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Experience the LOVE of Virginia

Local eateries battle for Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness Champion title

~Winner will be announced at the end of April and featured on Virginia.org~

RICHMOND (April 14, 2014) -- Although hopes for a Virginia school to win the NCAA Championship were dashed in the Sweet Sixteen, Virginians and visitors alike can still get in on the bracket action and show some Virginia pride with Virginia is for Lovers' Culinary Madness, a social campaign from Virginia Tourism Corporation in search of Virginia's favorite food dish.  

In a series of head-to-head voting challenges, the nominees are broken down into traditional bracket-style fashion. By popular vote, the Savory Sixteen dishes have been established and the top contenders will go on to compete in the Enticing Eight, Flavorful Four, and finally, the Championship Round. The final vote will determine the 2014 Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness Champion, which will be featured through the Virginia is for Lovers social media channels and on Virginia.org.  

"Virginia has become a premiere culinary destination and is catching the attention of the nation. Our emerging culinary scene is igniting passion from locals and visitors alike, spurring exciting conversations about Virginia chefs, dishes, purveyors, wineries, and craft breweries," said Rita McClenny, CEO and President of Virginia Tourism Corporation. "The Culinary Madness competition is giving communities an opportunity for Virginians to celebrate local chefs across the commonwealth."  

More than 48,000 votes have already been cast, and voting for the Savory Sixteen ends at midnight on April 14, so be sure to get your vote in now by visiting Virginia.org/Culinary Madness.

The Savory Sixteen contenders are, in no particular order:  

·         Schweinshaxe , The Bavarian Chef, Fredericksburg This tender braised pork shank is served on a bed of homemade sausage stuffing and topped with crispy onions  

·         Autumn Olive Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Zynodoa, Staunton Zynodoa's locally-sourced Autumn Olive Farm pork entrée includes pickled grape jam, Meadow Creek Dairy's Mountaineer cheese bruleed cornbread, and Harvest Thyme Herbs corn shoot salad.  

·         Nana's Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Cypress Grille, Hampton Perfectly fried chicken is paired with pepper milk thyme gravy, Yukon gold whipped potatoes and French beans.  

·         The Station Burger, Smithfield Station, Smithfield Eight ounces of Angus beef is served over a slice of Smithfield ham and topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, Smithfield bacon, and jumbo lump crab meat. It's all served on a toasted home baked roll.  

·         Fried Green Tomato BLT, The Horseshoe Restaurant, South Hill Crispy, deep fried green tomatoes piled high, with bacon and lettuce make this traditional southern dish out of this world.  

·         Southern Comfort, Something Different Restaurant, Urbanna The homemade bun receives a house made pimento cheese spread on both slices before the smoked brisket, country ham and thinly sliced dill pickle top it off. It's grilled in clarified butter until nicely browned on both sides.  

·         The Fredericksburger, FOODE, Frediercksburg This burger starts with Auburnlea Farms' grass-fed organic beef and is topped with sharp cheddar, bacon aioli and Blehneim Organic Gardens' lettuce. It's served on a seared Lyon's Bakery brioche.  

·         Deep-Fried Coca-Cola Brined Chicken Livers, The Bank Food and Drink, Pearisbburg Chicken livers are brined in Coca-Cola, deep fried quickly and served with a bacon balsamic remoulade.  

·         Tommy Leggett's York River Oysters, Waypoint Seafood and Grill, Williamsburg The "Waypoint Way" Oyster is a baked York River oyster topped with Virginia ham, sautéed spinach, lump crabmeat and Cabot cheddar cheese baked with a classical sauce béarnaise until golden brown.  

·         Peanut Butter Bang Sundae, Dippers Ice Cream, Ridgeway Freshly baked chocolate cake cup is filled with homemade Peanut Butter & Brownie Explosion ice cream and topped with homemade hot fudge and peanut butter sauces.  

·         Black and Bleu Medallions, The Tavern, Abingdon Eight ounces of blackened filet are topped with bleu cheese crumbles and port wine reduction.  

·         The Thanksgiving Sandwich, The Little Apple Pastry Shop, Aldie Served daily, this sandwich includes roasted turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, all freshly prepared.  

·         Cottage Pie, Corgans Publick House, Harrisonburg Ground beef is simmered in house Guinness brown sauce with carrots, celery and peas before it's poured over mashed potatoes and topped with puff pastry.  

·         Bruschetta with Portabella, Polyface Sausage and Smoked Gouda, New Leaf Pastry Kitchen, Harrisonburg House-made rosemary focaccia is split and spread with herbed goat cheese before being filled with roasted Portobella mushrooms, onions, Polyface Farms' sausage, and shredded smoked Gouda. It's served hot with a Parmesan crisp and Dijon crème fraiche.  

·         Spring Harvest Virginia Faux, Crooked Billet - Landsdowne Resort, Leesburg Vegan and gluten-free, this take on traditional Vietnamese pho is served as a hot entrée utilizing local ingredients like rice noodles, miso, tofu and Sriracha.  

·         Wagyu Burger, The Trellis, Williamsburg Eight ounces of hand-patted Wagyu beef is seared on cast iron, served on toasted house-made focaccia and topped with Portobello mushroom. Vidalia onion, Bibb lettuce, tomato, black pepper bacon and truffle cheese is served on the side with duck fat fries, truffle mayonnaise and bretchup, the house-made ketchup.

Cast your vote now by visiting Virginia.org/CulinaryMadness.

VTC is promoting all of Virginia.org's culinary offerings throughout the month of April by way of e-Newsletters and social media efforts.  

Virginia is the premiere destination for food, wine, and so much more. Want a taste of what Virginia has to offer? Visit Virginia.org and plan your next vacation in Virginia. 

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