Peach cook-off highlights Heritage Day
Correction (August 31: 9:28 a.m.):
An earlier version of this story misidentified Anne Lawson |
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CHRISTIANSBURG – A taste of the arts, local history and creative cooking were all available at Saturday’s Heritage Day festival at the Montgomery Museum.
And the verdict? It was a peach of a day.
For much of the day, dozens of people mingled across the museum’s lawn, listening to music, taking part in old-time crafts and visiting with a few four-legged friends at the festival’s petting zoo. Antique machinery, weapons and clothing were also on display, along with a parade of antique cars and trucks.
Just after 1 p.m., however, the attention of much of the crowd shifted to the day’s main event — the peach cook-off.
Sixteen different peach-themed dishes were put to the test by the trio of judges that included Zeppoli’s Italian Restaurant owner Doris Fleming, local artist Nancy Norton and Blacksburg Museum Administrator Terry Nicholson. The judges graded each of the dishes on its appearance and its taste, while a crowd of eager taste testers looked on.
Once the judges completed their individual grades and went off to collaborate their findings, the rope was removed and the audience’s sampling began.
When the judges returned, less than 10 minutes later, they announced Charlotte Chan of Blacksburg as the gold-medal winner on the day. By this time, Chan’s peach tart had all but disappeared, clearly supporting the judges’ decision to give her the title, as well as the $100 cash prize.
Chan said her husband, Reilly Chan, made the crust and that the rest was a custard-based creation she’d come up with from scratch. Chan said she doesn’t believe in using recipes for her cooking because she believes that cooking is like life, in that a person needs to remain flexible.
Chan wasn’t the only person to take home a prize, as Anne Lawson took both the second- and third-place prizes — each carrying with it a $20 Zeppoli’s gift card — for her peach panna cotta and peach gazpacho.
The “People’s Choice Award” and the final Zeppoli’s gift card went to 12-year-old Emily Stone for her peach cupcakes.
Though only four awards were given out, every peach lover in attendance likely felt like a winner, as the sampling continued throughout the afternoon.
The entertainment, activities and sampling were all free of charge, and although the museum is in the midst of a $50,000 campaign to raise money to fix the building’s roof and other structural damage, the museum’s director, Sue Farrar, made it clear Heritage Day is not a fundraiser.
“It’s our gift to the community of Montgomery County,” Farrar said.
While Farrar seemed very happy to send people home with their bellies full of peaches, she said she also hoped they gained some knowledge about the past.
“We want the community of Montgomery County to know something about their heritage,” Farrar said.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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