Thursday, August 1, 2013

Patrick Evans-Hylton at The Essex Inn

Recently we, at The Essex Inn in Tappahannock, VA, welcomed well-known Virginia Chef and Author, Patrick Evans-Hylton, whom we hosted for a night at our luxurious bed and breakfast inn. Patrick was exploring our region of eastern Virginia which sits along the Rappahannock River on the western side and the Potomac on the far side.  The next day he continued on across the bridge to the Northern Neck to sample our local wines and culinary offerings.
Bob and I had a lovely visit with Patrick and learned all about his new book, "Dishing up Virginia", which is on the market now. If you would like to read the article that Patrick wrote about his adventures in our area of Virginia check out the summer/fall edition of Virginia Wine Lover magazine.

Here is the recipe that we served to Patrick for his breakfast:

Blood Orange Polenta Upside-Down Cake with Whipped Creme Fraiche

This upside-down cake is made in a skillet instead of a cake pan.  When you invert the dessert, thin slices of vibrantly colored blood oranges end up on the top.

Yield:  Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:  Cake
7 TBS. sugar, divided, plus 3/4 cup sugar
3 TBS water
8 TBS (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
3 unpeeled small to medium blood oranges
3/4 cup plus 3 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
3 TBS polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 1/2 Tsp. baking powder
1/4 Tsp. coarse kosher salt
3/4 Tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
6 TBS whole milk

Whipped creme fraiche:
2 TBS sugar
1 cup chilled creme fraiche. *
* Creme Fraiche can easily be made at home:  take one cup of heavy whipping cream and put it in a small jar or crock, add 2 tsps. of sour cream or white yogurt, stir and let sit on top of stove or in a warm place for 3 to 4 days til thickened.  Then use and /or store in refrigerator for a week or so.  This is a great way to use up any left-over whip cream on hand.  If  creme fraiche is not an option, just use real whip cream, sweetened.

Special equipment:  Ovenproof 10-inch diameter skillet with 8" bottom and 2 1/2-inch high sides

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Combine 6 tbs. sugar and 3 tbs. water in skillet, stir over medium heat til sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is golden amber (not dark amber), occasionally brushing down sides of skillet with wet pastry brush and swirling skillet, about 4 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and whisk 2 TBS butter into caramel.  Set aside.
Cut off both rounded ends of each orange so that ends are even and flat.  Using sharp knife, cut oranges into 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick rounds. Remove and discard any seeds.  Arrange orange slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles atop caramel in bottom of skillet.

Whisk flour, polenta, baking powder, and coarse kosher salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup sugar, remaining 6 TBS room-temperature butter, and vanilla in another medium bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture in 3 additions aternately with milk in 2 additions, beating batter just until incorporated.

Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form.  Add remaining 1 TBS sugar and beat until stiff but not dry.  Fold 1/3 of egg whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions.  Drop batter by large spoonfuls atop orange slices in skillet, then spread evenly.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Cool cake in skillet 10 minutes.  Run small knife around cake to loosen.  Place platter atop skillet.  Using oven mitts, hold platter and skillet firmly together and invert, allowing cake to settle onto platter.  Rearrange any orange slices that may have become dislodged.  Cool cake completely at room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat chilled creme fraiche and 2 TBS sugar in medium bowl until mixture thickens.  Cut cake into wedges and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Northern Neck Garden Tour 2013

It is that time of year again to seek and discover a portion of Virginia that you may not have experienced before.  Yes, Historic Garden Week is coming up April 20th through April 27.  Over here in the Tidewater area of Eastern Virginia, the Garden Club of the Northern Neck is representing our region this year.  The date will be Wednesday, April 24th and there are five homes and gardens, a winery, and an Anglican church dating back to 1735, that will be on display.   Each have a unique feel, a few historic, a few not but all of them are located along the Great Wicomico River near Heathesville in Northumberland County. Other places of interest to visit would be Rice's Hotel/Hughlett's Tavern built in 1763; Th Reedville Fishermen's Museum, Historic Christ Church, built in 1735.  A whole day of exploring awaits you.
Visit for additional information.

If you would like to come to the Garden Tour, our beautiful historic property,  The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast, built in 1840, would be the perfect "home away from home" while you tour the area.  We were proud to be selected to be on the garden tour of 2011.  Our inn sits a short way from the Rappahannock River and an easy and lovely countryside drive to the Heathsville area and garden tour. Our historic district location in Tappahannock offers restaurants, an interesting museum, a walking tour, antiques and shops. Give us a call, we have a special price reduction for April and would love to welcome you to The Essex Inn.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Northern Neck Wine and Oyster Crawl

Interested in wine and oysters?  Then don't miss this new area event on April 13th.  9 wineries on The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail on the Northern Neck of Virginia are hosting an oyster and wine crawl.  Each of the participating wineries will provide their favorite types of oysters paired with specific wines.  A fee applies.  A great way to experience the wineries and enjoy the beautiful countryside and spring weather.

"The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast" in Tappahannock is the perfect choice for lodging whilst touring the wineries.  Nestled in the historic district 1 block from the Rappahannock River, with restaurants (two new ones), antiques and shops all within a few short blocksThe first winery is only 6 miles away.  We have reduced our room prices for the month of April.  Give us a call at (804) 443-9900.  Come visit us and enjoy a gourmet breakfast each morning, complimentary wine, beer and snacks.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Watch Reba McEntire on NBC March 2, 2012

Watch Reba as she discovers secrets and unknown facts about her family history in Tappahannock, Virginia.  See her and shots of Tappahannock on Friday, March 2, 2012 at 8:00PM Central on "Who do you think you are?"
Here are some photos of Reba and her assistants with Bob and I when they were guests at virginia-vacation-packages.htm" target="_blank">The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast during the shooting for the show.
This what Reba had to say:
"Dear Bob and Janice,
Just wanted to send you pictures that Carolyn took of us when we were in your town.
Thanks for all the super hospitality.
It sure did make our trip more fun!


A nice comment from Reba's travel agent, "Hi Janice, Thanks so much for
taking care of Reba and her assistants.  Your Inn was Reba's favorite place on the shoot." 

Check out our great new special for March and April and come see for yourself what Reba's talking about.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reba McEntire in Tappahannock, VA. staying at The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast !

How exciting to welcome Reba McEntire here at  The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast in Tappahannock, VA.!  She and her assistants, Carolyn and Neil stayed here whilst they were shooting locally for an up-coming TV show called  "Who do you think you are".  Evidently, Miss McEntire must have family roots here along the Rappahannock River in Tappahannock, VA.  Our three honored guests couldn't have been more enthusiastic about The Essex Inn and even commented on our comfortable beds.   Miss McEntire and her companions had the run of the Inn and made themselves at -home here relaxing by the fire,  playing cards and enjoying a quiet evening after dinner at a local restaurant.  Miss McEntire is just like she should be: warm, engaging, perky, attractive, down- to-earth, out-going and delightful.  In the morning after breakfast and a make-up session, the group went over to our Essex County Courthouse just a few blocks away in historic Tappahannock to begin the TV shoot.  Hope they will be back to discover more of this great region of Virginia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September special discount at The Essex Inn Bed and Breakfast in Tappahannock, VA!!

We are happy to offer a discount for new bookings for the month of September,  subject to availability.
A discount of 15%  applies every day including weekends, when you book 2 nights or more.  No other coupons  or discounts may be used with this offer..  Please call us at (804) 443-9900 to book.
If you are looking for a lovely Inn, in a beautiful setting near the river,  then The Essex Inn is your bet.  The weather is usually wonderful in August and September and aside from the earthquake and the hurricane and the storms, the weather couldn't be better.......Come on over to  Tappahannock, VA, to enjoy kayaking, wineries, exploring historical sights, antiquing, birding and the most bodacious seafood you can find anywhere.!!! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things to do when visiting The Essex Inn in Tappahannock, VA

How does a Rivah Cruise sound to you? Plying the waters of the great Rappahannock River, one can enjoy a bit of history, see rare bald eagles and ospreys, watersports and lots of interesting and beautiful scenery along the way.  The Captain Thomas boat  is docked just a short drive from The Essex Inn in Tappahannock.  From May through October it operates and departs at 10:00 AM daily except on Mondays. The tour is narrated while you enjoy the 20 mile cruise up river to the popular Ingleside Winery, where you will disembark for a tour and wine tasting and lunch. The lunch is an additional $12.00 per person.  You may also bring your own picnic.
The next stop is at Wheatland,  the last remaining steamboat wharf on the Rappahannock.  For a small fee one can visit and tour the house, gardens, wharf and museum of  river history.
Your return trip will bring you back to Tappahannock about 5:00pm. Check out the other river cruises that are listed on our virginia-vacation.htm">"area attractions" page.

Looking up the canal towards the Rappahannock
The Captain Thomas viewed from our friends property near the Inn