A Chef’s Herb Garden

Palladio Restaurant at the Barboursville Vineyards

bsville tastg roomIMG_1102 When my sister called to ask where we could go for an afternoon of wine-tasting to celebrate my brother-      in-law’s birthday, I knew the answer at once. The rolling countryside in central Virginia has seen a booming growth in wineries. There are now over 70 wineries clustered around historic Charlottesville with a dozen enjoying national reputations. These gorgeous vineyard estates have also become destination venues for     weddings for many brides. The area abounds with wine trails and tours and tourists.

 

The beautiful Barboursville Vineyards, established in 1976, spreads across 1000 acres of rolling hills looking toward the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west. It is one of the most famous here and so that is where we headed. The rustic Tasting Room is old-world gorgeous, the staff knowledgeable and friendly, and for a $5 tasting fee you can sample more than 15 award-winning wines. Plus they give you an inscribed wine glass as a souvenir. We had great fun and learned a lot about their elegant wines.

 

Here’s a nice video about the Barboursville Vineyards:  http://www.barboursvillewine.net/winery/film

 

But for me the highlight of the afternoon was the discovery of the impeccable chef’s herb garden in front of the winery’s renowned Palladio Restaurant.

flowering English thyme

flowering English thyme

I can’t remember when I have seen a large kitchen herb garden bursting with such beauty and health and bounty. The garden consists of raised beds with one culinary herb growing in each bed – tarragon, chives, English thyme, rosemary, sweet marjoram, basil…When I saw these herb beds I immediately wished I could harvest some of these glorious herbs and make lots of beautiful and delicious herbal vinegars.

so many chive blossoms

so many chive blossoms

 

And so this visit has inspired a new project here and that is what is coming next: a practical guide for making herbal vinegars at home. There will be easy directions and photos as well as specific recipes for both making and using your herbal vinegars. You will learn how to make beautiful herbal vinegars and how to create an herbal bouquet in every bottle. These herbal vinegars are also wonderful gifts to share with your family and friends.

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