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Each with its own culinary tradition

Virginia

Sorghum farmers become accidental artisans

On a recent Saturday morning, Danny Ray Townsend stood stirring a pan of sorghum over a hot hickory wood fire. The breeze came only now and then, wafting through the shed and carrying the syrup’s grassy scent to the crowds gathered around the mule-powered mill. “We’ve got little spoons and we give a hot sampling …

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Both Ga. and Va. celebrate Brunswick stew as their own

It’s Brunswick stew season, and where you celebrate says a lot about who you are. Or, at least, where you’re from. Juicy, sweet and bursting with vegetables, Brunswick stew was a fixture of my Georgia childhood. Long road trips to Florida often meant stopping at The Georgia Pig, a roadside barbecue shack in Brunswick, the …

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Baklava by the bushel is a Christmas treat

Every fall, legions of volunteers at Holy Transfiguration Church in McLean, Va., begin baking sweets to sell for Christmas. Not just any sweets, but the delicate, rose-scented confections many of the congregation brought with them from the Middle East. Full disclosure: Holy Transfiguration is my church. And I am occasionally among the battalion of volunteers …

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Chocolates that keep on giving

Chocolate, peanut butter and puppies are a pretty safe bet on the appeal meter. The combination seems to be working for Tim Gearhart, a Charlottesville, Va., upscale chocolatier who wanted to create a fun product with a social conscience. Enter peanut butter pups. The little dog heads are made with premium milk chocolate and Reginalds …

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Toast independence with Mount Vernon whiskey

For a spirited Independence Day, consider serving firewater with your fireworks, just as George Washington could have done. Washington, like other founding fathers and perhaps mothers, enjoyed a nip of whiskey. His interest in alcohol increased – financially, at least – when in 1797 the newly retired president hired a Scottish farm manager, James Anderson, for his Virginia estate. …

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Blasphemous biscuits at Perly’s in Richmond

What’s special about the biscuits at Perly’s on Grace Street in Richmond, Va.? “They’re of the light and fluffy variety as opposed to the thin and crispy variety,” says Gray Wyatt, owner and head biscuit maker of the half-century old diner. “Other than that, they’re just flour.” Flour and … margarine. Not butter, not lard, not …

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Slideshow: South of the James Farmers Market

The South of the James Farmers Market in Richmond, Va.,  is an open-air producer-only market where farmers and artisans sell locally grown and hand-made items. It’s a BIG market, located in pretty Forest Hill Park. It’s open on Saturdays in May through the first Saturday in December from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.  You can have …

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Descendants toast centenary by reopening brewery

In 1916, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed the long-forgotten Mapp Act, which prohibited the manufacture, transport and sale of “ardent spirits” and forced the Robert Portner Brewing Co. to shut its doors. Almost 100 years have passed, but two young women are determined to honor the brewing tradition that was suspended by that piece of …

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Will pupusas be the next tacos?

Jose Gabriel Delcid claims he introduced pupusas to Arlington, Va. At the very least, his bustling corner market has – pardon us – cornered the neighborhood market in sales of the Salvadoran staple. When Delcid first came to the United States from El Salvador in 1978, hardly anyone knew what a pupusa was. Today, the …

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The nation’s flavors – in chocolate

Like many people in and around Washington, D.C., Rob Ludlow and his wife, Ashley Hubbard, come from somewhere else. He was raised in Texas, and she’s from Portland, Ore. The various places they’ve lived turn up, of all things, in their chocolates. The couple, who own Fleurir Chocolates (with shops in D.C. and Alexandria, Va.), …

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