Charlottesville's roving dinner event company Hill & Holler serves up farm food in an outdoor setting.
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On October 9th, guests will travel to the foothills of Charlottesville to eat a farm dinner in a field at Blenheim Vineyards. Yes, you read that correctly, I said field. On arrival to the vineyard guests will enjoy a glass of chardonnay and appetizers, then a tour of the winery led by winemaker Kirsty Harmon. The group will then wind its way outside to a field where a long table has been set with vintage dinnerware, from which guests will enjoy a four-course dinner created by Chef Lee Gregory of Richmond restaurant The Roosevelt, each course paired with a Blenheim wine.
While this all sounds like a romanticized evening in Italy or France, this rustic Charlottesville dinner will be the first in the new Hill & Holler dinner series created by Tracey Love and Gail Hobbs-Page. Both Love and Hobbs-Page have extensive experience in restaurants and in farming— Love has managed Tavola in Charlottesville and Six Burner in Richmond, while Hobbs-Page is a former chef who now runs Caromont Farm where she raises goats and makes cheeses—and Hill & Holler is an attempt to combine the two while supporting the Charlottesville community. In the same vein as the “Meet your Eats” food movement, which involves visiting the animals you may one day devour, but not quite as drastic, the Hill & Holler dinner series is the culmination of a mutual desire to bring farm food back outside, or as Hobbs-Page says, to show “what real farm food tastes like.” Each dinner will feature a chef, a winery, a rural landscape and a charity. The first dinner costs $75 and will benefit the UVA Food Collaborative. And while what food is actually served is up to the chef, the emphasis will be on using local produce.
Since the Hill & Holler dinners will be set in, well, hills and hollers (“holler” is a colloquial term for the low-lying area at the base of a hill), the idea is to emphasize rustic. “Heels and fancy clothing are not recommended,” warns the Hill & Holler Facebook page, and the dinners—food and wine—will be served family style with large platters and the bottles of wine set directly on the table from which guests "can help themselves to as much or as little as they want," says Love.
But bringing farm food to people in the way that farm food was originally intended to be enjoyed is not to say that rustic and rural mean uncultured. Love and Hobbs-Page are bringing award-winning chefs together with award-winning wines in a bucolic setting, and Love says it's about "good food, good people and a good cause." And who ever said giving back to the community was “lowbrow?”
This first dinner is the launching pad for what Love and Hobbs-Page hope will continue through this fall and again in the spring. They plan to host another dinner this November at Caromont Farms, then gear up for the spring when they expect to entertain two to three Hill & Holler dinners a month. Now that’s something to holler about.
—The first Hill & Holler farm dinner at Blenheim Vineyards will be held Sunday, October 9th at 3:30 p.m.
Some seats still available. $75 per person, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.