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Friday, August 30, 2013

Tour de Charlottesville, VA: A Date Night Progressive

A large number of guests find their way to Foxfield Inn for a romantic getaway--to reconnect with one another by spending relaxed, quality time together, enjoying all that Charlottesville, Virginia has to offer. Sharing meals, of course, is an important component of this experience, so we've brainstormed the ultimate Downtown Mall progressive dinner to add variety to date night. What better way to experience the myriad restaurants our pedestrian mall has to offer than to enjoy each course at a different venue!

Here's the route we propose:

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A - Begin with drinks and a small plate at Bang! Known for their creative martinis and Asian fusion tapas-style plates, Bang! is an eclectic spot to get your evening started. Choose from the most popular drinks Lychee Avalance, Sin City, or the Monet, and munch on creamy cilantro wontons with chile sauce to whet your appetite.

B - Walk across Water Street to the brick-laid walking mall and head up the stairs to enjoy a first course at Brookville where all ingredients are locally sourced (even the beer!) and transformed into fabulous dishes. The menu may change seasonally, but right now we're craving the squash and herb "short stack" and the beef and bacon meatballs. (Reservations recommended).

C - Stroll down toward the other end of the mall and stop for a second course at one of Dan's favorite restaurants, Zo Ca Lo. Sit outdoors to watch passersby and listen to live amateur musicians, or take in the hip scene in the tastefully swanky interior. Enjoy the sultry flavors of Latin America with dishes like key lime chicken with black bean rice and avocado salad, or the chili-dusted sea scallops in a decadent carrot-vanilla sauce.

D - For a little hit of something sweet to conclude your meal, head to Splendora's Gelato Cafe. If you're feeling ambitious, share the "artist's palette" which includes multiple scoops for your tasting pleasure. But if you're feeling full, order a cup of espresso and the "bambino" size scoop for the perfect finishing touch. You can sample any of the flavors before ordering. We've never been disappointed with the dulce de lece.

E - If you're still hungry or not yet ready to call it a night, head to the Charlottesville mainstay, C&O, for their late-night menu, and linger over a bottle of wine or champagne and an artisanal cheese plate. Steeped in history, this is the perfect spot to share your dreams, reflect on the evening, and conclude your edible "tour de Charlottesville."

So, there you have it. To tour the Downtown Mall through food and to add variety to your next date night, try our progressive dinner idea, and let us know how we at Foxfield Inn can make your next trip to Charlottesville unforgettable. What other can't-miss spots on the Downtown Mall would you recommend? Leave a comment with your ideas below.

Your Innkeepers,
Dan and Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What to do in Charlottesville, Virginia - September 2013

Come visit us at Foxfield Inn this September to see, experience, and taste some of the best that Charlottesville, Virginia has to offer! Now that summer is drawing to a close, come be entranced as our landscape transforms to welcome the bounty and beauty of fall. We've rounded up some unique things to check out throughout the month of September.

Meet Yer Eats
September 2, 10am-4pm

photo by Jessalyn Fink (2010), used with permission
We are blessed in Charlottesville to be surrounded by dozens of small farms producing high-quality meat, produce, cheese, and other artisan products. The 5th annual Meet Yer Eats event is a chance to tour the beautiful properties that grow these products and talk to the farmers whose hard work makes eating local a very real possibility in our fair city.

Check out the Meet Yer Eats website to buy a car pass, then plan your driving route among the list of participating farms. Many of the farms will have product for sale, so plan to bring a cooler if you'd like to take some goodies home with you.

Take one of our picnic lunches with you to enjoy a delicious meal while you tour. Whether you want to meet the farm animals up close or just enjoy the beautiful Virginia scenery, this event will have lots of photo opportunities to help you remember your trip.

Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello
September 6-7, 9am-630pm

Thomas Jefferson was America's original "foodie." He championed the edibility of the tomato, originally termed the "love apple," and his experiments in growing unusual varieties of vegetables have rendered the gardens at Monticello one of the most studied and revered historical spaces on the East Coast.

Taste heirloom varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and dozens of other vegetables and artisan products grown at Monticello and in the Central Virginia region at this year's Heritage Harvest Festival. Tickets can be purchased in advance online, where you can also sign up to attend one (or more) of the various workshops and seminars offered throughout the weekend. Be sure to take home a packet of seeds to let Thomas Jefferson's legacy live on!

Assorted beers from nearby Starr Hill brewery make a frequent appearance at our Wine & Beer hour, and will be in attendance at the Top of the Hops Festival.

Top of the Hops Beer Festival
September 14, 3-7pm

With the recent rise of craft breweries in Virginia and the nation, what started as a small, grassroots festival has quickly grown into a triumphant celebration of all things beer. Held at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on the Downtown Mall, the Top of the Hops Beer Festival offers tastings of hundreds of beers (and ciders!) from 75 different breweries - from the nearby Starr Hill to the internationally recognized Sam Adams. This all-day event is extremely popular, so we highly recommend purchasing tickets online in advance. Bottoms up!

Foxfield Races
September 29, 10am-5pm

Steeped in tradition, the Foxfield Races is one of the most well-known social events in Charlottesville. Enjoy the thrill of steeplechase on a beautiful property, just 1 mile up the road from our Foxfield Inn. The fall races are family-friendly and not as crowded as the spring races, so you can enjoy the day comfortably. Purchase tickets online or at one of several retail locations in Charlottesville, bring a picnic lunch, and enjoy a pleasant day outside at the races.

With so many wonderful events to attend this September, we hope you'll fall in love with Charlottesville all over again (or for the first time!). Let us know how we at Foxfield Inn can make your stay enjoyable. What are you most looking forward to in September? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Your Innkeepers,
Dan and Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, Virginia Bed & Breakfast

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Peach and Goat Cheese Ice Cream from Foxfield Inn

In honor of August being both National Peach Month and National Goat Cheese month, we at Foxfield Inn have designed a delicious ice cream that features both ingredients. Between the popular peach orchards Chiles and Henley's, Charlottesville, Virginia is up to its ears in peaches right now, so this dessert is a delectable way to let them shine with the goat cheese adding an extra creamy tang.

Peach and Goat Cheese Ice Cream
Yield: About 5 cups
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home and Cuisinart

  • 2 cups peaches, diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (fresh chevre style)
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Combine diced peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, and the lemon juice. Let macerate for 2 hours at room temperature. Drain peaches, reserving both the juice and the peaches separately. Chill while you prepare the remainder of the recipe.

Mix 2 tablespoons of the whole milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. Set aside.

Combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, and salt. Mix well.

Combine the remainder of the milk with the heavy cream, 2/3 cup sugar, and the light corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Remove from heat to gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and bring back to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Whisk hot cream mixture into the cheese mixture. Chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours.

Add the reserved chilled peach juice to the chilled cream base, then pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Add the reserved diced peaches during the last 5 minutes of processing, just to mix in.

Immediately after freezing, the ice cream will have a soft creamy texture, but don't let that stop you from digging in. If firmer ice cream is desired, transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer at least two hours.

Whether you eat your ice cream after breakfast, in a milk shake, or for a midnight snack, this flavor is sure to please. Try it topped with some caramel sauce, fresh peach slices, or candied pecans! We'll continue making this while peaches are in season here, but read these tips for preserving your fresh peaches if you want to enjoy this treat all winter long. Give this recipe a try, and leave a comment letting us know how you liked it! And come visit us at Foxfield Inn before peach-picking season is over!

Your Innkeepers,
Dan and Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | Our Charlottesville, VA Bed & Breakfast

Monday, August 5, 2013

Blueberry Strata from Foxfield Inn

It's summertime in Charlottesville, Virginia, and here at Foxfield Inn the berries are bountiful. We recently acquired a whopping 40 pounds of fresh blueberries, so it's no secret that they will be the star in many of our breakfasts this summer and all year round. Today, we wanted to share one of our favorite recipes to showcase this summer superstar--in a blueberry strata.

Strata means "layers," and that's exactly what this breakfast feast is! In our version, layers of bread and fruit are held together with a gooey custard and baked until fluffy. To make it even more decadent we look at texture: each soft and chewy bite of bready fruit should be paired with something silky and something with a little crunch, so we garnish each serving with a smooth blueberry sauce and a little almond crumble.

Blueberry Strata
Yield: 10-12 servings

  • 3 loaves French baguettes (whole wheat is preferable)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups skim (fat-free) milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Blueberry Sauce (see below)
  • Almond Crumble (see below)
Generously spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Cut half of the baguettes into small cubes and put in pan. Cut cream cheese into small dice or slices* and sprinkle over top of bread cubes. Top with all the blueberries. Cut remaining bread into small cubes and put on top of the blueberries. Gently push down on top of bread in pan with clean hands.
*The cream cheese slices nicely if slightly thawed from frozen.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extracts, and sugar. Beat until eggs are fully incorporated into the milk and sugar is dissolved. Pour over bread cubes in pan. Push gently on bread so that all is exposed to the custard mixture. 

Generously spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray*. Cover pan, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Make the blueberry sauce and almond crumble (see below); these can also be stored overnight in the refrigerator.
*Trust me, you'll be thankful you sprayed it later on.

Take pan out of refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place pan with foil cover in oven and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting into squares for serving.

Blueberry Sauce
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sugar, to taste
Combine blueberries and water in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until blueberries begin to burst. Add more water, if necessary. Taste and adjust with sugar until desired sweetness level is reached (amount of sugar to use varies depending on how sweet the blueberries are). Strain through a sieve or run through a food mill for smoother texture. Spoon a small amount of sauce over each piece of strata for serving.

Almond Crumble
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
Melt brown sugar and butter in medium pan over medium heat. Stir in sliced almonds. When almonds are slightly brown, remove from heat. Sprinkle some on top of each strata serving.

With such a lengthy inactive prep time, this dish gives the cook plenty of time to concentrate on other things like brewing the coffee, browning the sausage, or finishing off the lemon mousse for dessert, making it the perfect thing to serve to a crowd. Leave a comment to tell us how you liked it, or what kind of strata you would love to taste. Maybe blueberry strata will be on the menu when you next stay with us at Foxfield Inn!

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Check out more Foxfield Inn recipes here.

Your Innkeepers,
Dan and Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed & Breakfast