Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A very West Virginia Celebration


Here's a column I wrote for the Charleston Gazette-Mail about how to ~West Virginia-fy~ your New Year's Eve celebration, but, realistically, this could be used for any celebration. And, consider it's the Fourth of July, what better time, right? 

Break out the noisemakers, the horns and the kazoos. Slip into something sparkly. Put the booze on ice.

And get your bellies ready.

It’s time to call it a day — or a year — on 2016.

So let’s bring in the New Year the right way: the West Virginia way.

Sure, you can go for the traditional kielbasa and kraut or Hoppin’ John. But what’s better than getting back to your roots, especially on a day that is supposed to dictate how the rest of your year will play out?

Here are some ways to get a taste of the Mountain State in your celebration:

Use Fiestaware dishes

These beloved, colorful dishes, made in Newell, are sure to put some cheer in your evening. Serve tasty snacks (more on that below) on saucers in all shades of the rainbow to celebrate the New Year.

My favorites for the occasion are slate, ivory and claret. Stop by the factory in Newell or the shop in Flatwoods to get your fix.
Serve pepperoni roll hors d’oeuvres

The unofficial state food is the perfect snack for New Year’s Eve. Pick up a bag of mini pepperoni rolls (or make them yourself) so everyone can have a tasty bite before the drinks set in. Check out Tomaro’s Bakery or Rogers and Mazza’s in Clarksburg for the bite-sized rolls.

Sip on punch ...

Even if a West Virginia sparkling wine isn’t easy to find, there is always a wonderful punch to be made. Sweet, warming and a little spicy make for one delicious way to bring in the New Year. Check out the recipe from Batton Hollow Winery in Lost Creek.

... In West Virginia wine glasses

These West Virginia stemless wine glasses from Loving WV will be sure to impress. The etched shape of the state on the outside is a nice ode to your home. Buy them at lovingwv.com/products/west-virginia-stemless-wine-glass.

Top it off with finishing salt

If you want a simple way to bring out the complexity of your cocktail, add some salt. West Virginia favorite J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works crafts one of the best finishing salts around — as evidenced by the number of restaurants using the salt as part of their drink menu.

Take Washington, D.C.’s The Dabney, which serves a daiquiri with aged rum, sorghum molasses, lemon juice, bonal (a French aperitif wine) and J.Q. Dickinson Salt.

Dessert, anyone?

Pick up some decadent, handcrafted chocolates from Holl’s Chocolates in Vienna (or at their Capitol Market outpost in Charleston). If you have a sweet tooth like me, it’s a necessary component to any good evening.

A box full of the champagne truffles seems only fitting. Grab a handful. Or two.

Plate it on a West Virginia cutting board

Our lovely state makes for an interestingly shaped cutting board. Handcrafted by Jim and Brenda Good at Appalachian Gallery in Morgantown, these cutting boards come in a variety of style and sizes and make the perfect addition to any setting.

The next morning

I know you’re going to be struggling after a post-midnight evening, so brew a strong pot of local coffee. Check out Lost Dog Coffee’s “Midnight Oil Organic Extremist Blend” because you are (cough, I am, cough) going to need it.

Now, that sounds like one tasty New Year’s.

If you need me, I’ll just be over here eating pepperoni rolls off a West Virginia-shaped cutting board and Holl’s Chocolates from Fiestaware dishes, while washing it down with punch from stemless West Virginia-etched glasses.

How are you incorporating some West Virginia in your New Year’s celebration?

Candace Nelson is a marketing and public relations professional living in Morgantown. In her free time, Nelson blogs about West Virginia food culture at CandaceLately.com. Find her on Twitter at @Candace07 or email Candace127@gmail.com.

Batton Hollow Winery’s Wild, Wonderful Punch

1 bottle Batton Hollow Winter White wine (sweet white wine)

½ cup peach schnapps

½ cup vodka

1 quart ginger ale

Add all ingredients into a punch bowl.

Stir well.

Add ice.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/life-food-and-dining/20161225/wv-culinary-team-a-very-west-virginia-new-year#sthash.GRtJD71m.dpufx