Ice Cream, Haymarket
Loopy Scoops' chocolate chip cookie and vanilla ice cream sandwich.
What happens when a chef trained in savory cooking turns her attention to sweets? You get a tantalizing mix of unexpected flavors like lemon and basil, lavender vanilla or watermelon mint. Fold those perky combinations into ice cream and you have Loopy Scoops, the brainchild of chef Loreann Grimes in Manassas.
Grimes shops her local farmers’ market for seasonal ingredients, which inspire these small-batch ice creams, popsicles and ice cream sandwiches. The popsicles are packed with fresh berries and bright snips of herbs. Each spoonful of ice cream is a smooth, soft blend of innovative flavors that keeps you digging back in for more—it just doesn’t get much better than a PB&J ice cream sandwich.
Ice cream was a big career switch for Grimes. After 10 years in law enforcement, she enrolled in the culinary program at Northern Virginia Community College in Springfield, earning her degree in 2013. She spent several years cooking at notable restaurants, including Trummer’s On Main in Clifton, and the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria.
“I knew that ice cream was what I eventually wanted to get into,” says Grimes. “I love the creativity of it, of doing flavors that you don’t see every day. I like having people try something they’ve never tried before and thinking it’s a weird combination, and then they’re surprised it works.”
Her ice creams have showcased funky flavors like blue cheese with a port wine reduction, chocolate with spicy peanut bark, and even fois gras.
“The mix between savory and sweet, for me it’s an easy transition,” says Grimes. Bring on the brain freeze. $2.50-$3.00 for popsicles, $4-$5 for 6-ounce cups, $4-$5 for ice cream sandwiches. LoopyScoopsTreats.com
JM Stock Provisions
Tasso Ham, Charlottesville and Richmond
Co-owners James Lum, Hunter Hopcroft and Matthew Greene.
Photo by Fred + Elliott Photography.
To Virginia by way of Louisiana, spicy Tasso ham is the spark behind low-country classics like shrimp and grits, and jambalaya. Virginia butcher JM Stock Provisions started making this classic peppery, smoky treat as a way to use an overflow of hams.
“One of the biggest challenges of whole-animal butchery is certain cuts don’t sell as well as others,” says co-owner James Lum. “Tasso is traditionally made with shoulder, but we make ours with the hams because that’s what we have.”
Stock uses free-range, heritage pork from Autumn Olive Farms in Waynesboro. Sectioned hams are soaked in brine for seven days, rubbed with their secret blend of spices and chilies, then hot-smoked.
Most customers actually buy it not for creole specialties but for sandwiches. “Sandwich with a kick,” says Lum. $19.99 per pound. StockProvisions.com
Corn Tortillas and Chips, Afton
If you’ve visited Mexico, one bite of these crispy chips will instantly transport you back to the mercado and its powerful scent of fresh-roasted, handmade tortillas. Ula tortillas and chips are made from organic, non-GMO corn that Stephanie Murray and her husband James Price grind to make flour. They soak the corn in an alkaline lime solution—an ancient Mesoamerican technique called “nixtamalization,” which preserves the corn’s nutrients and flavor.
Based in Nelson county, Ula started as a side gig. “We were homesteading and homeschooling our three kids,” Stephanie says (Ula = the first letters of the children’s names). “We wanted to grow a staple that we could produce from start to finish, just for our family. We decided on corn tortillas, and they were so good we took them to the market to make some money.”
Today Ula chips and tortillas are sold in 21 Whole Foods in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The growing business keeps the family busy enough that, as Stephanie says, “We don’t farm anymore.” Chips $5 per 10-ounce bag, tortillas $4 for 12. UlaTortilla.com
Spicy Plum Chutney, Flint Hill
Spooned on a charcuterie board, spread on a pork sandwich, or used to garnish roast chicken—there’s not much that Virginia Chutney’s spicy plum chutney can’t do. The piquant umami sweetness of this chunky spread wakes up the taste buds, contrasting the richness of cheeses and roast meats. Once you try it, you’ll slather it on nearly everything. Really.
Clare and Nevill Turner emigrated from England 35 years ago, and started making chutneys and jams in 2004. “Everyone eats cheese and chutney sandwiches in England,” says Clare. “But here, people would ask, ‘What is chutney?’” Rather than explain the British history and Indian culinary influence, Clare just started calling them “savory jams.”
Son Oliver now runs the company, based in Rappahannock County, while Clare and Nevill develop new recipes. Under the label “Preservation Society,” the company also makes a hot pepper jelly (a familiar Southern treat), a watermelon jelly with lime and ginger and a jammy fig spread. $7.95 per 10-ounce jar. VirginiaChutney.com
See all of our Made in Virginia 2016 Award winners!
Andrea Donnelly Studio, Richmond
Mother Shrub, Richmond (category winner)
Vitae Rum, Charlottesville
Big Fish Cider Co., Monterey
Copper Fox Distillery, Sperryville
Silver Tears Campers, Roanoke (category winner)
Tinkham Decoys & Folk Art, Norfolk
Join or Die Knives, Richmond
Jake's Clay Art, Waynesboro (category winner)
Blanc Creatives, Charlottesville
Jaeger & Ernst, Barboursville
Winners were selected by the editors from among hundreds of submissions received earlier this year.
Click here to see 2015 winners.
Click here to see 2014 winners.
Click here to see 2013 winners.
Click here to see 2012 winners.