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Taste of Blue Ridge Launches Three
New Culinary Destinations Weekends in 2017
The marketing partners include:
Culinary Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism market. The trend has changed from just consuming a meal to individuals traveling and learning about food. The definition of food tourism can be debated by value and future. However, the consensus is that food and drink tourism is here to stay, because it is part of America’s culture. Just like art, music, film and literature. “What we eat, how we prepare it, the dishes and utensils we use, and even the recipes passed down by our elders are all part of our area’s food and drink culture,” said Craun.
In discussion with the director, Justin Kerns, of Visit Winchester/Frederick County, “People come to the valley for history, outdoor adventure but I have not seen people coming specifically for a food experience other than our u pick farms,” said Kerns.
Blue Ridge Root to Table is a community partnership covering four counties in the northern Shenandoah Valley (Winchester- Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Loudoun in Virginia and Jefferson County, West Virginia). The program highlights unique food happenings that will turn a dining experience into a story-telling experience with an emphasis on collaboration between passionate food and lodging partners.
GoBRT has three lodging partners to include Hillbrook Inn and Spa, The George Washington Hotel, and L’Auberge Provencale. Chefs include both large and small restaurants. An example of collaboration would be a cooking class at HIllbrook Inn featuring Chef Ricarrdo Stucco from Violino’s Ristorante Italian. Chef Ed Matthews who is also an avid partner will share great hiking experiences here in the valley as well as his love for wine and food pairing. Taste of Blue Ridge will be adding other food partners as the events are being planned.
“Gentle Harvest and Ayrshire Farm are proud to be a part of the Blue Ridge Root to Table Program. As part of the Gentle Harvest Mission, we have a social responsibility to connect our communities to where there food comes from. Through our partnership with the Blue Ridge Root to Table program, we have been given greater strength to carry on our mission, with the help of partnering restaurants, farms, and businesses,” said Robert Doane, Marketing and Events Specialist - Gentle Harvest & Ayrshire Farm.
The goal as the events come together will be to add more partners on board so that the visitors can truly experience the wide diversity of the restaurants, farms, wineries, breweries in the valley. The first weekend experience will kick off in July with Magnolia’s at the Mill hosting the July weekend with a theme of swine and crustaceans. August will be Hillbrook Inn and Spa with an international theme showing the various cultures here in America and the October will center on farm tours with Ayrshire Farm serving as the lead host for the weekend. Examples of the many events over the weekend could be Friday evening with owner Art Major from Escutcheon Brewery joining Chef John Lawrence for an oyster roast at the George Washington Hotel. Saturday morning, one could be at a farm with Chef Ed Matthews from One Block West discussing different lettuces and herb combinations. The main theme July event on Saturday evening will feature Magnolia’s Chef Erik Foxx-Nettnin and guest Chef Justin Meyers from HIllbrook Inn and Spa.
“Hillbrook Inn is involved with Taste of Blue Ridge because we are devoted to promoting a quality food product. By combining our efforts for promoting local resourcing with other chefs and farmers in the area, we can have a larger national voice for the northern Virginia – West Virginia region,” said Carissa Zanella, owner of HIllbrook Inn and Spa.
Founded and owned by Nancy Craun who grew up in the area and has 30 years of experience in the event planning, restaurant, hotel, and marketing arenas. GoBRT covers a 160 plus mile radius of the Interstate 81 Corridor spanning the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.