February 19, 2018

WFIR Has the Story on Our 80th!

Celebrating 80 Years

Thank you WFIR for telling our story. And thank you to our customers for helping to keep writing it. 

Listen to it here. And come see us today until 8 pm and tomorrow from 9 am to 8 pm.

WHAT?!?!? You’ve Never Tried Tinnell’s Pimento Cheese?

Pimento Cheese

Tinnell’s Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese.  We’ve all had it.  We all love it.  On the face of things, however, it seems to be a pretty simple affair: some cheese, mayo, canned pimentos.  Oh, but think again Dear Reader!  If you have never tried the pimento cheese at Tinnell’s Finer Foods you will not believe the difference!For decades now our pimento cheese has been the number one selling item in the store, and for good reason.  This stuff is DELICIOUS and unlike any you have ever tasted.  Last Christmas alone we shipped orders to Chicago and Manhattan and it is not at all uncommon for out-of-town folks to stop by the store on their way through Roanoke because they remember it from 10 or more years ago!

Tinnell's Finer Foods

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

How did this all start?  Kitty Tinnell – wife of our founder Russell “Buddy” Tinnell (and grandmother of our current owner, Rett Ward) – had a recipe for pimento cheese that was just a little bit different in composition from more traditional formulas but oh, what a difference that little change made (before you ask: no… if we told you we would have to kill you)!  At the time she was attending what was then known as Radford College and decided to start selling the product to help underwrite her tuition.  She ended up entirely putting herself through college with sales of her delectable cheese spread!  Naturally, her devoted husband decided if it it was good enough for Radford… and the rest is history!

Kitty Tinnell

Kitty Tinnell

Get this: last year Tinnell’s sold 6,590 pounds of Pimento cheese.  That is more than 3 TONSof the stuff!!!  These days we make it at least four times a week and produce not only the original recipe but a “Tex-Mex” version as well, to which we add jalepenos.  Please, PLEASE do yourself a favor.  If you are one of the few who don’t yet know the joy of Kitty’s Pimento Cheese swing on by and ask for a sample… it will be a revelation!

Russell "Buddy" Tinnell (on right)

Russell “Buddy” Tinnell (on right)

Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay at Tinnell’s

When we brought it in we never imagined!

Four Bears Chardonnay

When we first tasted it we obviously loved the Four Bears Chardonnay from Sean Minor Wines but never imagined it would become our best-selling wine so quickly!  In the last three months alone we have sold more bottles of this delightful well-balanced Chardonnay than we sold of almost any wine in all of 2011 and there is good reason.  To paraphrase the Sean Minor tasting notes: The 2010 “Four Bears” Chardonnay (named after Sean’s four children) is made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown in the Central Coast appellation of California and is a golden straw color.  It displays aromas of pears, apples and orange blossoms with subtle notes of toast and butter.  On the entry, green apple acidity integrates well with a medium body mid palate mouth feel.  The apricot, green apple and marmalade toast flavors evolve into a hint of minerality that adds complexity to the finish.

Many of our customers tell us “I don’t like Chardonnay” and I believe them.  The judicious use of oak in Chardonnay production is a beautiful thing, much like the use of hot peppers when cooking.  What happens when you use too many peppers?  The result ends up being unpalatable (well… for most of us anyway)!  For years, many winemakers in California were guilty of producing Chardonnays that were ridicul0usly oaky.  There was so much wood in these things that drinking one was more akin to sucking on a popsicle stick than to drinking a glass of fine wine.  While the public (due to demand) was as responsible for this trend as the winemakers were, I believe in the long run it did more to hurt the reputation of Chard than it did to popularize it.  I remember the first time I brought home a lovely unoaked Chablis to my wife Kendall and she said she “didn’t like Chards”.  When she tasted it it was a revelation to her: “It tastes like fruit!”

The Four Bears Chardonnay, while oaked, is perfectly balanced.  It does indeed taste like it is made from fruit instead of the wooden pallets the fruit was shipped on!  If you “don’t like Chardonnay” do yourself a favor: try a bottle of this stuff – I think it will change your tune!  Here are the notes from Winemakers Will Bucklin and Sean Minor himself:  “Our Chardonnay fruit was 100% whole-cluster pressed to minimize astringency from the skins and immediately racked to stainless steel. Once settled, a portion was fermented in small French oak barrels while the remaining lot was left in stainless steel tanks to ferment. The slow and cool fermentation allowed the wine to develop a balance of ripe tropical fruit flavors and crisp apple and mineral nuances. Once primary fermentation was completed, a portion of the wine went through malo-lactic fermentation which softens the wine and provides a perfect balance.”  The ABV (alcohol by volume) racks in at 13.5% and the pH at 3.53.

In a nutshell?  This stuff is delicious.  And as if that weren’t enough, you can pick it up at Tinnell’s Finer Foods for only $11.99 (or buy a case and get it for $10.79)!  I often tell my customers that if this wine sold for $15.00 a bottle it would still be a bargain and I mean it…  Swing by Tinnell’s, pick some up for yourself and see!

ZUMMO! Tinnell’s Has Freshly-Squeezed Orange Juice!


Whoo-hooo!  We have been waiting like expectant parents and it is finally here: the Zummo Orange Juicer (CLICK HERE FOR NIFTY VIDEO)!

The Zummo is the latest and greatest state-of-the-art citrus juicer available on the planet.  Manufactured in Valencia, Spain (the orange captal of Europe), the Zummo is the only juicer available on the market that prevents any of the bitter oils from the zest or pith of the orange from getting in the juice.  The end result is an orange juice that is absolutely sublime!  It is lower in acid and sweeter than any commercially available orange juice and, being an unpasturized product, it hasn’t been “cooked” so it is a much fresher, more flavorful product (the lack of paturization does, however, limit the juice’s shelf life to 3 days).  The Zummo also has the distinction of being the only orange juice pressing machine in the world to have achieved “ISO14001” green acredidation.

Zummo Citrus Juicer

Zummo Citrus Juicer at Tinnell’s Finer Foods


Although these machines are ubiquitous in Europe, their presence in the U.S. is mostly limited to large metropolitan areas.  Until now, as far as we know, the closest one to the Roanoke Valley is in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The owner of Tinnell’s Finer Foods – Rett Ward – has had an interest in getting one of these machines since he purchase the neighborhood grocery from his Grandmother in 2000.  The final decision to purchase one was made when Ward recently attended the National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago this past May.  When he saw one operating “up close and personal” he knew we needed one at Tinnell’s!  It arrived June 14th and we started selling juice on Friday the 15th… the response is tremendous!

We use boxes of fresh Valencia juicing oranges.  While Valencias are known for their flavor and inherant sweetnesss, the special “juicing” variety has an even sweeter, fresher-tasting profile and yields a better product.  We are picking them up fresh every week and are making the juice on a daily basis in order to ensure the best juice possible.  Currently we are selling half-gallon containers for $8.99.  We will also be offering quart and pint sized containers in the immediate future.

Tinnell’s Artisanal Cheese Selection

Several months ago we at Tinnell’s realized that with the passing of “Say Cheese” in downtown Mini Torta de OvejaRoanoke a few years back, the Valley no longer featured a cheese shop… we decided to rectify the situation!  Since our epiphany, we have been bringing in gorgeous, handmade artisan cheeses, charcuterie and “accessories” and our selection truly has to be seen to be appreciated.

Parmigiano Reggiano

Parmigiano Reggiano at Tinnell’s

When it comes to cheese we are, of course, carrying the classics: Parmigiano Reggiano; Aged ManchegoCurado“; fresh Mozzarella; Stilton (from Tuxford & Tebbutt… AMAZING); Boucheron; Brillat Savarin.  We are carrying more unique “specialty” cheeses: Cypress Grove “Purple Haze“; Beehive “Big John” Cajun Cheddar; Rogue Smokey Blue; Morel & Leek Jack (you have got to taste this stuff!); Ashe Juusto; Drunken Goat.  We are also carrying an impressive selection of local and regional cheeses: Goat Feta from Curtin’s Dairy (Rocky Mount); BloominLunitas (Hillsborough, NC); “Simply Cheddar Ball” from Waynesboro (not as simple as it sounds!); the entire line from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax (Mountaineer, Appalachian and Grayson).  We also are stocking an impressive selection of handmade charcuterie ranging from Olli Salami produced in Richmond  to the inimitable Prosciutto di Parma (sliced to order) to the unbelievably tasty “San Guiseppe” line of salamis and sopressata produced in Elon, North Carolina by expatriate New Yorker Giacomo Santomauro!

Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciutto di Parma

To accompany your delightful cheese of choice we have loads of options.  We have the best Spanish Marcona almonds you will ever try (both raw and roasted), chutneys, ginger preserves, offerings from “Les Folies Fromages” (French small-batch compotes each designed to pair with a specific cheese type) as well as a wide array of crackers.  We carry olives: olive “grab bags”, olive tapenade, Spanish Manzanilla olives stuffed with pimentos, garlic, Marconas or (my personal favorite) anchovies.  Another “can’t-live-without” cheese partner is a fabulous olive oil, and Tinnell’s features the very best Greek extra-virgin olive oil from Ariston as well as an amazingly sweet, rich balsamic vinegar “di Modena“, both of which we carry in bulk so you can refill your bottles during your next shopping visit!  Of course no cheese platter is complete without bread and we receive daily shipments from Bread Craft and On the Rise, both locally owned and Roanoke-produced.  Also to be found is a wide assortment fruit from our wonderful produce section.  Last but not least, what is cheese without wine?  If you have not visited Tinnell’s Finer Foods in a while you may be surprised to find we have one of the largest wine departments in the Roanoke Valley with a wide-ranging selection of fine wines to fit any budget!

Cheese & Wine

Cheese & Wine

Since 1937 Tinnell’s Finer Foods has prided itself on providing the best customer service available anywhere.  So if you can’t find what you are looking for in stock, we are always happy to source anything you are looking for, whether it be cheese, wine or just general grocery items and get it in for you.  Please don’t hesitate to ask… it is truly our pleasure.

To get a more detailed listing of our cheese offerings please visit the Tinnell’s Cheese Menu.  In it you will find an extensive list of our cheese and charcuterie selections, wine pairing suggestions for each and every cheese and helpful hints on creating a cheese platter.  If you would prefer, Tinnell’s would be happy to make a cheese platter for you!  We can assemble a platter for virtually any budget with cheeses, crackers, fruit, etcetera… whatever you request.  Of course, we are getting in new cheese each and every week so the best way for you to see what we have is to stop by and see for yourself… we are more than happy to open up any cheese in the store and let you have a sample!  If you would like more information about our cheese and charcuterie department or to order up a cheese platter for your next event please feel free to contact our Meat & Deli Manager Daniel Scott at 540.345.7334.

Tinnell's Cheese Platter

Tinnell’s Cheese Platter

Smoked Trout Dip at Tinnell’s!

Alright.  Everyone knows that Tinnell’s Finer Foods has a bunch of great prepared specialty foods.  Think ham biscuits, pimento cheese, cheese slaw, country ham… the list goes on and on.  The popularity of the newest addition to our portfolio, however, has surprised even us!  A few weeks ago our Meat and Deli Manager, Daniel Scott, started making Smoked Trout Dip.  On a Tuesday he made a substantial batch.  Wednesday he made twice that much.  Thursday?  You got it: a quadruple batch.  And by Friday he was making twice that!

Tinnell's Meat & Deli Manager Daniel Scott

Daniel - Tinnell's Meat & Deli Manager

We literally cannot keep this stuff in stock.  During a recent Friday evening wine tasting we sampled some out and, without exception, every single person who tried it bought it (even the folks who didn’t want to try it because they “don’t like smoked trout”)!

It’s really pretty straightforward.  Daniel starts with Duck Trap Smoked Trout.  Duck Trap is fantastic product naturally smoked in Maine using no artificial preservatives or ingredients.  He then adds some lemon, scallions, cream cheese, sour cream, etcetera and the end result is sublime!  In texture, it has a mouthfeel more akin to a mousse than that of a dip.  It is light and refreshing and the trout is prevalent but does not overwhelm.

Do yourself a favor:  the next time you are in Tinnell’s go to the meat counter and ask Daniel for a sample… you will not be disappointed!

Saison du Buff From Victory Brewing Company!

New at Tinnell's: Saison du Buff!

Saison du Buff

New at Tinnell’s FIner Foods: Victory Saison du Buff!

The idea for this beer germinated way back in 2003 when three guys (Sam from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Greg from Stone Brewing Company and Bill from Victory Brewing Company) formed the BUFF alliance (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor) – a noble endeavor with the goal to highlight the passion and camaraderie of the American craft brew movement.

Basically, BUFF didn’t really do anything (beyond talk a lot of talk) until 2010 when the three brewers finally got together to jointly brew a beer at the Stone Brewery.  Saison du BUFF was first brewed at Stone and then replicated at each of the other two breweries – same recipe, same ingredients (excepting the house-chosen yeast), throughout 2010.  The brewers have repeated their performance for 2012!

Saison du BUFF is a 6.8% ABV Saison and, just like in 2010, As with the original recipe created in 2010, Victory’s version of the 2012 recipe features organic parsley, lemon thyme, sage and rosemary.  New for this release, all of the fresh herbs were grown at Stone Farms.  Also like the 2010 batch, the beer is being brewed three times, once at each brewery.

We cirrently have Saison du Buff in stock at Tinnell’s Finer Foods for $2.29… ABSOLUTELY the lowest price we have been able to find anywhere!

Tinnell’s Keg Program

Tinnell's Keg ProgramFor those in the know, Tinnell’s Finer Foods has always been the best place in the Roanoke Valley to pick up a keg for a party, a wedding or just for fun. The surprising thing is how often we hear people say they didn’t realize we carry kegs! For 50 years Tinnell’s has been special-ordering kegs for our customers and supplying taps, tubs and “cold-plates” as well (we also have the cheapest bagged ice in the Roanoke Valley.)

What type of kegged beer can you get at Tinnell’s? If you have seen a beer on tap at a Virginia Bar or been to an event where a keg you enjoyed was being served, odds are we can get it. From the major brands to the more obscure small-batch beers, we have lots of distributors we regularly deal with so we can pretty much get what you want.

What size keg do you need? Let’s look at your options. A full keg (also known as a “half-barrel”) is 15.5 gallons so you get the equivalent of about 165 12-ounce beers. A pony-keg or “quarter-barrel” is 7.75 gallons or about 82 beers. A “sixtel” is 5.5 gallons or 58 beers. Some European varieties come in oddball sizes but those are the exception rather than the rule.

While bottled and canned beer has, for the most part, a significant shelf-life, the same cannot be said of kegged beer. Most kegs are good for only a few weeks at best, so when you buy one from a retailer who “keeps them in stock” you run the risk that it may have sat around for longer than is ideal. All our kegs are custom ordered for our customers so we are always able to ensure the freshest beer possible. All we need is a few days’ notice to get your selection in but please keep in mind that in order to increase the likelihood of getting the beer you want, a five business day lead-time is ideal. Also please know that we receive our kegs ice-cold and keep them that way in our walk-in coolers!

Tinnell’s Beer Department

If you haven’t checked out the beer department here at Tinnell’s Finer Foods lately you might be surprised! Over the last year we have more than doubled our beer floor space and we are currently carrying over 100 different varieties of beer.

Tinnell's Beer DepartmentIf you are into “micro” or “craft” beers we are your place. At the moment we have Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Victory Hopdevil, Bluegrass Brewing Bourbon Barrel Stout, three different offerings from Founder’s Brewing Company and, from Charlottesville, the entire Starr Hill line. If you are more into Belgian-style ales we have several, including Chimay, Allagash, St. Bernardus, Corsendonk and Delirium Tremens. If, on the other hand, you prefer just a good old beer like Dad (or Mom) used to drink we have those also! Buweiser, Michelob, Coors, etcetera, we’ve got it.

With our wide-ranging selection and competitive pricing we are sure to have beers in stock that are just right for you. If you have any special requests, however, we are happy to fill those as well. Simply let us know what you would like us to order for you and we will get it in or, if you just would like to see us carry your favorite beer so you can stop by and pick up a six-pack every now and then, that works for us too.

Over time we will be publishing more beer-related blogs detailing our keg program, beer styles, beer regions, and in general going into greater detail about our beer programs. Meanwhile, if you have any specific questions about or requests for beer you would like to see us carry please stop by and see us… we are always happy to help!