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Jaleo

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As I previously mentioned, these past few months a few classmates and I ┬áhave been working with the Sweet Virginia Foundation, helping prevent the decline of honey bees. Although I’m self regeious enough to claim I do community service, the project doubled as both an ego boost and class assignment. All of which culminated in this video. Don’t worry, it’s only four minutes, and has a lot of cute kids (if you’re into that…) so watch it and hopefully learn something. But also feel free to mute my section as apparently on camera I develop a speak impediment/ lisp.

 

After much anticipation we ended up coming in second place in the video competition. As this is famed chef Jose Andre’s restaurant, the price was a tasting menu at his restaurant Jaleo. The meal was beyond generous, consisting of everything from cava sangria to croquettes served in a glass shoe (maybe a questionable choice). I have to admit that when I first tried the food I found the flavor profiles to be a little singular, mainly consisting of acid or oil. However, in reflection I truly believe that they were not one dementional at all, and rather completely authentic. I’ve been so brain washed by the food industry that if every plate doesn’t have every flavor note, bitter, salty, sweet, acidic, topped up with notable umami, that the dish is simple. However, there is always something to be said for tradition, and the integrity of culture and ingredients, which was tangible in each bite. So thank you, Jose, for a fabulous meal and even better class.

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Sweet Virginia

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This statement sounds a little pretentious, so bare with me, spare your judgement until post explanation. After returning from France, I have developed an interested in the localized food movement (such a pretentious statement, I warned you). However, this interest stems out of a necessity our American culture just doesn’t understand, and Europeans drill in at a young age. While in France I learned from my classes, the farmers markets and the people, that specialized local products, are healthier for the environment, the animal/insect producers, and the workers involved.

This interest spurred me to visit a local honey production company in Virginia a couple of weeks ago. Although it is off season and the bees are technically hibernating, during my visit I got to learn more about the endangerment of honey bees, their incredible benefits and the local food movement in Virginia. After a day of painting beehives and touring the facilities, my pathetic attempt at manual labor was rewarded with some of the best honey I’ve ever had. It was so impressive to see that Americans are finally catching up and focusing not just on quantity but on quality, and the community building aspect of food. I look forward to returning in April when the bees are pollinating, and refilling my already empty honey jar.

To read more about Sweet Virginia’s mission and the honey bees, click here.

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