Prepare to get “Epicurienced” this Labor Day weekend. The term, conceived by the Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association (Visit Loudoun) and event partner, New York-based Saveur magazine, encompasses three days set to “highlight the region’s culinary offerings showcased in scenic and historic settings.”
Visit Loudoun promises demonstrations, book signings, educational seminars, as well as exclusive satellite events hosted around Loudoun during the weekend to include dinners at wineries, farms or historic homes.
The Virginia-wide celebration, the first of its kind in the history of Visit Loudoun’s “DC’s Wine Country,” brings together winemakers, sommeliers, food producers and culinary experts from all over the country.
From Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, guests will be able to taste Virginia wines, meet top tastemakers and master winemakers and sample a variety of cuisine.
“Epicurience Virginia’s focus on local culinary talent, cuisine and winemakers of the region was a major factor in inspiring the magazine to forge this partnership,” James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur, said.
The first public event for Epicurience will be hosted by the new, luxurious Salamander Resort & Spa on Aug. 30, following its grand opening on Aug. 29. Both Oseland and Chef Todd Gray, of Equinox in Washington D.C. and Salamander’s culinary director, host an impressive roster of culinary talent. Visit Loudoun promises an “ultimate in small plates dining event.”
But Epicurience’s crowning point is the Grand Tasting on Aug. 31. Hosted at historic Morven Park in Leesburg, the day-long “edible showcase” will feature Virginia wineries, culinary products and food prepared by Virginia chefs and chefs from around the country (including New York and Massachusetts). General admission tickets will let guests experience a long list of activity options, from chef demos and wine seminars to live bands and pop-up wine shops.
Oseland is expected to host a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine, as well as introduce Chef Gray in the Chef Demonstration Tent presented by Whole Foods to kick off the Grand Tasting.
The Virginia Education Tent, presented by Virginia Wine and Virginia Tourism, will feature master winemakers, sommeliers, food producers and culinary experts presenting informative educational sessions for wine novices to experts covering a range of topics on Virginia wine including geographic terroir, varietals, culinary pairings and more. Sessions include a panel discussion by Loudoun winemakers, Virginia cheese and wine pairings, and a lesson in lamb preparation.
With this ambitious lineup of events, Epicurience is expected to live up to its name as a monumental epicurean festival.
Ultimate Dining Event.
6:30-9:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg. Tickets $275
A chance to participate in the resort’s “first public event” while sampling culinary delights, enjoying the open bar, and experiencing being up close and personal with some of the “biggest names” in the Culinary World including: James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur Magazine and judge on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters"; Chef Maneet Chauhan of Food Network's "Chopped" and "Iron Chef" and former executive chef at Vermilion New York & Chicago; Chef Jason Bond of Bondir (Cambridge and Concord, Mass.); Chef Kaz Okochi of KAZ Sushi Bistro (D.C.); Chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 Restaurant (Falls Church); Chef Roberto Donna of Al Dente Ristorante (D.C.); Chef Aaron McCloud of Cedar (D.C.).
Unlocking the Magic of Distilled Spirits.
8 p.m. at Catoctin Creek Distillery, Purcellville. Tickets: $50
Learn how whiskey is distilled in a private workshop with Scott Harris, founder and distiller of Catoctin Creek Distillery. Using processes that mimic 18th century methods, learn how employees mash, ferment, distill, barrel-age and bottle our spirits. Live distillation demonstrations and a sensory evaluation of various spirits.
The Grand Tasting
. Aug. 31 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; VIP, $95; 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.; General admission: $175 at Morven Park, Leesburg.
VIPs receive an exclusive sneak peek of the grand tasting pavilion from 10 to 11 a.m.; one on-site parking spot; priority access to the demonstration and education tents; and access to an exclusive VIP lounge. General admission will enjoy entertainment by local musicians, and have access to the Whole Foods demonstration tent, Wine Education tent and food trucks.
Roaring 20’s Dinner & Speakeasy.
6 p.m. Aug. 31 at Oatlands, Leesburg. Dinner and speakeasy: $300; speakeasy only (starts at 7:30 p.m.): $85.
Attendees encouraged to dress in 1920s period attire. Enjoy a ‘20s themed dinner followed by a swanky soiree on the mansion lawn. Signature cocktails by Catoctin Creek Distillery; wine from Willowcroft Farm Vineyards. Live jazz, period dance lessons, mansion tours and more.
Tour Fresh, Tour Local.
1 p.m. Sept. 1. Goodstone Estate, Middleburg. Tickets $62.50.
Experience farm-to-table at Goodstone. Learn about responsible farming practices while touring the gardens and apiary. The tour concludes with a gourmet picnic prepared by Executive Chef Benjamin Lambert featuring foods from the farm and a complimentary half-dozen eggs to take home.
For more events and information, visit http://www.epicvirginia.com