Virginia is For Lovers / the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) recently launched their Culinary Madness Challenge, an online contest designed as a fun spin off on March Madness brackets. The contest encourages the public to vote for favorite Virginia culinary masterpieces.
The Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Tourism Division promoted news of the contest to area restaurants and residents in hopes that Martinsville-Henry County would be lucky enough to be represented in the contest by a local business. Two local businesses were selected to participate in the bracket: Rising Sun Breads of Martinsville and Dippers Ice Cream of Ridgeway.
The initial bracket, launched on Monday, featured 76 dishes from around the state of Virginia, in four groups, containing entrees, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Both Dippers and Rising Sun were listed in Group #4.
Dippers Ice Cream made it into the bracket with their brand new Peanut Butter Bang Sundae. It consists of a freshly baked chocolate cake cup filled with homemade Peanut Butter & Brownie Explosion ice cream and topped with homemade hot fudge and peanut butter sauces. Rising Sun Breads made it into the bracket with their Virginia Chocolate Swirl. It consists of chocolate Croissant dough rolled into a swirl, filled with a layer of chocolate, peanut butter and Mexican cocoa, topped with a peanut/chocolate crumble, baked and drizzled with chocolate.
The area businesses were competing against restaurants in Williamsburg, Richmond, Alexandria, South Hill and Fredericksburg just to name a few. Being featured in the contest has been a positive boost for the businesses, according to Tracy Cox, co-owner of Dippers, “We had an increase in sales on the Peanut Butter Bang sundae. Customers were coming in saying ‘they have to try out what they were voting for’ and we heard the word ‘amazing’ so many times!”
According to contest rules, the top four dishes with the most votes in each group would move on to round two of the competition. By close of the business day on Wednesday, more than 85,000 people had participated in the voting and Dippers had accumulated more than 1,600 votes placing them with in the top four contestants of Group 4.
Dippers has now advanced to round two of the contest where the top 16 contestants are competing head-to-head for eight slots in the next round. The Peanut Butter Bang Sundae is matched up with Tommy Leggett’s York River Oysters from the Waypoint Seafood& Grill in Williamsburg. Just like in the March Madness, the contestants will be eliminated until two finalists remain. The winner will be crowned the “Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness Champion” on April 29th.
According to Cox, “Dippers was so excited to learn of our nomination for the Peanut Butter Bang Sundae in the Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness challenge. Our excitement grew when we learned that we made it to the second round. It is such an honor to have one of our dishes to compete against so many wonderful culinary delights. Dippers customers are like family, and we are humbled daily by the tremendous support that we receive!” She added, “Martinsville-Henry County has a multitude of great businesses and we love the opportunity to help showcase some of what our wonderful community has to offer! We would like to thank Virginia.org for this great opportunity and everyone in Martinsville-Henry County for their support.”
Area residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by Dippers Ice Cream to try the Peanut Butter Bang Sundae and then cast their vote by visiting http://www.virginia.org/culinarymadness/. Votes for round two must be cast prior to April 14th. The mission of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation is to create new job opportunities and expand the tax base for the area. The organization strives to support and develop local industry, as well as market Martinsville-Henry County globally as an exceptional place to live, work and play.