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35th Anniversary Celebration

Join The Happy Cook Celebrating

35 Years of Serving the

Charlottesville Community


Monday, October 7th to Saturday, October 12th

We want to thank all of our customers for their support of The Happy Cook over the last 35 years.  We’ll be having prize giveaways, gourmet samples and demos during our Anniversary Celebration.

Prize Giveaways Everyday!

Come in to the store during the week and enter in for daily raffles.  Over $2,000 in prizes throughout the week.


Monday: 20% Off all Le Creuset

Includes: Dutch Ovens, Stainless & Non-stick Cookware, Bakeware and Gadgets

Demo/Tasting:  Cuisinart Air Popper

Tuesday: 20% Off all Cutlery

Includes:  Wusthof, Shun, Global, Mercer, Chroma, Kikuichi and more.

Demo/Tasting: Omega Juicer

Wednesday: One Day Special on all Vita-Mix models – Save Up to $50

Demo/Tasting: Soup and Ice Cream made in the Vita-Mix

Thursday: 20% Off All-Clad

Includes: Stainless, Copper Core and Gourmet Accessories

Demo/Tasting: Bodum Electric Pour Over Brewer


Friday: 20% Off all Juliska 

Includes: Berry and Thread, Jardin du Monde, Pewter and Country Estate

Sampling: Stonewall Kitchen Items

Saturday: 20% Items in Children’s Section

Includes:  Baby Cie, Innobaby, FRED, BuiltNY and more.

Demo/Tasting: Omega Juicer


During our Anniversary Celebration come in each day and sign up for daily prize giveaways.  All entries will be carried over for the Grand Prize Drawing.  You may enter each day, making you eligible for all drawings as well as 6 entries for the grand prize.

Nespresso brings it home

Nespresso pods come in different flavors and strengths.

When we moved to the Charlottesville area (we live in Free Union) a year ago from Boston, one of the realities of life in a more rural setting is that there isn’t a Shenandoah Joe’s or Starbucks on every corner. In various ways that is a good thing, but in the hunt for caffeine in the morning, or for a late afternoon pick-me- up, it is a decidedly bad thing.  That is where the super simple and wonderfully efficient Nespresso machine comes in handy.  It brings your local coffee haunt right into your kitchen, complete with various espresso strengths and even frothed milk.

The Pixie will spit out an espresso in about 30 seconds, which is quick!

Nespresso offers a wide variety of coffees, 16 different intensities and roasts, from around the world, that are sure to fulfill any taste or request.  My favorite is the Cosi, described as “Pure, lightly roasted East African, Central and South American Arabicas,” which make the Cosi, ”a light-bodied espresso with refreshing citrus notes.”

In seconds a hot and flavorful espresso or latte is ready right in the comfort of your kitchen.

Having the ability to pop one of the pods into the machine while you grab the paper in the morning, and have it ready for you in minutes is really an advantage, and the simplicity of it all – the pods fall into a collection bin right behind where the coffee comes out, makes cleaning up a snap.

The frothed milk machine is a great addition.

I also love the frothed milk machine (its extra but well worth it) because even if you aren’t in the mood for a latte, adding frothed milk to a tea or chai is a great way to change things up, and you can use it to make some pretty amazing hot chocolate as well.

Best breakfast addition since sliced bread!

You really can’t go wrong with the Nespresso machine, as one person I know said “it’s completely goof-proof, and creates a great espresso!”

Check The Happy Cook for the different options they have and you can even test out the various machines they have available.

Thanks for reading along.



Click here for Nespresso at The Happy Cook

Kitchen Essentials – The Mandoline

Gratin Dauphinois or Scalloped Potatoes


In order to make a great Gratin, one of my favorite things from my childhood,  the one item kitchen item that you need is a mandoline.  Though not online at the moment, the Oxo Mandoline, which is what we have, is available at The Happy Cook, or by calling 434-977-2665.  The Oxo Mandoline, comes with straight and wavy blades that can be set to any slice thickness and are ideal for making cucumber salad, potato chips, onion rings, citrus slices, french fries, carrot sticks and garnishes with the thin and thick julienne blades.  I made Gratin Dauphinois or what my mother called Scalloped Potatoes.

The “gratin,” comes from the French meaning “to scrape” or the “scrapings” of bread or cheese that is often found in casserole dishes with a crusty top.  The Dauphine, a region in France, is part of southeastern France that since the time of the French Revolution has has been divided into three departments, IsèreDrôme and Hautes-Alpes and is the site of the Dauphine Libere, a yearly tune up for those who will ride in Le Tour de France cycling race.


My Mandoline after being washed


mandoline is something every kitchen should have.  You can use it to slice up some potatoes, like in this case for the Gratin, or for slicing carrots or any vegetable you can imagine.  We often use our mandoline to slice squash and zucchini for grilling during the summer.  For this recipe I grabbed some leftover spiral ham we had in the freezer and added that to the Gratin.


Uniform width really helps with cooking time


Using a mandoline is great for getting all of your slices exactly the same width, which helps with presentation but most importantly with cooking time.  When baking and frying, having the same size ensures the cooking time will be the same for all the items in your pan.  Another great reason to have a mandoline is that it takes the “danger” out of a lot of kitchen knife work.  Because the blades are protected, and it comes with a carrier to hold the item to be cut, a mandoline used correctly can be fast, safe, and really efficient.

Next I diced up some of the leftover ham, and Utah and Normand were good about helping with those unused scraps, and then chopped some fresh sage that we had to add some more flavor.


Leftover ham chopped up and added to the mix


I grated some Gruyere, a cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland that is a bit salty and nutty and is great for things like quiche and yes, Gratin, and added that to the pile of things I was collecting.  Once all the ingredients were prepped, I put some butter to melt in a pan, and added some flour to create a bit of a roux and added milk to the mix.   I also added a couple of table spoons of sour cream and the Gruyere and grated in nutmeg.  Salt and pepper to taste and that was done.



Yummy goodness


After using a wisk to bring this all together over a medium heat, I layered the the potatoes and ham in my stoneware pan, and poured the creamy mixture over it, and did the same a number of times.   I finished with a bit of grated sharp cheddar on top and put the mix into the oven covered for about an hour.


Gratin Dauphinois avec Jambon


A mandoline is perfect for veggies, and firm fruits like apples, pears and the like, and is essential in every kitchen.  Be sure and pick up a mandoline at The Happy Cook, and check on line for more classes and events happing in the coming month.

Cheers – JI

Vita-Mix, it’s not just for smoothies!

A pro in any kitchen!

Kitchen tools are a world unto themselves, and you can find just about anything at The Happy Cook, here in Charlottesville. In that world there are a few items that you simply can’t live without.  A good chef’s knife is important in any kitchen, as cutting, chopping, peeling and slicing are a part of any food prep and cooking  that you can think of today.  A stand mixer, like a Kitchen Aid, is an item that if you do any baking or mixing of ingredients at all, seems to be found in both home and professional kitchens everywhere.  And I would argue that a Vita-Mix Professional Series is right up there on the list of must have tools in the modern kitchen, because of it’s versatility and ease of use.

Soup in ten minutes ... yeah it can do that!

Traditionally a Vita-Mix has been compared to a blender, and juicing and making smoothies are the first items that come to mind, but the reality is that a Vita-Mix is like a blender on steroids, and making juice or a smoothie are only scratching the surface of what one can do with them these days.   Yesterday for lunch in the time it takes to make a good cup of tea, my wife and I created a warm carrot and ginger soup in “one pot” – the Vita-Mix machine, and enjoyed something fresh and flavorful.

Coarse chopped ingredients ready for the Vita-Mix

Load it all in ... and let it rip!

With the power and variability of the Vita-Mix, it is so easy to simply load up the machine with your ingredients and turn it on and away you go.  Along with the Vita-Mix comes a manual, that is more of a cookbook than a manual, and it provides you with a multitude of different items to make from soups to nuts, really!

Carrot Ginger Soup whizzes away inside - don't try this at home, it could get messy!

Our lunch .. Carrot Ginger Soup with a dollop of cream and a parsley leaf.

After lunch we decided to put the Vita-Mix through the paces and make another common item that is wonderfully useful and easy to make, Almond butter.  One reason that Almond butter is so useful is because it is is comparable to Peanut butter (something you can also make in the Vita-Mix) but is a great alternative with great nutritional value, 26% more Vitamin E, 50% more monounsaturated fat and about 25% less saturated fat.

You can use raw or roasted almonds to make your almond butter.

We had some Dry Roasted and Unsalted Almonds on hand so we simply put three cups of the nuts into the Vita-Mix, added a touch of salt because our nuts were unsalted, and let it whirl.

Roasted, unsalted nuts ready to become butter.

Beautifully smooth almond butter makes a great and health snack.

Utah approved!

In a matter of minutes, with a drizzle of grapeseed oil to smooth out the consistency, we had the most amazing Almond Butter, which was “Utah approved,” which should be refrigerated after you make it, and look forward to using it in the mornings on toast and English muffins. So get out there and get a Vita-Mix, and make something other than smoothies and juices.  In the last week we’ve used it to make Ice Cream as well, and we’ve only just begun to see the potential this amazing machine has in store for us.

Thanks for reading along.



Get your Vita Mix at The Happy Cook online or in store.


Accident Update

Thank you all for your support. We truly appreciate all the well wishes.

If you are unaware of the situation please follow the links to NBC29 and CBS19 about the accidental fire at Plow&Hearth.

To keep our employees and customers safe we are currently closed as we assess the air quality and water damage issues and will keep you posted through our facebook page as well as our blog. We are hoping to be up and running as soon as possible.

For all cooking classes we will keep you all up to date. We are hoping everything will go as planned in regards to those who have signed up for the Gearhart Chocolate Classes on Tuesday, January 15th and Thursday, January 17th. We will be in direct contact with each customer who have signed up for those classes.

Please stay tuned for updates! We are constantly trying to get things up and running again!

If you have questions or concerns please contact us via our e-mail manager@thehappycook.com.


The Happy Cook

Gift Registries at The Happy Cook

At The Happy Cook we are always excited to be a part of the next big milestone in your life.  Whether it’s preparing a fabulous registry for your “big day”, making a house-warming list for your new home or making a “Wish List” for the Holiday Season, we’re ready, personable and just simply delightful with our attention to detail and top of the line customer service.

If you are ready to set up a gift registry, we are happy to help you  in our Barracks Road store.  It will be available online to view within 48 hours.  Guests can purchases gifts in store or online and they can take advantage of our free gift wrapping and our gift storage service (for later pick-up).

For our local registrants, we are happy to store the gifts to be picked up at your convenience or by someone of your choosing.  This unique service saves your guests the cost of shipping; if you would prefer, we can ship your gifts to an address of your choosing.

As a “Thank You” for registering at The Happy Cook, we are happy to present you with a gift certificate of 10% of the value of the gifts purchased from your registry.  This enables you to purchase items that were not purchased on your registry or just to treat yourself.  You can’t beat being paid to register for FREE gifts!

If you would like to check out what our online registry looks like click here to you can search under the registrants “Jane Doe & John Smith” to check out a sample registry.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions about registering at The Happy Cook by phone 434-977-2665 or email us at customerservice@thehappycook.com.

New HDR Photography

Jamie Beeler (check out his website here) took some amazing High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos of The Happy Cook.  These photos combine images taken at multiple exposures so you can get something that looks almost like a drawing rather than a photograph.  Check out a sample below.






To be a Locavore

To be a locavore means; to love food,  to source food locally, to support your community , to engage in conversation with local farmers, and much more.  According to Nicole Perlroth of Forbes, the city of Charlottesville is the “locavore” capital of the world, with over a hundred local farms, orchards, and vineyards.  It would not have been possible with out the large support of our community and love of food – it only makes sense that Charlottesville has popped up on the national radar once again.

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