Archive for the ‘Food Lovers’ Category

Culpeper VA holiday shoppingJoin us for a unique and special small town celebration to start the holiday season. Culpeper begins the Holiday Season on Sunday, November 18th with our annual downtown Holiday Open House! Merchants will have their stores all trimmed and decorated for the holidays.

You are sure to find unique and perfect Christmas gifts in our specialty shops located in Historic Downtown Culpeper VA. If you haven’t been to Culpeper in awhile, you’ll love the great new shops that have opened. It is foodie heaven!

Before heading back to our romantic Virginia bed and breakfast, join in singing Christmas carols with the Blue Ridge Chorale at the Community Tree Lighting at the Depot at 5:30 p.m. There will be warm apple cider and cookies offered by local Girl Scouts. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Big Guy dressed in red! Stay for the weekend with us at our Virginia Inn, and enjoy some fine food, wine, and get your holiday spirit on.

Italian is the theme for this month’s Inn at Meander Plantation’s Country Inn Cooking School here our Orange, Virginia wine country bed and breakfast. Our enthusiastic students mastered marinara and manicotti, did oh-so-good on osso bucco and finessed focaccia.

Italian desserts are pretty simple and often involve fruits. A grapefruit zabaglione was simple to make and incredible over fresh berries, and the espresso panna cotta with cranberry-pistachio biscotti was equally easy and amazingly delicious.

But the favorite dessert was the Chocolate Amaretti Cake. Ground amaretti cookies and almonds take the place of flour and give a gooey texture reminiscent of brownies. Topped with Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries, it was an elegant finale to the Vintner Dinner that featured the wines of pioneering Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse.

Suzanne’s Dessert of the Week:  Chocolate Amaretti Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, The Food Network

  •  3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces or 10-12 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest from one orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries, for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.

Microwave the chocolate until melted and smooth, about 1 minute.

Combine the almonds and cookies in processor. Process until the almonds and cookies are finely ground; remove and set aside. Place butter and sugar in the processor bowl and blend until creamy and smooth. Add orange zest and pulse until incorporated.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending until well mixed. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate. Process until blended. Clean the sides of the bowl after each addition and blend again.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to serving tray.

Before serving, dust top with cocoa powder. Top each slice with a dollop of Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries for garnish. Makes 12 servings.

Chef Alexander Morris brings an international spectrum of culinary perspectives to his new position as Chef of The Inn at Meander Plantation, our historic Virginia country inn and restaurant noted for its elegant accommodations and exceptional cuisine.

With a background in Italian, French and Continental cuisine, gained from family tradition, formal training and years of cooking experience, Morris plans to incorporate these elements into menus and dishes that reflect the fine dining tradition of the Inn.

“This is a chef’s dream job – a chance to use the freshest local ingredients, to create menus without any limits, to develop my own signature style. I can just look out the window (of the kitchen) and get inspired,” says the 29-year-old chef enthusiastically. “Just look at those views! This place is amazing.”

Chef Morris, who recently relocated to Orange, VA, along with wife Christina and one-year-old son Cole, joined the Meander staff in early April. As Chef he will be responsible for all aspects of food service at the Inn, with special emphasis on planning, preparation and presentation of the five-course prix fixe dinner served five nights a week and instruction at the Inn’s monthly Cooking School.

His love for food and the art of its preparation began as a youngster growing up in West Chester, PA, first helping his Italian grandmother in the kitchen and then working in his father’s Italian restaurant and uncle’s delicatessen. After formal studies at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, he began working in restaurants in the Philly and Chester County, PA, area.

But it was in 2002 under the guidance of Chef David Walti at The Gables in Chadds Ford, PA, that his passion for creating fine food and a memorable dining experience took shape. “He taught me so much about foods and different styles of preparation. He inspired and encouraged me to grow as a chef. He really ignited my imagination.”

On the operational side, Morris’ mentor is Anthony De Stefano, executive chef at Riverstone Café in Exton, PA. “Running a large operation where two restaurants operated from a single kitchen to turn out up to 1000 covers per night, I learned the value of organization, proper staff training and precise teamwork. These skills are perhaps even more important in a small kitchen like we have, where everyone has to work together at top capacity to produce plates of incredible quality and consistency.”

The Inn at Meander Plantation ( is located at 2333 N. James Madison Highway, Locust Dale, Va 22948 (on Hwy. 15 between Orange and Culpeper). Reservations for lodging in the Inn’s 10 elegantly appointed guests rooms or for dining can be made by calling 800-385-4936 (local 540-672-4912) or e-mail to

The Inn at Meander Plantation
Wine Pairings Dinner August 19, 2008
A Celebration of New Southern Cooking School

Featuring the Wines of Linden Vineyards
and the Cuisine of Executive Chef David Scales

Amuse Bouche

First Course

Fried Green Tomato Napoleon with Basil and Roasted Sunflower Seed Pesto
Linden Vineyards 2007 Seyval

Second Course

Pan Seared and Roasted Red Snapper with Succotash and
Chioggi Beet Relish
Linden Vineyards 2007 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc

Third Course

Jumbo Lump Blue Crab and Grits with Shrimp Fritter and
Rosemary Lobster Cream Sauce
Linden Vineyards 2005 Hardscrabble Chardonnay

Fourth Course

Maryland Chicken Fried Quail with Wilted Greens and
Buttermilk Ranch Panna Cotta
Linden Vineyards 2004 Claret

Fifth Course

Roasted Wild Boar, Carolina Gold Rice, Grilled Squashes and
Blackberry Cayenne Sauce
Linden Vineyards 2005 Hardscrabble Red


Georgia Pecan and Cane Syrup Pie with Whiskey Ice Cream
Linden Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Vidal

The Inn at Meander Plantation and Restaurant

Announcing our restaurant’s expansion…
more to Meander …

More Days and More Hours:
Now open, with flexible seating times:
* Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
* Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

More Dining Choices:
Now offering:
* Classic Chef’s Tasting Menu Dinner/$65 per person
* New Prixe Fixe Dinner/$39 per person
* Select from expanded menu prepared fresh daily by Executive Chef David Scales
The menu changes weekly to reflect the season and market availability.

Come help celebrate our growth!
Complimentary glass of champagne with dessert
through August 30.

Named “2007 Restaurant of the Year”

2333 N. James Madison Hwy., Locust Dale, VA 22948
Hwy. 15 between Culpeper and Orange)
540-672-4912 or 800-385-4936