Food News: New oysters, more tamari, and miso caramels for the one you love

If this week were a candy heart, it would say “MUST YOU? WITH ALL THE NEWS?”

When you say “life goals,” I automatically think, “having an oyster named after yourself.” Well, thanks to his friends at Anderson’s Neck Oyster Company, super-lucky Saison owner Jay Bayer gets to cross my dreams off his list.

The Anderson’s Neck folks are in the process of closing on a property in Matthews County, off Mobjack Bay, which Bayer told them about last September. ANOC owner Michael Hild says, “He’s been to the Neck multiple times, so he completely understands what we’re all about. Jay knew instantly this was something we’d be into.” Though, Hild points out, “The Neck is an enormous property. It’s the size of a state park, so we don’t really need expansion space. However, the Mobjay oyster adds variety — salty to compliment sweet. We obviously said yes. Correct that, we said ‘Hell yes!'”

When they complete their inspection process, ANOC willl begin growing Mobjay oysters, salty small-batch cocktail oysters that will take another year or two to harvest. “This is similar to planting vines and waiting to start a winery,” Hild says. “And with federal, state, and local approvals still to be secured, we have a lot of wood that still needs to be chopped. My guess is that we have until 2016 at a minimum, and possibly as long as 2018.” Let the countdown to Mobjay begin!

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Governor McAuliffe’s office announced yesterday that Tokyo-based tamari company San-J will invest $38 million in its Henrico County facility, creating 18 jobs and countless bottles of the gluten-free soy sauce. The Henrico facility was the first tamari brewing location in the US, and the 211-year-old Japanese company has been manufacturing tamari there since 1987.

In a press release, Governor McAuliffe said, “Creating advanced manufacturing jobs is critical as we work to build a new Virginia economy, and I am proud that San-J is a part of that effort. With this tremendous investment and expansion, San-J International can meet increasing demand by making more of its product right here in Virginia. I had the honor of meeting with company officials in Tokyo last October, and I am thrilled to celebrate the fruition of this significant win.”

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If you’re the Valentine’s Day type, you’ve no doubt tuned into the many excellent things you can do to show your truest feelings to your beloved this weekend. Here’s one more: Carytown Cupcakes is hosting a Valentine’s celebration on Friday, February 13th1 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM with happy hour deals and, you know, cupcakes!

Have you ever noticed how roses are not cupcakes? Carytown Cupcakes also noticed AND FIXED that problem with their long-stem box of a half-dozen rosey cupcakes, tied with the kind of beautiful ribbon that is usually reserved for actual roses. Those upgraded roses are available now through Sunday the 15th. Get ’em while you can!

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ICYMI: Jesse Vaughn’s film “Living in a Food Desert” will premier at the Byrd on March 1st as part of the International Film Festival. In case it’s unclear, we’re talking about a ‘desert’ with one ‘s,’ meaning a barren landscape, void of healthy grocery options, and not, sadly, a film about people who live inside cakes. RVANews editor Susan Howson has more on the film and its connection to VSU.

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Slow Food RVA hosts their annual meeting this Sunday at Rappahannock, and it’s open to anyone who wants to have a voice in the local food system. Slow Food board chair John Haddad says, the meeting is “a time to reflect on where we’ve been in 2014 and what plans are in store for 2015,” including a microgrant program and a new international effort called Slow Meat. “If you are interested in helping shape the conversation about good, clean, and fair food in Richmond, we welcome you at our communal table.” But, Haddad adds, be sure to RSVP if you plan to attend.

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Remember the fire that struck at Amour Wine Bistro last year? So does Paul Heitz. He especially remembers the quick and capable work of the Richmond Fire Department, which ultimately saved his restaurant. And so, to say “Merci les Pompiers,” Heitz is donating 15% of the nights’ sales on February 24th and 25th to the Richmond Fire Fighters “Beat the Heat” Scholarship Fund.

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From elsewhere…

Good one, Korea.

Also, Mental Floss has a charming history of “conversation hearts,”, which are now over 100 years old (and don’t taste a day over 50!). The article mentions a couple of the forgotten phrases of conversation hearts past, including my personal favorite: “HOW LONG SHALL I HAVE TO WAIT? PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE.”

And Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson have launched a surprisingly persuasive crowdfunding campaign for Loco’l, according to Eater LA. The rewards are pretty awesome, and the concept is revolutionary.

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Fourth generation French winemaker Damien Delecheneau will grace The Room at Secco Wine Bar with his presence and expertise on February 24th from 6-8pm. For your $35 ticket, you can chat him up about his biodynamic growing practices and the wines his family produces while you sip four selections of La Grange Tiphaine wines, including the Nouveau Nez 2013, a sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire region with plenty of citrus and requisite nose-tickling bubbles.


Not everyone goes crazy for chocolate, and if your sweetheart’s sweet tooth leans toward the savory, these miso caramels might be the perfect candy for Valentine’s Day. Topped with sesame seeds, and subtly flavored with white miso, these candies are ADDICTING, so consider yourself warned. You can pick them up at the Gearhearts locations at Grove and Libbie or in downtown Charlottesville. They’ve even got loosies at Union Market and Little House Green Grocery if you’re just looking for a quick sugar rush to get you through your afternoon.


The flavor of the day is Pizza Biscuit, so I’ve just told you everything you need to know. Ever.

  1. What’s more foreboding than Valentine’s Day itself!? The Friday-the-13th-Valentine’s-Weekend Combo. PREPARE TO GET WEIRD, WEEKEND. 
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Stephanie Ganz

Stephanie Ganz thought there would be pizza.

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