Kelsey and I spent a few hours this past Sunday enjoying the beautiful weather at the 2nd Annual Shell-Raiser’s Shindig, an event benefiting the Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The program is a joint effort lead by the VCU Rice Rivers Center where volunteers collect oyster shells from a number of participating restaurants and work to return them to the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay, an act that brings with it a number of benefits for the environment.
In addition to being for great cause, the event had all the makings of an afternoon well spent: food, drinks, live music and of course, lots and lots of oysters! The event took place at Libbie Mill-Midtown in a beautiful spot overlooking some water. Shell-Raiser’s Shindig featured oysters from Virginia’s various oyster regions, dishes from a number of different chefs and a number of beverage options from across the state including beer, wine, cider and non-alcoholic beverages. Everything was included in the cost of a ticket, and you can rest assured that we took full advantage! We started off with some wine and decided to take a lap to survey all of our options before getting any food. If we know anything about food events, we know it’s good to have a game plan!
Our plan to not get any food until we got our bearings didn’t last long because we quickly stumbled upon Shagbark’s table, where Chef Walter Bundy had created a delicious bisque that included jumbo lump crab, Virginia smoked slab bacon, corn and fermented hot sauce. This dish was probably our favorite from the event, and we agreed that we would not complain one bit if this made an appearance on the regular menu at Shagbark.
Another dish we tried was from Chef Ian Robbins of Cafe Provencal at the Williamsburg Winery, a butternut squash puree topped with roasted carrot, a sage marshmallow and granola. This was a great mix of fall flavors and my favorite part was the unique addition of the sage marshmallow.
Of course, we had to enjoy some oysters and we sampled some of both the raw and roasted variety topped with a variety of accroutments. As any good party that involves oysters should be, the event was well stocked with cocktail sauce, horseradish, lemons, mignonette and crackers.
We enjoyed chatting with the team at Tangier Island Oysters, sampling their oysters and learning more about the island that is the most recent addition to the Virginia Oyster Trail.
We also tried roasted Cedar Pointe Oysters with a citrus herb butter and aged parmesan cheese from Chef Mike Ledesma of East Coast Provisions, The Daily and The Hill Café. I’m a big fan of roasted oysters so was happy to see these on the menu in addition to all of the raw oysters.
We ended the event on a sweet note with a taste of foie apple fritters with cinnamon sugar and foie-anglaise prepared by Chef Kevin Church of Postbellum. These treats were every bit as good as they sound.
All in all, the event was a fun way to spend a few hours outside tasting a number of different items from talented chefs! What’s your favorite food event in Richmond?
Tell us in the comments below!