Finding Food: The Cured Bacon Festival

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Charlottesville (VA) -- It is called the Cured Bacon Festival—and it is going to be this Saturday. But putting aside the fact that there is an entire festival dedicated to bacon right here in Charlottesville, this event is going to be doing something else for the local food scene as well.

“14 locally owned restaurants are going to be down here doing their interpretations on what's good with bacon,” says Kirby Hutto.

Hutto is the General Manager at the N’Telos Wireless Pavilion. He says the idea to do a bacon festival, has been in the works for a while.

Hutto explains, “We wanted to do a food themed event. And kicked it around for a couple month and looked at a bunch of different ideas and everyone really seemed like to bacon.”

That’s how Hutto and his team decided on The Cured Central Virginia Bacon Festival. And besides celebrating bacon, the festival is also celebrating local foods.

“We've got local restaurants, local bacon producers, local beer, local cider, and the local food hub is the charity that is going to benefit from all the proceeds,” says Hutto.

At the Festival, restaurants like Tin Whistle Irish Pub, Ivy Provisions and Maya will be showing off their bacon inspired creations to the city of Charlottesville.

“We're very excited to be a part of cured fest,” says Jaclyn Dunkle, standing inside the Tin Whistle just off the Downtown Mall. “And I thought that it would be a great way to introduce the Tin Whistle Irish Pub as well as my fabulous new Chef Karen.”

Dunkle is the owner of Tin Whistle Irish Pub. For her, the bacon fest will be a great way to introduce a new face to the local food scene.

“Both the dishes are mine that I created for the event,” says Karen Fiedler. She is the Chef at the Tin Whistle, and the woman Dunkle wants to show-off at Saturday’s festival. “I am excited to showcase some good food and have fun,” says Fiedler.

Fiedler is the creative mind behind the food entries from the Tin Whistle. Fortunately for her, the dishes she is making are coming from personal experience.

“I love bacon,” says Fiedler laughing. “I eat it all the time. You just take a look at what the restaurant offers and bring some ideas of my own—and just combined them to make a good dish.”

Tin Whistle will be submitting three dishes that will of course all include bacon, with an Irish twist.

“What I want people to know about Tin Whistle is that there is great Irish food. And it’s authentic. It tastes delicious. And that to me is way different then a lot of other places you will find in town,” says Dunkle over the sounds of some old Irish tunes playing through the pub speakers.

Ivy provisions will also be submitting three entries to this year’s bacon festival. One of the entries includes a bacon inspired s’more on molasses short bread.

People get most excited when we start toasting the marshmallows in front of everybody for the s’mores,” Says Ivy Provisions Executive Chef Tommy Lasley. He smiles and ass, “everybody likes a fresh s’more.”

Standing in front of the lunch counter, Lasley gives a brief break down of how Ivy Provisions came to be. “Ivy Provisions is about a year and a half old,” says Lasley. “We revamped an old full service gas station that was here on Ivy Road. We are a full service sandwich shop we do breakfast and lunch all day long.”

Lasley say the bacon festival will be a great way to support local goods.

“It just seemed like a good time, a good way to support local good and to hang out with some local chefs in town,” says Lasley.

He adds that the festival might also put Ivy Provisions on the food map. “I hope on a personal level that Ivy Provisions gets a little exposure in the market place,” says Lasley. But he adds, “I hope that it brings some people into Charlottesville and I hope that it benefits everybody the same.”

Finally, there is Maya on West Main Street. They are going to be submitting two dishes: one savory and one sweet.

Maya told me that their dishes are top secret. So the only way you will be able to find out what they are making is if you go to the festival yourself.

And according to the festival organizers, you will not be disappointed by what you will find.

“Really there is a wide range of restaurants that are going to be represented here,” says Hutto. “And I think the different chefs are really getting into the theme of getting creative and seeing what they can do that is really going to please the palette.”

At the end of the festival one restaurant will be taking home the coveted Cured Bacon Festival Trophy.

If you are interested in going, click on the links at the side of this page for more information.

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