Richmond is a small city with a lot of pride and it shows in its quality local food. In the last couple years the city has gone through a renaissance, driven by passionate people on a mission to change the culinary landscape. I’m unabashedly proud of the stellar products that Richmond is producing and wanted to share a few of my favorites.
P.S. I've noted the number of miles I need to travel to get my hands on these super-local finds.
Honestly it was hard for me to get excited about popsicles, but King of Pop's creative flavors like plum ginger, lemon ricotta, and pineapple habanero won me over. These insanely good pops are whipped up just 2 miles away and are handmade in small batches with flavors that change seasonally. My favorite is the salted chocolate – its intense dark chocolate flavor isn’t muddled by unnecessary ingredients and is accentuated by just the right amount of salt.
After a long day at the office, I often indulge in a Pocahoptas Indian Pale Ale brewed by Center of the Universe. The Pocahoptas is an unfiltered West-Cost Style IPA with strong hops, which are balanced by herbal and citrus notes. The Greater Richmond Area is now home to nine micro–breweries, with more in the works, and Center of the Universe is one of my favorites.
I’m a two-cups-a-day coffee drinker and my preference for dark, earthy coffee has escalated over the years. Lately I’ve been hooked on Blanchard’s Dark as Dark roast, which is strong enough to satisfy my need for excessively bold coffee without being bitter. Blanchard’s is a family-owned coffee roaster that is both certified fair trade and organic.
Saturday Nite sausage, made by Sausage Craft, is one of the best links I’ve ever had. It’s a finely ground pork sausage made with local Hardywood beer, garlic, and sriracha hot sauce – designed to be the perfect night cap for a 'Saturday Nite' out on the town. I first tried it on a sandwich at the Cask Café and was thereafter on a mission to find it in retail. To my surprise I was able to find the hand-crafted links at the big-name grocery store, Kroger (the Carytown location). I now buy them regularly and especially enjoy them simmered in a homemade red sauce and served over thin spaghetti.
Olli Colmignoli was born in Rome to a family that has been making traditional Italian salami for generations. When he realized he could get quality, pasture-raised pork from Virginia, a new business was born. His world-class salami is made just 7 miles away in Mechanicsville, Virginia and is sold all over the city. I love to snack on triscuits topped with thin slices of the Tuscano salami, which is flavored with fennel pollen and Sangiovese wine. Diced Olli salami has also become my secret ingredient in pasta sauces, chili, and stews.