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Sweet aftertaste

Wines with dessert heighten culinary delight

by Despina G. Demetriades and Su Peterson

 

This fall, lift your next dinner to a higher level of culinary delight by topping off the evening with an exciting wine paired with dessert. We follow the philosophy that wine selection comes first, then choice of dessert; actually, we encourage this for all courses.

 

Some terrifically tasty autumn desserts include poached pears in red wine, La Tarte Tatin, key lime pie, pumpkin cheesecake, Three Berry Crème Brulee Pie with macadamia crust and Greek walnut cake, or Karidopeta. Alternative desserts include the three Cs: cookies, cheese and chocolate. At the end of a lovely dinner, they hold their own with the right wines and add a tantalizing joy to the evening.

 

Exquisite pairings

Poached pears in red wine make a perfect dessert after a red meat-focused dinner. While lighter than many desserts, the pear’s delicate flavors become elevated when paired with Brachetto d’Acqui. A sparkling red wine from Italy’s Piedmont region, Brachetto d’Acqui is a sweet, refreshing accompaniment to this dessert. Pears also can be poached in white wine and paired with Sauternes or German Riesling.

 

Julia Child herself prepared La Tarte Tatin on TV decades ago. Her recommendation to balance this buttery, caramelized apple and sweet cream dessert was a sparkling Vouvray wine. Vouvray, made with the Chenin Blanc grape, comes from France’s Loire Valley, which is known as the garden of France. A demi-sec sparkling Vouvray complements the caramelization in this dessert while adding a palate-refreshing experience with the Vouvray’s sparkle and freshness.

 

Key lime pie has just the right acidity, sweetness and intensity of flavor to release a waterfall on the palate. Such a zippy, sweet dessert needs a wine with a hint more sweetness while still having good acidity. Pair it with Beaumes de Venise, a sweet wine from France’s Rhône Valley that’s made with the Muscat grape. The aromas of tropical fruit, hints of honey and white flowers follow through onto the palate, matching perfectly with the pie’s flavors.

 

Pumpkin cheesecake — a fall staple — marries a favorite taste of autumn with a favorite dessert to deliver an outstanding taste experience, especially when paired with Sauternes or Champagne.

 

Berries abound this time of year, so bake a Three Berry Crème Brulee Pie with macadamia crust and enjoy it with Banyuls — a port-style sweet red wine — or Ruby Port. Karidopeta is an easy-to-prepare dessert that pairs exotically with a Greek Muscato or a Pessito from Italy.

 

The three Cs

Twice-baked cookies — better known as biscotti in Italy, Paximadia in Greece and Carquinyolis in Spain — come in a variety of flavors and consistencies. At the end of a delicious yet filling dinner, savor this dessert with a glass of Vin Santo, a sweet wine from Tuscany that’s made with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. Italians dunk their biscotti into Vin Santo, so when in Rome …

 

An intriguing, tasty pairing with regional cheeses is Jurançon, a sweet white wine from Southwest France. Regional cheeses include Roquefort, a blue cheese; Cabecou, made from goat’s milk; Cantal Laguiole, made from cow’s milk; and Ossau Iraty, made from sheep’s milk. Dessert-style Jurançon, typically made with Petit Manseng grapes, is not as sweet as most Sauternes but has flavors reminiscent of pineapple, orange zest, and honey drops, with floral notes. The winemaker might toss in some lesser-known grapes like Camaralet, Courbu and Lauzet for taste.

 

Last but certainly not least comes the dessert option of chocolate with a complex wine. Several selections pair nicely with white chocolate, including Moscato d’Asti and Muscat d’Orange. With milk chocolate, the palate likely prefers sparkling wine, Champagne or a good Ruby Port. Bring out a rich Pinot Noir for dark chocolates around 55 percent and Banyuls for fine chocolates over 60 percent. Generally aged about eight years in oak, Banyuls exudes red fruit accented with vanilla bean flavors. It’s a classic match that will create a splendid memory.

 

Whether you select a dessert before wine or take our audacious path of selecting wine first, visit your knowledgeable, independent wine retailer for assistance. The bottom line: Have fun and live.

 

Despina G. Demetriades and Su Peterson are co-owners of Zeto, a wine and cheese shop in Greensboro. To learn more, call (336) 574-2850 or visit www.zetowines.com.

 


How to serve dessert wine

A general rule of thumb for serving dessert wine is that it be sweeter than the dessert itself. Chill the wine to between 53 and 57 degrees Fahrenheit and serve a three-ounce pour per person. Taste the

Simple fall fare

by Chef Tara Davis

 

It seems that once the humidity subsides and the air becomes crisper, the entertaining commitments begin to stack up. We’ve all been there. You’ve been invited to a friend’s house for dinner far too many times, and now it’s time to reciprocate. But you’re tired, busy and are at a complete loss as to what to make.

 

Most of us have certain foolproof dishes to turn to when company is coming, yet often it’s the other required courses — namely dessert and appetizers — that leave us feeling overwhelmed.

 

In an effort to relieve some of this stress — and, dare I say, let you actually enjoy the cooking process as well as your guests — I’ve come up with a few dessert options that capture the flavors of the season and a super-easy appetizer that literally never disappoints.

 

Fall fare wouldn’t be complete without apples and pumpkins. In fact, I rarely cook with them other than this time of year. I’ve always loved apple crisp, in large part due to its irresistible buttery, crunchy streusel topping. It’s a brilliant contrast of texture with the softened apples and hits some of the salty-sweet flavor profile that I continually strive for in my cooking.

 

When I was younger, I used to make an apple-almond crisp — or should I say many of them — during fall months. A few years ago, I started making it into a pie instead. I know what you’re thinking: Why complicate things? But if you use a refrigerated pie crust, it makes putting this together a lot easier than making one from scratch, and you still get the benefits of both a pie and a crisp. To me, this is a match made in heaven.

 

I’m a big proponent of almonds and try to sneak them into different recipes. They’re rich in protein and omega 3s and are a good source of fat, and a little goes along way. I love how they complement the apples in this pie. Serve it warm à la mode with vanilla ice cream, and your guests will be reminded of the family dinners of their childhoods.

 

I also like to use almonds as a well-placed garnish for baked brie with apricots and honey. This is a quick, delicious appetizer that can be assembled ahead of time or à la minute, and it never fails to delight. You also can make a few at a time and give them out to friends or take to the next potluck. Simply layer phyllo dough sheets with melted butter, place a small wheel of brie in the center, top with apricot preserves, seal it up, and bake until golden brown and flaky. Then drizzle it with good-quality honey and sliced almonds. It’s wonderful served with whole-grain crackers and a sliced baguette. If you’re not a big fan of apricots, then you also can make this with fig preserves — both are equally delectable.

 

My cousin is a big fan of pumpkins, so each year I like to come up with new ways to surprise her. This year, I made a parfait. I start out with crushed gingersnaps, then make a pumpkin filling with whipped cream cheese and the standard pumpkin pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. I layer it with the cookies and a fresh cinnamon-scented whipped cream and let it sit overnight. It becomes a cool, creamy, almost cheesecake-like dessert with lots of pumpkin spice flavor. This makes a perfect end to a fall meal. It looks lovely and sophisticated served individually, yet it also gives that familiar taste of comfort that we’re all looking for this time of year.

 

I’m always searching for ways to cut down on day-of cooking time. These three recipes can be prepared ahead, leaving you with less to do before guests arrive — and hopefully enough time to do your hair.

 

Tara Davis is a personal chef and cooking instructor based in Chapel Hill. An active member of the Slow Foods USA/Triangle and a supporter of the local farm-to-table movement, she frequently offers group cooking demonstrations through her company, The Studious Chef. To learn more, visit www.studiouschef.com.

 


 

Fall recipes

Recipes by Chef Tara Davis  |  Photography by Flint Davis

 

baked brieHoneyed Baked Brie With Apricots and Almonds

(serves six)

 

12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

1/3-cup apricot preserves

1/4-cup sliced almonds

3-4 tablespoons honey

1 small wheel brie cheese (about 8 ounces)

1/4-cup butter, melted

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay one sheet of phyllo vertically on the baking sheet, and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of dough on top and brush with butter. Do this with six sheets. Then place the seventh through 12th sheets horizontally so that you have a cross of dough.

 

Place the brie in the center. Spread the apricot preserves on top.

 

Gently lift one end of the phyllo dough and bring it to the center. Holding it with your thumb and forefinger, fold and cinch the dough around the brie to make a bundle. Brush with remaining butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and flaky.

 

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with almonds. Serve with crackers or a sliced baguette.

Pumpkin ParfaitPumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits

(serves six)

 

For the Parfaits and Pumpkin Filling:

1 cup gingersnap cookies, crushed

12 ounces whipped cream cheese

3/4-cup pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4-teaspoon ground cloves

1/2-teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

 

For the Cinnamon Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

 

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt, and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

 

To assemble, line up six parfait glasses or custard cups and sprinkle the bottoms of each with 1 to 2 tablespoons of gingersnap cookies, then cover with a large spoonful of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle each with more gingersnaps, then a large spoonful of whipped cream. Repeat, layering until all ingredients have been used. End with a layer of whipped cream and garnish with remaining gingersnaps. Refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.

apple pieApple Almond Streusel Pie

(serves eight)

 

For the Streusel Topping:

1/2-cup unsalted butter, diced

1/4-cup all-purpose flour

3/4-cup brown sugar

1/2-cup oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4-cup sliced almonds

Pinch of salt

 

For the Pie:

1 refrigerated pie crust

5 Braeburn, Gala or Jonagold apples, peeled, cored,
and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/4-cup all-purpose flour

1/4-cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4-teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the streusel by combining all topping ingredients a bowl. Mix with your hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture forms small, pea-sized clumps. Set aside.

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss apples with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and almond extracts until evenly coated.

 

Press pie crust into a 9-inch-deep pie plate and crimp the edges. Add apples to pie plate and sprinkle topping in an even layer over apples. Bake for 25 minutes, then place aluminum foil over the pie to prevent overbrowning. Continue to bake for another 25 minutes or until the top is golden and juices are bubbling.

Fine wine

Fine wine

Tours showcase state’s bounty

by Danielle Jackson

 

It’s hard to believe that almost 100 wineries call North Carolina home. The state — ranked No. 7 in the country in wine production — also is quickly becoming one of the top wine destinations in the country. And for good reason.

 

Located everywhere from the mountains to the coast, wineries offer a homegrown taste of what the state offers. And a growing movement is making sure that North Carolina residents know what’s available locally.

 

“Despite the fact that we have so many wineries, there are still people just realizing that we have a wine industry here,” says Margo Knight Metzger, executive director for the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council, an advocacy group established in 1986 to promote the industry.

 

“We try to make sure everyone knows that there’s a winery nearby,” she adds. “No matter where you live in the state, there’s a winery within 100 miles.”

 

The state of grapes

Winemaking actually is quite a tradition in North Carolina. The first commercial winery was established in 1835, with 25 wineries in operation by 1900. The state was leading the country in wine production by the turn of the 20th century, but in 1919 Prohibition drew everything to a halt.

 

“A few wineries managed to stay in business making juice and Communion wine,” Metzger says.

 

The late 1990s were a time of resurgence for the North Carolina wine industry, with the number of wineries jumping to 34 by 2004. Today, there are 96 throughout the state, with the heaviest concentration in the western Piedmont.

 

“The Piedmont area is becoming known for it vineyards and excellent wines,” says Scott Stanley, owner and general manager of Autumn Creek Vineyards in Mayodan.

 

North Carolina wineries focus on two varieties: native Muscadine and European-style Vinifera grapes.

 

Muscadine grapes — also known as Scuppernong, the official fruit of North Carolina — thrive in the hot, sandy conditions of the coastal region, while Vinifera — with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and Viognier — primarily are grown in the Piedmont and western regions.

 

“If you think about the state and how varied it is from the high mountains to the foothills to the clay of the Piedmont and sand of the flat, coastal plains, you’ll see that we grow different grapes for all of these places,” Metzger notes.

 

“Each wine has a sense of place, wherever it’s coming from.”

 

Autumn Creek, for instance, has a 100-acre farm with 15 acres of vines and offers 12 varieties, from dry reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to whites such as Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Grigio.

 

A whirlwind of wine

To showcase these varieties at wineries throughout the state, the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council helps promote the dozens of wine trails available.And with N.C. Wine Appreciation Month in September, it’s a better time than ever to see the state’s wine growers in action.

 

“It’s farming at its core,” Metzger says of the industry.

 

“I have been amazed at the resiliency of the people in this business, and impressed with their ability to weather a variety of storms, both economic and traditional.”

 

Autumn Creek is one such success story. The vineyard, which features a tasting room in addition to cabins for weekend getaways, is adding a 6,000-square-foot pavilion for hosting larger indoor and outdoor weddings and other events.

 

“We are committed to becoming the premier vineyard in the Triad and plan to continue to add to our facility with the addition of two more planned cabins, as well as with the planting of additional grape vines,” Stanley says.

 

Metzger notes that in addition to the quantity of wineries available today, quality has improved as well.

 

“There are so many North Carolina wines that I’m proud to pour for people,” she says.

 

“For those who think they know North Carolina wine but haven’t tried it lately, I’d suggest trying it again.”

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

 


On the wine trail

Fall is the perfect time to head to any one of the region’s many wineries and explore all that winemaking in North Carolina has to offer.

 

Check out these trails — all within an hour or so — to take it all in. For a full list or for a map of the state’s many wine trails, call toll-free (877) 362-9463 or visit www.visitncwine.com.

 

Haw River Wine Trail: Conveniently located between the Triangle and Triad, this set of four wineries follows the path of the Haw River and features European varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Savignon, Muscadine wines like Carlos and Magnolia, and dessert wines made from blackberries and strawberries. Wineries include Benjamin Vineyards & Winery in Saxapahaw, GlenMarie Vineyards & Winery in Burlington, Grove Winery in Gibsonville, and Glen Iron Gate Vineyards in Mebane.

 

Piedmont Heritage Wine Trail: This relaxing drive through the rolling hills and farmland of the northern Piedmont region includes stops at Stonefield Cellars in Stokesdale, Grove Winery in Gibsonville, Chinqua Penn Vineyards in Reidsville and Autumn Creek Vineyards in Mayodan. These wineries feature almost every type of wine imaginable, from Cabernet Sauvignon to Muscadine varieties like Carlos and Niagara.

 

Yadkin Valley Wine’s Lexington Loop: This tour of four Yadkin Valley wineries takes you through prime farmland just southwest of Winston-Salem. Wineries on the tour include Childress Vineyards, Weathervane Winery and Junius Lindsay Vineyard in Lexington, and RayLen Vineyards in Mocksville.

 

Yadkin Valley Wine’s Scenic 421 Corridor: This trail — which meanders along a section of U.S. Highway 421 — stretches from Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge in Purlear to Alison Oaks Vineyards and Hanover Park Vineyard in Yadkinville to Westbend Vineyards in Lewisville.

Key West kick

The Village Grill remains a local favorite after 25 years

by Danielle Jackson

 

In July 1985, Randy Cox’s dream of opening his own restaurant came true. After eight years in food service and seven as manager of The Cutting Board Restaurant in Burlington, Cox was eager to have a place he could call his own. When property owners approached him with an opportunity to open his own place on Huffman Mill Road, he jumped at the chance.

 

Twenty-five years — and two additional restaurants — later, Cox’s creation, The Village Grill, still stands as one of Alamance County’s most popular eateries.

 

The restaurant — best described as an American grill with a Key West feel — is known for its signature Key West Chicken and fresh seafood specialties.

 

“The folks at The Cutting Board had been very good to me, and I didn’t want to be in direct competition with them as another steakhouse,” Cox says of his decision to focus on white-meat entrees.

 

A focus on fresh

Cox and his business partner, Wayne Bunting, say their focus on fresh, locally grown foods is a primary reason for The Village Grill’s success over the years. There’s no such thing as a bagged salad or frozen seafood at the restaurant, and all dressings and desserts — including its signature key lime pie, chocolate pie and strawberry shortcake — are created on the premises.

 

The Village Grill also serves North Carolina-raised poultry, locally made beer from nearby Red Oak Brewery, wines from Iron Gate Vineyards & Winery in Mebane and Shelton Vineyards in Dobson, and fresh local produce whenever possible. A new fresh seafood item is featured every week, from mahi and ahi tuna to crab cakes and grilled Atlantic salmon.

 

But the restaurant’s Key West Chicken remains a fan favorite. There’s an entire section of the menu dedicated to the specialty, which is marinated and tenderized on site. The marinade, which has a citrus and lime juice base, includes a specialized mix of brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and mustard, among other ingredients.

 

“We put a lot of time and energy into it,” Bunting says of the marinade.

 

The eatery’s décor — designed as an island theme with help from local artist John Wade — ties into its Key West theme. The Village Grill includes an open, airy dining room that seats up to 150 people and a bar in the back.

 

“We’re a restaurant in the bar business, not a bar in the restaurant business,” Bunting notes.

 

Cox and Bunting — who met while working for Biscuitville and also own the Blue Ribbon Diners in Burlington and Mebane — often can be seen around the restaurant, clearing tables after a busy lunch. It’s this focus on customer service that they also say keeps patrons coming back.

 

“Offering good service and good food have always been key elements in the success of The Village Grill,” Cox says.

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

 


Shrimp and Grits

(serves six to eight; recipe by Wesley Cook)

 

For the Stone-Ground Cheese Grits:

1/3-cup or about 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2-cup onion, thinly diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 quarts or 6 cups chicken or shrimp stock

2 cups water

2 cups stone-ground grits

1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2-teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded

1/4-cup Parmesan, shredded

2 ounces butter

1/2-cup heavy cream

 

Rub the red bell pepper with some vegetable oil. Roast at 425 degrees or under a broiler until skin turns black, constantly turning it over to cook evenly. Place pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to help loosen the skin. Remove blackened skin and core, then dice and set aside.

 

Place a teaspoon of oil and diced onion in a saucepan and sauté on medium-high until softened and golden. Add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add roasted red pepper, stock and water, and bring mixture to a boil. Add grits and stir vigorously with a whisk. Let the mixture come back to a boil, then let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. While grits are cooking, prepare the shrimp (see below).

 

After grits are cooked, remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cover with foil and set aside.

 

For the Shrimp:

36 to 40 shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails on

2 tablespoons blackening spice or Creole seasoning

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large tomato, diced

1/2-pound Andouille or another spicy sausage, diced

1/3-bottle white wine

 

In a bowl, toss shrimp with spices. Heat a large sauté pan on medium-high with oil, then add sausage and tomato and cook until sausage starts to turn a darker brown. Add shrimp to pan and cook on one side. Turn shrimp over and deglaze pan with enough white wine to cover the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until wine has mostly evaporated and shrimp are opaque. Remove from heat.

 

To serve, scoop grits into large bowls or plates and place about six shrimp on top of each. Pour tomatoes, sausage and wine over top.

 


If you go

The Village Grill is located at 580 Huffman Mill Road, across from Holly Hill Mall in Burlington. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To learn more, call (336) 584-1497 or visit www.bestfoodintown.com.

Make way for fall

Some fashion trends making a comeback this season

by Meg Wilkins Strader

 

 

Fall offers a wide range of opportunities to enjoy special occasions or outdoor activities. As we slip out of summer and head into fall, keep some of these updated trends in mind when sprucing up your wardrobe.

 

As always, color plays a major role this season. But the vibrant shades from the spring and summer palette are toned down, with jeweltones of amethyst, peacock teal, and maroon appearing in designers’ offerings. For added appeal, these colors and designs are frequently accented with sparkling sequins, hand-sewn leather pailletes, and other forms of leather trim.

 

Leather jackets are back, and the fashion industry has done a fabulous job of keeping them affordable, especially with new faux leather fabrications.

 

Skirts are always an important element, and this fall the tulip cut is a flattering option. It’s a sophisticated silhouette that can be complemented with a nice pair of patterned tights. This season’s tights range from dots and stripes to argyles and cable knits. Leggings are back as well, offering versatility in both denim and Ponte, a versatile fabric.

 

Ponte is great for its comfortable stretch that maintains its shape. It’s also ideal for travel because it packs and wears well, and you can dress it up or down. Corduroy has made quite a showing in fall offerings as well. Both corduroy and Ponte can be found in multiple colors.

 

Denim, of course, remains a timeless favorite and is available this season in boot, skinny, and straight legs. Be sure to look for denim that’s lacquered, a treatment process that gives it a sheen that’s perfect for a dressier look.

 

If you weren’t quite ready for the exposed zipper that found its way into many spring and summer designs, then you have another shot to embrace it this fall. It can be found all over and offers a simple statement of interest on classic styles.

 

Studs also can be found on a wide range of designs, from leggings, pants and jackets to shoes, handbags, and tops. Shoulder pads also have found their way back into tops this season, as well as a high-low hemline that offers more coverage over the hips. This is a sleek look that works well with a military-style jacket and skinny pants.

 

Cool weather always beckons us to make some much-needed wardrobe changes. Keep these trends in mind as you’re shopping this fall, and incorporate them into your own personal style.

 

Meg Wilkins Strader is owner of Simply Meg’s, a clothing boutique located at The Shops at Friendly Center in Greensboro. To learn more, call (336) 272-2555 or visit www.simplymegs.com.

The printed word

Custom invitations add elegance to events

by Cindy Hodnett

 

 

We text on our cell phones. We chat online. We post messages on Facebook. In the fast-paced society that is our 21st century lifestyle, electronic options for communication are almost endless. Yet despite the ease of talking via technology, many people are returning to a time-honored tradition when it comes to important occasions: printed invitations.

 

“Invitations show a degree of advanced planning for very special occasions,” says Valerie Sutton of Benjamin Craig Stationers Inc. in Greensboro.

 

“They say to the recipient, ‘You were important enough to me to plan a most memorable time for you,’ ” she adds. “The pendulum has swung so far to the impersonal side that many people are beginning to head back the other way.”

 

Gretchen Wright of Wright Choices in High Point agrees.

 

“Printed invitations are more personal than e-mail and are a keepsake for an event,” she says.

 

“While e-mail has changed the stationery environment, I think that people still like to receive a personalized invitation in the mail for special events, something that can be kept for years if they so desire.”

 

Something special

According to Sutton, the children of Baby Boomers are embracing several traditions when it comes to invitations but are adding their own contemporary twist.

 

“Graphics and wording are playful and colorful, whether it’s an engraved or imprinted invitation,” she says.

 

Ashleigh Marion of Ashleigh’s Fine Paper in Greensboro says bright colors and bold fonts are popular with clients. The addition of jewels and ribbons adds another layer of customization to both formal and casual invitations.

 

Ashleigh’s is one of three stationers in the state to offer C’est Papier.

 

“This line is about as custom as you can get,” Marion explains. “It takes a bit longer to receive the order, but it’s well worth it. Personally, it’s one of my favorites.”

 

At Ashleigh’s, customers can choose from among 3,000 fonts, and hundreds of patterns and prints.

 

“The selection gives you a chance to express your personality,” she says.

 

At Note Worthy — a family-owned fine paper and gift boutique that recently moved into larger space at Thruway Shopping Center in Winston-Salem — customers can choose their invitations among several brands, including Crane, Envelopments, Stacy Claire Boyd, Sweet Pea, Vera Wang and William Arthur.

 

“We’re seeing a lot of letter-pressed, pocketed and layered invitations,” says owner Jennifer Stern.

 

Unique works of art

For many, the first venture into the world of printed invitations occurs in conjunction with a wedding. However, even the most traditional bride and groom often will opt to design their own invitations with unexpected embellishments.

 

“A lot of our brides are choosing to incorporate their wedding colors into their invitations with textured and colored papers,” Stern says, adding that she’s also seeing the use of two lettering styles in a single invitation.

 

“Everything is possible with an invitation,” says Robyn Goslen of Invitations Only in Winston-Salem.

 

“Some people incorporate photographs, while others include original artwork.”

 

All area shops offer on-site printing, cutting down on turnaround time.

 

“Many invitations can be customized, so if you like a pattern but would like different colors we can do that,” Wright says.

 

According to Sutton, many of Benjamin Craig’s clients see the process of creating custom invitations as an integral part of the overall event.

 

“Our customers tell us that they come here whenever they need to feel good, and that’s our goal,” she says.

 

“We want you to feel special when you come through the door.”

 

Cindy Hodnett is a freelance writer based in Clemmons.

In frame

The Art Shop brings custom designs to life

by Danielle Jackson

 

As the second-oldest business in Greensboro, The Art Shop has quite a history. And while it’s always had a focus on art and custom framing, the retail business has evolved through the years as well.

 

But just because its focus is on art doesn’t mean that only art lovers should stop in.

 

“If you’ve ever felt intimidated walking into an art gallery, you won’t feel that way here,” says Arlene Dolin, vice president and co-owner of the retail art business.

 

The shop exudes a feeling of casual elegance rather than stuffiness, allowing customers to peruse its collections — including original oil paintings and limited-edition graphics on canvas — and ask its expert staff questions along the way. Even its entrance is welcoming, with an atrium adorned with beautiful columns.

 

“You’ll see everything from traditional still lifes to contemporary works by the world’s most collected artists,” Dolin says.

 

“We also have whimsical sculptures, traditional bronze sculptures and fine art glass.”

 

A storied past

Dolin and her husband, Lenny, purchased the shop in 1989 from his father, Stan, who bought it in 1964 and moved it up Market Street from its original downtown location. The Art Shop’s current space at 3900 W. Market St. is only the fourth spot for the gallery in its 111-year history — all on the same street.

 

Its original focus was on art, custom framing and photography, but when Stan Dolin took over he dropped the photography aspect of the business and concentrated on custom framing, art, and supplies. Today, the Dolins, who built a state-of-the-art gallery in 2000, focus exclusively on art and custom framing.

 

The Art Shop also offers expert hanging services; art, framing and photo restoration; and free design assistance. Its commercial art and framing division serves hotels, office buildings, and medical facilities throughout the Triad.

 

Through its Web site, the shop has developed an extensive international customer base, selling and shipping art and framing to clients throughout the world. And its experienced staff — five of whom have been there for a decade or more — can handle everything from the most basic to the most complicated framing projects.

 

“It’s quite unusual in retail to find a business with such long-term employees, but we’re a family-owned business and I think that translates into a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for anyone visiting our gallery,” Dolin says.

 

“A highly experienced and knowledgeable staff is our biggest asset.”

 

Danielle Jackson is editor of Triad Living, Wake Living and Fifteen501 magazines.

 


All about art

The Art Shop, located at 3900 W. Market St. in Greensboro, will host several events this fall and early winter, including a two-man show featuring Korean-born artist Sam Park and Hungarian artist Siska Nov. 19-20 and a holiday open house Dec. 3. For more information on the retail art gallery, call (336) 855-8500 or visit www.artshopnc.com.

OUT & ABOUT

SEPTEMBER

 

Sept. 4-Oct. 3

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

As part of its 16th season, the Community Theatre of Greensboro (CTG) will perform “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” Sept. 4-Oct. 3. In the play, six quirky middle school students — played by adults — vie to win the ultimate spelling bee and prove their worth to themselves and their peers. CTG’s other performances for the 2010-2011 season include “The Wizard of Oz” Nov. 12-21; “Periphery” Feb. 18-27, 2011; “Hairspray” April 7-17; and “13 — The Musical” May 13-15.

Phone: (336) 333-7470, ext. 206

Web site: www.ctgso.org

 

Sept. 11

Bookmarks Festival of Books

The Bookmarks Festival of Books will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Downtown Arts District, located at Sixth and Trade streets in Winston-Salem. The event brings writers and readers of all ages together as authors, illustrators, storytellers, and chefs share their work and insights through readings, presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and book signings. The festival is free and open to the public.

Phone: (336) 460-4722

Web site: www.bookmarksbookfestival.org

 

Sept. 17

Bob MacKay Memorial Golf Tournament

The 17th annual Bob MacKay Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 17 at the Bryan Park Golf & Enrichment Center in Greensboro. Tickets cost $175 per person; all proceeds from the fundraiser go toward blood and marrow transplant, leukemia, and hematology research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Section on Hematology and Oncology. The event features a round of golf and dinner, as well as a chance to win a round of golf for four at TPC Sawgrass. To date, more than $900,000 has been raised through the tournament.

Phone: (336) 286-4930

Web site: www.mackayfoundation.org

 

Sept. 18

Apple Fest

Apple Fest 2010 will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem. The festival will include unique crafts, traditional music, food, demonstrations, colonial re-enactors and games, and horse-drawn wagon rides. The event is free and open to the public.

Phone: (336) 924-8191

Web site: www.bethabarapark.org

 

Sept. 24

Art Unleashed 2010

The Forsyth Humane Society presents Art Unleashed 2010 from 6-11 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem. Adopt artfully decorated, full-sized dog and cat sculptures and original art in a variety of media for your business, home or garden during the event, which also features a silent auction. Tickets cost $20 per person or $300 for a table of eight; proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization.

Phone: (336) 453-4456

Web site: www.forsythhumane.org

 

Sept. 24

Jonathan W. Flowers Memorial Golf Tournament

The YWCA of High Point will host the Jonathan W. Flowers Memorial Golf Tournament Sept. 24. The annual golf tournament benefits the Jonathan W. Flowers Endowment Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship opportunities for regional YWCA youth programs.

Phone: (336) 882-4126

Web site: www.ywcahp.com

 

OCTOBER

Oct. 1-10

Dixie Classic Fair

The Dixie Classic Fair will be held Oct. 1-10 in Winston-Salem. The annual event features a world-class carnival with rides and games, nationally known musical entertainment, food and beverages, livestock and poultry exhibits, and arts and crafts. This year, animals will be available for adoption through several local agencies.

Web site: www.dcfair.com

 

Oct. 2

Harvest Festival

RayLen Vineyards & Winery in Mocksville hosts the Harvest Festival from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 2. Bring lawn chairs to the outdoor event, which will include barbecue from Bennett’s Smokehouse and musical entertainment by Charlene Williams & Friends. Tickets cost $10 per person. The winery also will host a Halloween Open House from 6-10 p.m. Oct. 30.

Phone: (336) 998-3100

Web site: www.raylenvineyards.com

 

Oct. 9

Rabies Vaccination Clinic

The Animal Control Program of the Guilford County Department of Public Health hosts an animal rabies vaccination clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 9 at Pleasant Garden Town Hall. Vaccinations cost $5 per shot, per animal; cash and personal checks will be accepted during the clinic.

Phone: (336) 641-7777

Web site: www.guilfordhealth.org

 

Oct. 14

Dark in the Park

Dark in the Park will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 14 at Historic Bethabara Park in Winston-Salem. The event includes live music with a Halloween twist. Bring the entire family in costume to the free event, which also will feature hayrides and children’s activities. The park also will host a holiday band concert from 7-8 p.m. Nov. 18 at Maple Springs United Methodist Church.

Phone: (336) 924-8191

Web site: www.bethabarapark.org

 

Oct. 19, 27

Gathering of Friends

The 15th annual Gathering of Friends dinner will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Grandover Resort & Conference Center featuring actress Vicki Lawrence. There also will be a luncheon beginning at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 27 at the Sheraton Four Seasons Koury Convention Center featuring Kelly Corrigan. Both events are hosted by Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test. Dinner tickets cost $75 per person, and lunch tickets are $50 each.

Web site: www.earlier.org

 

Oct. 26

YWCA/Belk Lancome Fundraiser

The YWCA of High Point and Belk will host a Lancome event Oct. 26. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward programs of the YWCA.

Phone: (336) 882-4126

Web site: www.ywcahp.com

 

NOVEMBER

Nov. 4

March of DimesSignature Chefs Auction

The 19th annual March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Empire Room in downtown Greensboro. During the fundraiser, 15 of the city’s chefs will compete for top awards; the event also includes a silent auction. Tickets cost $100 per person. All proceeds from the event benefit the March of Dimes Foundation.

Phone: (336) 231-3766

Web site: www.marchofdimes.com

 

Nov. 4-6

Gingerbread Arts & Crafts Fair

The Gingerbread Arts & Crafts Fair will be held Nov. 4-6 at the South Fork Community Center, located at 4403 Country Club Road in Winston-Salem. Hourly door prizes will be awarded during the fair, which is free and open to the public.

Phone: (336) 403-7476

 

Nov. 13

RayLen Vineyards Thanksgiving Open House

RayLen Vineyards & Winery in Mocksville hosts a Thanksgiving Open House from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 13. Stop by for a complimentary tasting to learn which wines pair best with holiday meals. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature Chef Stacy Johnson of From Thyme to Thyme. The winery also hosts a Holiday Open House from 1-5 p.m. Dec. 11.

Phone: (336) 998-3100

Web site: www.raylenvineyards.com

 

Nov. 14

Lake Wobegon Days

The Stevens Center of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in Winston-Salem will present Garrison Keillor in his highly acclaimed one-man-show, “Lake Wobegon Days,” for two performances at 4 p.m. and 7:30 pm. Nov. 14. The show tells tales of the quirky personalities of the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegon, “where the women are strong, men are good-looking and children are above average.” Keillor is the host of public radio’s popular “A Prairie Home Companion” and author of the bestselling “Lake Wobegon Days.” Tickets cost $57 per person for orchestra-level seating, and $38 and $46 for balcony seats.

Phone: (336) 721-1945

Web site: www.uncsa.edu/performances

 

DECEMBER

Dec. 2

Guilford Education Summit

The 2010 Guilford Education Summit will begin at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 2 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. The event features keynote speaker Ron Clark, a North Carolina native and Disney American Teacher of the Year.

Web site: www.guilfordeducationalliance.org

Triad Treasure: A gathering place

The Briles House, home to Junior League of High Point, serves a variety of groups

by Malia Thornton

 

Upon seeing the Briles House for the first time, you might stand in awe of its gorgeous exterior. Once inside, you can find elegant décor that is reminiscent of a time long ago. But what you might not realize is that this historical structure is home to the Junior League of High Point.

 

This home, situated along Main Street in town, once served one small family but now serves the greater community not only by serving as the league’s headquarters but also by offering a venue for meetings and special occasions. And some recent renovations have helped breathe new life into this stately home.

 

A bit of history

The Briles House, which was constructed in 1907, initially was not welcomed with warm wishes. Randolph County natives Lee Addison Briles and his wife, Bertie Wallace Briles, initially were teased by people during the construction of the home for building in what then was considered a rural area. Many of these same people were in awe of the property after the home was finished, though. The couple had inspired others to follow in their footsteps, and upper Main Street soon was filled with gorgeous homes.

 

In 1912, Lee Briles decided to return to Randolph County, where he developed the Hoover Hill Gold Mine. While the couple lived in Randolph County, they rented their home to Weaver Marr, who at the time was superintendent of the High Point City Schools, and Harry Raymond, whose daughter Katherine was a charter member of the city’s junior league.

 

The house remained in the Briles family for 100 years until the death of Ruth Briles, one of three Briles children. In 2002, after she died, the house was purchased by the Junior League of High Point to serve as its new headquarters. In 2007, renovations were completed with the community’s support. Today, the Briles House serves a dual role, both as the headquarters for Junior League of High Point, which is located on the home’s second floor, and a place for the community to gather.

 

A gathering place

These days, the Briles House also is utilized for a variety of fundraising efforts for individuals and other groups in the community. Through pledge options, members can rent the first floor of the house for personal events as well, from showers to meetings.

 

Other fundraising efforts include a Kentucky Derby Party, where guests dress in their Sunday best and don Derby hats; volunteer opportunities, including the Briles House Clean Sweep; and the Trowel and Error Garden Club, which works to maintain the grounds around the house. Members are recognized for their efforts in a variety of ways, including the Carraway Award of Merit.

 

“The Carraway Award was presented to sustaining member Mary Powell DeLille for her tireless efforts to refurbish the house,” says Leigh Anne Kasias, who serves as communications vice president of the Junior League of High Point.

 

In addition to fundraising, the Briles House also offers opportunities for volunteer work and interactive events for children, such as Done-in-a-Day and Kids in the Kitchen. Last year, the organization focused its Done-in-a-Day projects on children in the community. Working with the Boys & Girls Clubs, participants made crafts for virtually every holiday, including pumpkins for Halloween and unique heart creations for Valentine’s Day. Also, during the free fifth annual Kids in the Kitchen interactive event, children learned how to make healthy eating choices. The event was attended by more than 100 kids ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, who learned not only about nutrition but also about exercise, hygiene, and staying active.

 

Through the help of volunteers and members, the Briles House has been given a new look that is sure to inspire not only homeowners but residents as well. What began as an elegant house in 1907 has become more than an attraction. It has allowed the women of the Junior League of High Point to come together to bring about a sense of community to the city.

 

Malia Thornton is an editorial intern with Triad Living and Wake Living magazines.

 


If you go

The Briles House is located at 1103 North Main St. in High Point. To learn more about the home, call the Junior League of High Point at (336) 442-4981 or visit www.jlhp.org.

Honoring dads

Several hundred people from throughout the Triad gathered at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in June to celebrate the four outstanding area men honored during the 2010 Father of the Year awards dinner.

 

Benefiting the American Diabetes Association, the event is sponsored annually by the Greater Greensboro Area Father’s Day Council. This year’s honorees included Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford Child Development; Henry H. Isaacson, senior partner with Isaacson, Isaacson, Sheridan & Fountain LLP; Donald Moore, president and general manager of the Greensboro Grasshoppers; and Michael Sterling Smith, president of Sterling Financial Services. Honorary co-chairs were Dr. and Mrs. Robert Sevier, with Robin Saul serving as event chair.

 

Now in its fourth year, the local event identifies and honors fathers who have demonstrated an ability to balance their personal lives, serve as role models for their children, and help make a positive difference in the community.