Last weekend we went to see our good friends who live in Charlottesville, Virginia. We had passed through only once on our way to see Monticello a few months ago, so we were glad to see more of the town. It's a great college town in the way it has everything you want - great restaurants, a pedestrian mall with a pavilion that regularly welcomes quite famous bands, nice people, and a sense of community. Music plays and the outdoor seating at restaurants is packed with happy, boisterous people.
My apologies for the delay in posting! I lost my camera cord for a while and refuse to post without pictures. More to come soon!Downtown Charlottesville
One of the highlights of the pedestrian mall was the gelateria that served some of the most delicious and authentic gelato I've had outside of Italy. It came really close to the real stuff! We had a sinful combo of pistachio, coconut and tiramisu, although I may have sampled the amaretto, honey and chipotle chocolate, too.
I could tell you in detail about our visits to a couple wineries in the area, but besides being a fun way to spend an afternoon, the wines aren't anything to rave about. The setting is beautiful and some of the whites are decent and I think it's enough to keep it at that. If you are visiting Virginia, it's a wonderful thing to do, don't get me wrong. Buy a glass, bring a picnic and take in the scenery.
Besides getting my gelato fix, one of the more amazing moments of the evening was when our host, Matthew, opened his liquor cabinet. We met these amazing friends of ours in Paris, so we have many grand memories and shared loves. I usually think Paul has the reputation of having an odd but beautiful assortment of alcohols, but Matthew takes it to another level. You can see in the picture the wonderful representation. He doesn't have anything close to what you would call normal. I'm pretty sure more than a few aren't even legal to have here, which is especially fun.
First we were shown the Absinthe, then the Grappa, the a few tequilas, one bottle encased in leather. There were a few mini-bottles from Budapest and farther which tasted of pine needles and had an unattractive brown color. There was definitely a kind of tequila with a worm in it, and Havana Club brought back from Cuba, but the pièce de resistance, and the only one we tried, was a French Calvados of unknown age. But rest assured, it was old. You can see by the picture the layers of furry mold covering the label. It was an assertive but smooth apple brandy and it tasted refined. It was definitely a pleasure to taste and a sight to see.
The other significant event of the weekend was my husband eating grilled Alaskan salmon and loving it! I think it was because he trusted the source - Matthew grew up in Alaska, fishing and eating wild salmon the way the rest of us grew up eating hamburger or Kraft dinner. It was grilled to perfection with a little jerk seasoning and I think we have a new favorite!
Merci Beaucoup Matthew and Aniseh!