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A Taste of Home

By May 17, 2024No Comments

Veritas Vineyards hosts visiting chefs for their inaugural Supper Series

WORDS | Lisa Archer PHOTOS | Sara Schober

A good meal is like a good gift: thoughtfully selected and executed with good intent. And sometimes the best gifts are those that are unexpected. The same could be said for a supper series that launched this spring at Veritas Vineyards. While wineries across the region have long been building up their kitchens, offering tasting menus, wedding packages and a la carte dining to entice visitors to stay longer and enjoy their surroundings, Veritas Vineyards wanted to try something a little different this season. From March through August they have invited guest chefs to join head chef Andy Shipman in planning an evening of experiential dining — paired with Veritas wines, of course.

Each supper will be unlike the next — each held in a different location at the vineyard and highlighting different cuisines. Chefs celebrate their past while utilizing local, Appalachian ingredients. March’s supper — served in the tasting room at two long communal tables —  featured visiting chef Jeff Potter of 610 Magnolia (Louisville, KY). Potter grew up in Central Virginia, attended UVA as an undergraduate and still has strong ties to the area. His seven-course tasting menu highlighted local ingredients that lingered from winter — a salsify puree, brussel sprouts with duck breast, pomegranate and farro — and those that herald spring — peas, asparagus, ramps and broccolini — while incorporating elements of Filipino, French, Appalachian and Italian cuisines.

A favorite pairing of the evening was Kinilaw, a Filipino-style ceviche paired with Veritas’s 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, which Andrew Hodson, co-owner of Veritas, introduced as characterized by ‘happiness and lightness.’ Indeed, the mineral-driven sauvignon blanc cut through the raw North Carolina tuna with a river-rapid race of acidity and an underbelly of citrus and sunshine — an expression of the soil it sprouted from and the weather and makers’ influences.

The second supper was a collaboration with beloved Charlottesville restaurant, Guajiro’s Miami Eatery, run by the three Mayorga brothers. For this dinner, Harvey Jr. and Sebastion Mayagora wanted to give guests a taste of their home, Nicaragua. Ceviche with plantains brought warmth and salty air flavors on a gray day in Virginia, while yucca was the base layer of an Autumn Olive Farms pork belly topped with pork rind dusted in hot sauce powder, finished with a bright cabbage slaw. As Hodson said, it can be difficult to pair wine with spicy dishes, but the 2021 Cabernet Franc supported the richness of the porky belly and I found myself exclaiming in delight over the pairing, causing a conversation about the variety and depth of Virginia Cabernet Francs.

At both dinners, I was reminded how a meal can be a community instigator, no matter how brief a time it may exist for. Many attendees were couples, sat with people they did not know and, as the meal unfolded, so too did conversations. Harvey Mayorga told diners how many recipes of the night were inspired from his own mother’s kitchen, and a British diner turned to me and recalled her mother’s favorite dish, sprouting a conversation about family recipes.

The two remaining dinners, on June 23rd and August 25th, respectively, will offer their own unique experience. Nathaniel Sloan of bloom Restaurant & Winebar (Roanoke) grew up on a farm in Franklin County and has remained devoted to championing local producers and inviting guests to explore their surroundings; thus, his dinner will be out in the vineyard where you can sip wine and perhaps challenge yourself to dig a little deeper into your environment.

The fourth dinner, in August, will host Louisiana born chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois and, though the menu is still being discussed, it seems safe to say diners will enjoy some Louisiana-inspired plates.

Each dinner is both a celebration and gift, a reminder that to indulge in a good meal is to open oneself to new ideas, cultures and influences.

This article first appeared in our 2023 Summer Issue, Innovate.

To learn more or purchase tickets for Veritas’s 2024 Supper Series visit:

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