten-free dessert ideas.  I came across several recently and thought one of them would be perfect for the month of February - Flourless Chocolate Cake.

I've had many flourless chocolate cakes in the past and had forgotten about them for some reason.  Some had been too sweet, some not enough chocolate flavor, some were hard.  But the one I am offering up today is decadent with lots of chocolate and it is very easy to make!

I hope you give it a try.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder + 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting the pan
4 ounces 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate (I use Ghiradelli), roughly chopped
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon strong coffee

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325F.  Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.  Line pan with parchment paper and re-spray.  Using the 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder dust the cake pan bottom and sides.

In a 4-cup glass measuring cup place the bittersweet chocolate and the butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  If needed put back in the microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds and stir.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder until fully combined.  Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and coffee.  Stir to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until it begins topull away from the sides.  A wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake will come out slightly moist. 

Cool in pan 10-15 minutes.  Turn cake out, remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake and set the cake on a cooling rack right side up.  Cool for about 1 hour.  Decorate as desired.  I like to dust mine with powdered sugar, add a few berries and serve with a bit of caramel sauce.

Store cake in refrigerator covered, if not eaten right away.


We hope you enjoy!
Dan & Kathryn Bundy, Your Innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, a luxurious bed and breakfast in Charlottesville VA

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Top Nine Things to do in Charlottesville This February

People traditionally think of summertime for a visit to Charlottesville, Virginia, but if you are the kind of person who appreciates the extraordinary, consider a visit in February. There are an abundance of things to do - from arts, history, wine, and even mystery!  And while you're here, be sure to stay with us at Foxfield Inn. Welcome!

Arts
Art & Country, a diverse selection of 34 works on canvas, paper, and eucalyptus bark, taken from the Kluge-Ruhe's permanent collection. February 1-June 30, 2015, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Museum.  For details, click here.

Musical Events at Albemarle Ciderworks. Music will be in the air every weekend throughout the month of February at Albemarle Ciderworks. The offerings include country to Irish jam session, classical banjo, to American Folk, and blues. Shows are from 3-5 pm, no cover.

History
Enjoy a culinary journey in "The American 
Plate," with Dr. Libby O'Connell.
The American Plate: A History of the United States in 100 Bites, a lecture by Dr. Libby O'Connell, chief historian of The History Channel, provides a culinary journey through the evolution of America's cuisine and culture, covering 100 different foods. Tastings follow in the Monticello Gift Shop. 2-4 pm February 14, $15. Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center.
  
 Sequential Vegetable Planting. "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?" Have a piece of Monticello in your own back yard; use seeds from historic Monticello in your garden! Learn how to maximize your yields by using sequential planting methods in this three-part, hands-on workshop. Come get your hands dirty! 10 am-noon, February 7, $28. Thomas Jefferson's Tufton Farm.

• Plant Label Calligraphy. Learn the techniques for pen and ink script from Monticello's vegetable gardener, Pat Brodowski, who creates the plant labels for the Monticello gardens. Create your own beautiful labels at home and be the envy of your gardening friends! 10 am-noon, February 28, $18, at Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center. For details, click here.

Under the cloak of night mysteries abound!
Be part of the action, and “Step into Mystery.”
Mystery
Step into Mystery. If mystery is your thing, and you are not content to be a mere observer, then this is for you! Become a character in this monthly event and be part of the action! 7-10 pm, the first Monday of every month beginning February 2, $35. 3 Notch’d Brewing Company. For details click here. Are you the next Inspector Clouseau?



Food and Wine
Go back in time to Mr. Jefferson’s table in  
"Italian Night,” inspired by our founding
father's 1787 trip to Italy. Mangia!
Jefferson's Table: Italian Night. Join instructors from Charlottesville's Speak! Language Center as they prepare homemade tagliatelle and share their knowledge of Italian food and culture. 6-8 pm February 21, 2015 at Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center. For details click hereMangia! 






A Valentine's Affair. Get a jump on Valentine's Day and enjoy a catered buffet dinner at Glass House Winery February 13th in the beautiful rolling countryside west of town. Catering provided by L'etoile of Charlottesville with live music by 2 Wishes. A special chocolate dessert will complete the repast. $40/person or $80/couple. For details click here.

Valentine's Day Winemaker's Dinner at Veritas.  Enjoy a spectacular five-course, wine-paired dinner, with music and dancing to follow. $140 per person inclusive of the meal, paired with a glass of Veritas with each course. For details, click here.

So if you are looking for the extraordinary, come to Charlottesville this February, and see how many of these nine things YOU can check off your list! And let us know your favorites.

Dan and Kathryn Bundy, your innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, a luxurious bed and breakfast in Charlottesville, VA



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Insider's View: Best Deals in Charlottesville Dining

As proprietors at Foxfield Inn, we are often asked about local restaurant recommendations, and if you will be in Charlottesville the week of January 24-31, you are in for a real culinary treat. Charlottesville Restaurant Week will be held during that time, and for those who are unfamiliar with the event, it is an opportunity to sample some of the best that Charlottesville has to offer, while supporting a local charity. This year’s charity partner is the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank (BRAF) which will be the recipient of the week's events.

BRAF
Founded in 1981, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank is the largest organization alleviating hunger in Western and Central Virginia. As an emergency food assistance agency, it serves more than 114,000 people each month. Last year, BRAF distributed 18 million meals to hungry families across the Blue Ridge, and they expect to serve even more this year.

BRAF's service area covers 25 counties and nine cities on either side of the Blue Ridge through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester, and Verona. They collaborate with a network of 234 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools, churches, and nonprofit groups.

Looking for a deal on local 
dining? Check out Charlottesville 
Restaurant Week.

Restaurant Week
Restaurant Week allows you to choose from among three levels of restaurants, based on price, and eat like a king (or queen!). There are $16, $26, and $36 options, all a great value and a wonderful opportunity to not only eat well for a song, but also to try many of the great eateries in Charlottesville.

Best bets for the $16 level include Himalyan Fusion and PastureQ, to name a few. A relative newcomer to the Charlottesville dining scene, opening in 2013, PastureQ is located at the Shops at Stonefield. During Restaurant Week, for only $16, you can enjoy selections that include black bean soup with smoked chilis, cilantro, and sour cream; BBQ rubbed catfish or Thai-spiced chicken sausage with spicy cabbage and peanut salad. You can finish the meal with peanut butter chocolate drops, maraschino cherry white chocolate drops, or lemon bars.  This happens to be one of Dan's favorite restaurants in town so I guess we might be sampling their fare during Restaurant Week.

The sky's the limit on dining
options during Charlottesville
Restaurant Week.

Among the $26 options are DaLuca Café and Wine Bar west of town in Old Trail Orzo, Bang, Bizou, Public Fish and Oyster, and South Street Brewery, to name a few. There is something for just about everyone among the $26 options.

Finally, for those with a special occasion upcoming, celebrate at some of Charlottesville's premier restaurants, such as Fossett's Restaurant at Kewick Hall (named for Thomas Jefferson’s chief cook at Monticello during his retirement, Edith Fossett). Other participating restaurants include Hamilton's, Maya Restaurant, RockSalt, and C&O Restaurant, a landmark in Charlottesville dining to name a few.


.
The panoramic view from Fossett's at 
Keswick Hall is breathtaking 
any time of year.

C&O’s Restaurant Week offerings, too numerous to list here, include a wide array of items, such as fresh spaghetti, roasted sea scallops, New York strip, potato crusted grouper, and frozen grand marnier soufflé, to name a few. For a complete list, click here.

To view all menus, visit the Charlottesville Restaurant Week site. And make plans now to participate; you can enjoy a fabulous meal while supporting a great cause.

Bon appétit!

Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Innkeepers at Foxfield Inn


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Trump Winery: Glitz or an Overlooked Gem?


“Wine, from long habit, has become an indispensable for my health,”—Thomas Jefferson, 1815


If you, like Thomas Jefferson, appreciate a fine glass of wine, then you know that Charlottesville is a mecca for wine connoisseurs. As proprietors of Foxfield Inn, we are often asked for our recommendations for local wineries to visit. There are a plethora of wineries from which to choose, among them Trump Winery, one of the relative newcomers.

From the moment you enter 
Trump Winery, you are made to
feel welcome, as the tasting bar
is right at the front door. 
Some may shy away from Trump because of the owner’s controversial reputation, but if you are among them, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Just a short drive from town, Trump Winery greets you with pristine grounds and an inviting setting. Once inside, you are welcomed by warm ambiance, and good food and wine.

Although the sparkling white and rosé were very good, the pinot noir and New World Reserve were our favorites, and we ordered a glass of each to accompany our lunch, which was superb. Unfortunately, not all wineries offer a hot meal, but Trump Winery does, which is a nice touch.
The ambiance at Trump is
reminiscent of a fine library,
with walls of beautiful
paneling which showcase the
many offerings.

On our recent visit, I ordered the crab cakes, which, unlike most portions elsewhere, were very generous and just delicious. At only $16, they are also a great value.

And the presentation was in keeping with the quality of the food; two crab cakes resting on a bed of arugula drizzled with a honey-mustard vinaigrette, the meal was as appealing as it was delicious. There was just enough drizzle to entice, yet not overpower the wonderful balance of crab with greens. Kudos to the chef!

The crab cakes at Trump Winery
are not to be missed.


Other items on the menu include:

• Local Virginia Cheese Plates: a selection of five cheeses from Caromont Farm, Everona Dairy, and Meadowcreek Dairy, served with house-made thyme-roasted walnuts and warm baguette ($20)

• Charcuterie: a selection of cured meats, Dijon, pickled vegetables, served with a warm baguette, and 

• Rockbarn Pizza, made with marinara sauce, Rockbarn sausage, slice prosciutto and shredded fontina ($12), to name a few. And since the menu changes quarterly, you can visit Trump Winery frequently and not get bored.

So if you, like Mr. Jefferson, appreciate a fine glass of wine with wonderful food, check out Trump Winery. It’s an often overlooked gem in Charlottesville’s wine crown!

Santé!

Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Innkeepers at Foxfield Inn










Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year's! - Chocolate Chip Cookies at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville VA

As an innkeeper here at Foxfield Inn I have one New Year's resolution that I always keep - to break all my other resolutions by the end of January.  This is very easy to do.  This year though I am going to follow the advice of Alton Brown from more than a year ago.  My resolution is to make almost all of my own food.

On the September 6, 2013 podcast Alton and Geoffrey Zacharian are talking about quality of food versus quantity.  Their discussion was that if you want a food - say french fries - go ahead and have french fries. Only make them yourself and do not buy them from a fast food joint.  The flavor, quality and nutrition most likely will be much superior to what you can purchase.  Studies have shown that people also tend to eat less and enjoy the food more if they make it themselves.

So what does this have to do with Chocolate Chip Cookies?  Well, below is our recipe for what our guests consider to be pretty fantastic cookies.  You can tell by how fast the cookie jar is emptied that they do believe what they tell us.  Now to the eating less part - bake some of the dough now and freeze some for later.  That way if you want a chocolate chip cookie you can pop one or two out of the freezer and bake them - no over eating!

We hope you enjoy these as much as our guests do.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼      cup                flour
1          teaspoon        baking soda
1          teaspoon        salt
1          cup                unsalted butter, softened
¾         cup                white sugar
¾         cup                light brown sugar, packed
Ingredients for the cookies - best
practice is to get all your
ingredients ready before you start
1          teaspoon       vanilla extract
2          large              eggs
2          cups              Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet      
                                   Chocolate Chips
1          cup               pecans, chopped


Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or leave ungreased.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, white sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until thoroughly mixed into batter.  Stir in vanilla.

I use a cookie scoop which
 holds two tablespoons of dough
Add the flour mixture in thirds, beat until just mixed in after each addition.  Don't mix too much as this will cause the cookies to be tough.

Stir in the bittersweet chocolate chips and pecans.

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.  If you want a bit of a decadent taste sprinkle a very small amount of flaky sea salt on top before baking.

Bake for 9–11 or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cookies out of the oven - cooling
Cookie dough ready to go
 into the freezer

To freeze - line a baking sheet with was paper and drop the tablespoon of cookie dough onto the sheet.  Freeze until the dough balls are firm.  Place is a freezer bag and store in freezer for up to two months.  To bake frozen cookies, remove from freezer while pre-heating the oven.  Place on parchment line sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.  They will not spread as much as the fresh cookie dough but will still be just as yummy.

We hope you enjoy!
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Innkeepers at Foxfield Inn

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Charlottesville's Best-Kept Dining Secret Revealed!

As Innkeepers in Charlottesville, Virginia, a food and wine destination, we are constantly asked for restaurant recommendations. We keep a veritable stack of menus from local restaurants, and we are always happy to share our personal experiences with these fine restaurants to help our guests have the ultimate dining experience.

Among the many local eateries we recommend, Duner's, The Downtown Grille, and The Local, to name a few, is one that remains a perennial favorite among our guests. That restaurant is Ivy Inn. Located just a few minutes from Foxfield Inn, Ivy Inn offers ambiance and fare worthy of a special occasion.


Ivy Inn Restaurant boasts a rich history, having been built in the early 1700’s. The kitchen, located literally in the back of the house, was at one time a tollhouse where travelers stopped for food and respite as they ventured between Richmond and Staunton. In 1815 a fire destroyed the original part of the Inn, and a year later it was rebuilt to include the structure which now houses the Ivy Inn Restaurant.

Ivy Inn Restaurant boasts a long and rich history 
of providing a respite for weary patrons.

The Inn was at one time part of a large estate, “Faulkner House,” named after famed author and writer-in-residence at UVa, William Faulkner. The house was sold about five times between 1893 and 1973 when the Ivy Inn Restaurant purchased the property.

A friend enjoyed her first experience at Ivy Inn while an undergrad at UVa. Her date, and now husband, took her to dinner before going to the Restoration Ball, which originated in the 1970s to help fund restoration of the University's Rotunda back to its original design. The ball continues to be held each spring as it was back in the day.

The Dome Room of the Rotunda at UVa was
the site for many a Restoration Ball, which is
now held at Peabody Lawn.
But going back to that one spring evening in 1977, she says that the evening was memorable, beginning with dinner at Ivy Inn, a venue that would over the years host anniversary dinners, birthday celebrations, and special meals with friends visiting from out of town. Tuxes and long, formal gowns were de rigueur for the Restoration Ball, made only more special by dinner at Ivy Inn.

A popular favorite at Ivy Inn Restaurant is the
a.m. Fog Mushroom appetizer.
From the moment they walked through the door of the old, historic building she was taken. The charm, not only of the building itself, but also of the grounds, drew her in. The creaking wooden floors juxtaposed against the pristine white tablecloths, was enchanting. And the piece de resistance was still to come: the meal itself.

Today, the food is as exquisite as it was back then. Whether choosing the "melt in your mouth gnocchi," foie gras, or pork shank appetizer, you cannot go wrong. The Lamb Two Ways (small rack and a gyro, described by one diner as better than she had in Greece!), or osso buco provides a wonderful offering for the entrée. And you can complete the meal with a creme brulée or English toffee pudding, to name a few.

There is always room for dessert at Ivy Inn
Restaurant, whether you choose the Key Lime 
Pie (shown above), or one of the many other 
offerings, you can't go wrong.
It is a testament to the cuisine and to the staying power of Ivy Inn Restaurant that it has stood the test of time, just like the building itself. Surviving over 40 years in the restaurant business is quite a feat, especially in a foodie town like Charlottesville where eateries come and go, despite how good they may be. So if you want to create your own personal history of memorable meals, begin with a visit to Ivy Inn Restaurant, the best-kept secret in Charlottesville.

Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Innkeepers at Foxfield Inn

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Charlottesville's Bodo's Bagels, Serving Six Thousand Daily!

We at Foxfield Inn love "the legendary bagelry that has become a Charlottesville institution," as The Hook has so eloquently named Bodo's. And although we serve a full three-course breakfast here at the Inn, we often suggest Bodo's for a quick bite, food for the drive home, or even lunch on the go. You can eat in or take away.

As we learned in last week's blog, Charlottesville is recognized as a destination for food and wine lovers, receiving innumerable accolades for both from such well-respected publications as Wine Enthusiast and Esquire this past year alone. 

And as anyone knows who has lived here or visited, Charlottesville offers fare for just about every palate and budget, from haute cuisine to "good eats," as Alton Brown would say.

Heading the pack for the latter category is our own local Bodo's bagels, C-ville's "Best of" since 1996. Locally owned and operated, Bodo's began with only one store. Bodo's was started in 1988 by Brian Fox, who ended up in Charlottesville like a lot of other Charlottesville residents: he got in his car, drove around looking for a place to relocate his family and start another business. He had owned and operated a clothing boutique and a bistro, Deja Vue, in New England. He knew he was home when he hit Charlottesville, saying that it "felt right."

Ever wonder where the name "Bodo's" comes from?
It was the name of a former waiter at Fox's
Deja Vue
bistro, a business he owned and operated in New
England before he moved to Charlottesville.
By 1993 Fox had built a such loyal following that the Preston Avenue Bodo's opened, followed in 2005 by The Corner Bodo's, the third and final store. With three shops, Bodo's now serves up to 6,000 happy patrons in one day! Six thousand! That's a lot of bagels.

And 6,000 people can't be wrong. Whether you love Bodo's for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (and some people say that Bodo's is not for dinner; I respectfully disagree), they offer a variety of "standard" breakfast fare items from which to choose, like lox and bagels or bagels and cream cheese. For lunch or dinner, you can enjoy a cup of hot soup with a bagel sandwich, or for those watching their carbs, one of Bodo's delicious salads; we particularly like their Caesar and Clio salads.

At Bodo’s you can eat in or take away. My
 favorite
is smoked turkey on an Everything bagel with mustard and
mayo, paired with a side of their delicious red potato salad. 

And for those with a vegetarian bent, Bodo’s can fit the bill. Their “meat-free” sandwiches include their own house-made hummus, locally made tofu, avocado, kalamata olive spread, and even the “NoBull,” locally made lentil-based veggie patty. Bodo’s is a vegetarian’s delight!

With a plethora of food offerings, Bodo's is also easy on your wallet. Prices for items range from $2.40 for a tofu sandwich to $5.20 for a baked salmon and whitefish salad. It's no wonder that Real Estate Weekly said that Bodo's is "the number one thing people miss when they move away from Charlottesville." 

Here's something you almost never see at Bodo's,
regardless of which shop you visit: no line!
Even if there is a line going out the door, you know that it
will move quickly, as Bodo's is the epitome of efficiency.

So if you are not fortunate enough to live here, to enjoy Bodo's any time you please, be sure to visit them when you come to town. Because, after all, "when you are in Charlottesville, going to Bodo's is just something you do,”—The Charlottesville 29.

Postscript:
After 18 years in the business, Fox sold Bodo's. But he kept it in the family, selling the business jointly to the managers of his three stores so that the reputation they all built together remains.