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  Wednesday, September 17, 2014  
   
 

 
Northern Neck Gourmet
the Lawler house

When first entering the Northern Neck Gourmet you may feel more like you are entering a café in southern France than a local favorite lunch destination, but the warm, friendly atmosphere will surely remind you that you are still in Virginia’s

Northern Neck. The Northern Neck Gourmet has recently undergone new ownership, and even more recently received a new look  Jim and Natalie Fallon took over ownership in April 2007, a short time later they were joined by their son, Patrick, who is 9 ½ months and comes to work with his mom and dad daily. Natalie jokes that “the really good customers even get to have lunch with Patrick,” as Patrick smiles and shows off his new teeth.

 

The new look at the Northern Neck Gourmet is inspired by Provence, France. This look was chosen because of France’s love of good wine and good food and for Jim’s love of that region. “We carry a wide variety of wines from all over the world. We try to keep a range of wines that will suit all of our customers’ palates and price ranges,” explains Jim.Besides wine, the French are also known for their love of cheese. This is exemplified through the Northern Neck Gourmet’s large selection of gourmet cheeses, which vary seasonally while keeping the traditional favorites available year round. Aside from their extensive cheese collection, they also carry Amish butter, French baguettes, and ciabatta, which is similar to a baguette with a hard crust and a softer inside than baguettes.

In keeping with the Provencal theme the couple recently had their brother-in-law paint a mural of a French countryside. They also have replaced the tablecloths in the dining area with tablecloths patterned similar to something you may see in that region and added a fresh coat of paint to the walls and floors in warm hues.

These changes have created a warm, inviting atmosphere that is appreciated by their patrons. Another aspect of the Northern Neck Gourmet that is appreciated by their patrons is their commitment to providing fresh, high quality foods. With the interior of the building being transformed, Natalie and Jim thought it was the perfect time for the menu to be transformed.

Most of the old favorites on the menu have remained, such as the deli sandwiches, soups, and quiches. However, Natalie and Jim decided that it would be best to add items to the menu that reflect the seasons. They have done this through their signature sandwiches and daily specials. In the winter months sandwiches such as roast beef with melted brie and tuna melts have been added as specials while in the warmer months you can expect to see specials that are lighter and have more fresh vegetables, as they come into season.

Another new addition to the Northern Neck Gourmet is their new take out menu. They have a variety of soups and quiches available to take home with you on those nights you do not feel like cooking. “If you give Jim enough notice he will even prepare a quiche with your favorite ingredients,” notes Natalie. They also will package their chicken salad, potato salad, and their delicious pasta salad for you to take home.

The cozier atmosphere that their renovations have given the place makes it an ideal location for evening functions. They are currently hosting their own Tapas and Wine Tasting Nights and Wine Dinners on a regular basis. They also encourage the use  of their facilities for special events such as rehearsal dinners, baby showers, birthdays, meetings and so forth.

Evenings at the Northern Neck Gourmet
As mentioned before, Jim and Natalie have started opening the Northern Neck Gourmet in the evenings for Tapas and Wine Tasting and for Wine Dinners. For these occasions they turn down the overhead lights, turn on a few lamps, and set the tables with candles. This sets a cozy atmosphere for large groups or couples to come and enjoy an evening with delicious foods and delectable wines.

At the Tapas and Wine Tasting you can expect a wide variety of Tapas selections (see sample Tapas menu) and wines to try. These, like all of their food, will vary seasonally. Customers are encouraged to order one or more Tapas, which is similar to an appetizer, and flights of wine, which are tasting size pours (2 oz.) of two different types of wine.

As Jim, an experienced sommelier, comes around he will discuss the wines in each flight and help you select a wine flight that goes well with your Tapas selection. As you order more Tapas, Jim will recommend various flights of wine. The wines offered range from traditional to exotic, and come from vineyards is California, Australia, France, and many other locations. Each wine that is sampled can be purchased from Northern Neck Gourmet and is priced around $10-$15. The Tapas tastings have been so well received that Jim has noticed that many of the winemakers from local vineyards have become regulars to these events.

This spring the Northern Neck Gourmet will be offering something a little new and different for their Wine Dinners. Traditionally, they have been offering dinners at which they prepare a full meal and offer wine throughout the meal that is specifically paired with each course to bring out both the flavors of the meal and the flavors in the wine. This spring they will still be offering wine dinners with wines paired to compliment the course, but to change things a bit they will be offering wines from local vineyards. In addition to using local wines they will also be inviting the vineyard winemakers to come and share with the customers information on how the grapes were grown and how the wine was made. This experience should enhance their well received dinners and give their customers additional education on local wines.

The Northern Neck Gourmet offers the perfect opportunity to try something new without needing to travel great distances. The  wine selection offered is comparable to that of a wine shop in Richmond or Fredericksburg. The only thing missing is the commute. The menu (for lunch and takeout) is always fresh and delicious. And, now with their evening activities, a night out for wining and dining is literally just around the corner.

For additional information on the Northern Neck Gourmet’s offerings please stop by or give them a call. They are located at 115 Main Street in Warsaw, or can be telephoned at (804) 333-3012. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm

Tapas Menu
Spinach Salad with warm
Bacon Dressing and Apples
Cheese Plate with Baquette
Thai Lettuce Wraps
Warm Crab Dip
Penne with Artichokes
Asian Shrimp Skewers
Petite Salmon BLT Wraps
Roast Pork Loin
Toasted Almond Cream Cake
Chocolate Mousse Cake

Cheeses
Northern Neck Gourmet Cheese Spread—This spread has a creamy base and is flavored with scallions, garlic,lemon, and other great flavors.

Asiago (Italy)—This cheese has a flavor reminiscent of cheddar and parmesan. It is often used in salads, soups, pasta and sauces.

Cotswold (England)—This cheese is also commonly referred to as Gloucester Cheese is a type of cheddar with chives and onions in it.

Huntsman (England)—This cheese is a combination of Cotswold and Stilton. They are combined in alternating layers by hand.

Royal Stilton (England)—This cheese is a type of blue cheese made in either Derbyshire, Leicestershire, or Nottinghamshire in England.

Bleu D’Auvergne (France)—This is one of the top French blue cheeses.

Brie Belletoile (Triple Cream) (France)—Brie is a soft cheese to begin with, triple cream brie contains more cream and has an even creamier texture.

Brie Couronne (Double Cream) (France)—This is another type of brie available. Double cream means that is has more cream added to it than the traditional brie, but not as much as triple cream so it is closer to traditional brie’s texture, just a little creamier.

Gruyere (Switzerland)—This is a hard yellow cheese, named for the region of Switzerland from which it hails. This type of cheese is commonly used in quiches and fondues.

Gouda (Holland)—This is a sweet, yellow cheese. It is aged in wax to prevent it from loosing its moisture during the process.

Smoked Gouda (Holland)—This cheese has the same sweet taste as traditional Gouda accompanied with the a smoky taste that has been added.

Rembrandt Aged Gouda (Holland)—This type of Gouda has been aged longer than traditional Gouda allowing it to take on a slightly different taste.

Wensleydale with Cranberries (England)—This cheese has a supple, crumbly, moist texture. It is often combined with sweeter fruits, and in this case cranberries.

Manchego (Spain)—This cheese is made from sheep’s milk. It is a semi-hard cheese that ranges from mild to sharp depending on how long it has aged.

Amish Cream Cheese—This cream cheese is made in keeping with Amish traditions and is creamier than typical cream cheeses