Our cover story for the October issue centered around Virginia wines — sparkling, Port-style dessert, Viogners, Meritages — and seasonal Southern food. Whole Foods Charlottesville supplied all our food and wine and the staff gave us a lot of good input on our dinner party spread. Whole Foods’ cook Taylor Troxell helped us develop these recipes and Jan Van Deventer, Whole Foods’ wine buyer, helped us select wines to pair with our spread.
Breathe’s designer Amanda and I spent all morning cooking this spread and then seven hours setting up and shooting the dinner party with models. Our art director Megan helped coordinate the set up and photoshoot — thank heavens! We needed an additional artistic perspective and set of hands. I spent a good amount of time doing lighting. Us ladies do a little bit of everything behind the scenes. That’s what happens when you have such a small staff. You find yourself doing things like cooking dinners for six, styling food and working lights on top of editing and laying out the magazine. At the end of the day it’s tiring, but after all is said and done and sent to press, it definitely leaves you with a sense of accomplishment — and a new set of skills for the ol’ resume.
I’m a huge fan of this spread. It’s easy to make and delicious. And, if you’re afraid to venture into frying chicken (warning: it’s pretty smelly and messy), just pick up the best fried chicken (Wayside here in C’ville!) in your area and make the sides. The fig jam takes 15 minutes tops and is sweet and savory. The Pungo Creek Mills spoon bread is not only delicious; it’s also local to Virginia. And the collards are cooked with Legend Brewing Brown Ale and a ham shank. What’s not to love about that? Hope you enjoy the spread.
Let me know what you are serving at your dinner party this season!