The fancy title is “Haute Cuisine at the Hylton,” but for the local writers of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, who have been working over the past several months to promote the event and get the word out to other writer groups, local libraries and bookstores, coffee shops and poetry open mics and restaurant suppliers and chef programs in schools, we’re ready to get down for Books, Bites and Beer, the finale event of George Mason University’s fantastic eight-day, multi-location book festival, now in its 16th year. This is the second year they’ve had a Prince William event and Write by the Rails is proud that four of our members are part of it.
Read Manassas author Belinda Miller’s Winterfrost, part of the Phillip’s Quest Series, and you may find yourself whipping up a batch of Ivy’s Tater Dumplings (gnocchi) with Phillip’s Hazelnut Sauce (marinara with hazelnuts) in the kitchen. It’s her mother’s recipe, and it’s in the back of the book. You’ll find the recipe for her mother’s Pine Nut Cookies (Amaretti con Pignoli) in her newest book, Above the Stars.
“Those are three recipes she always served at Christmas,” said Miller. “They mean ‘familia’ – family.”
Belinda Miller is one of the featured writers at Haute Cuisine at the Hylton, a Fall for the Book event this Thursday, Sept. 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, on the Prince William Campus of George Mason University. The event is free.
While Miller talks with fans of Ragwort Chronicles, Chef Anthony, a friend and former chef at the Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado, will be handing out samples of her gnocchi with hazelnut sauce, prepared by Miller’s friends, Ciro D’Augustino, of Ciro’s Italian Pizzeria in Centreville and Andy Travers (100 pignoli). “They wouldn’t let me cook,” she said.
Novelist Claudia Lefeve will bring her new Texas-based crime novel, “Destined for Trouble, a Jules Cannon Mystery,” to the at the Hylton event, along with her husband, Dave Lefeve, a chef at The Cock and Bowl restaurant in Occoquan. Chef Dave will be serving samples of scallop ceviche, a dish featured in the fictional town of Trouble Island, where Lefeve’s main character comes to the rescue of a friend who is the prime suspect in the murder of a local restaurant owner. Haute Cuisine at the Hylton is all about mixing up food and fiction or, at least, flair.
The event starts at 6:15 p.m. with a food writing workshop led by Jason Shriner, the Aubergine Chef, familiar to many for his popular and affordable baking classes at the Manassas Park Community Center.
At 7 p.m., headlining novelist Laura Florand takes the stage to discuss her bestselling and award-winning Amour et Chocolat series, including The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, and more. Now a lecturer at Duke University, Florand is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate.
For patrons who with that sudden craving for chocolate, at 7:30 p.m., individual stations open for tastings, demonstrations, and discussions by a variety of chefs and food celebrities, including Robert Kingsbury of Kingsbury Chocolates and Confections, distributed throughout No.Va. and D.C.; Amy Riolo, author of The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook, and Joe Yonan, food and travel editor of The Washington Post and the author of Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook.
Miguel Pires, owner of Zandra’s Taqueria, and recognized as Top 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Full Service Restaurants Magazine in March 2014, will be giving patrons a sneak peek at the fare available at his new restaurant opening in historic downtown Manassas.
Representatives of Heritage Brewing Company will offer samples of their organic and locally sourced craft beers, direct from the tasting room of the veteran owned and operated microbrewery on the outskirts of Historic Manassas. They’ll be sharing news about their new “Freedom Isn’t Free” canning line.
Recently appointed Prince William County Poet Laureates Robert Scott and Alexandra “Zan” Hailey, also members of Write by the Rails, will be in the house, sharing original food poems and the latest news about their ongoing community outreach – Zan’s Ekphrasis program and Robert’s 10,000 Poems project. Both just returned from making waves in Williamsburg as part of a Poetry Society of Virginia event.
The second annual Haute Cuisine at the Hylton is sponsored by Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information on the complete schedule of Fall for the Book events—taking place Sept. 11-18 at George Mason University and at locations throughout VA, DC, and MD—visit www.fallforthebook.org.