Taste of Brunswick Festival Mission Statement
The Taste of Brunswick Festival, Inc. and its volunteer partners, will provide a no admission charge, free parking, and free entertainment event for those who attend the World Championship Brunswick Stew Cook-off and surrounding activities. The festival committee is dedicated to producing a totally family-friendly festival offering cultural insight, educational opportunities, and further promote the tradition of Brunswick Stew as proclaimed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988, House Joint Resolution 35, affirming Brunswick County Virginia as the place of origin of Brunswick Stew.
A History of Brunswick Stew
For Years Our Stew Has Created Quite a Stir
~ 1828 – 2021 ~
A Famous Stew is Born in Virginia
Dr. Creed Haskins’ Brunswick County hunting parties were well known in the 1820’s. Guests would spend convivial time together hunting and discussing the issues of the dat knowing that good food awaited them when the day was over. They could depend on a delicious repast because Dr. Haskins’ chef, Jimmy Matthews, traveled with the hunting party. Jimmy was not only a fine chef and a willing camp cook but also an experienced and able hunter with a masterful record when it came to providing squirrel for his recipe. There was a bubbling hot squirrel stew on the campfire waiting for the hungry hunters’ return. It won immediate acclaim. That same stew recipe — Jimmy’s recipe of squirrel meat, bacon, onion, bread, seasonings and butter — has been handed down for generations. Though today’s official recipes include vegetables and many cooks replace squirrel with chicken, it was Jimmy’s first stew that gave birth to today’s famous Virginia’s own Brunswick Stew.
The Stewmaster’s Tradition
It has been recorded that Jimmy Matthews continued to produce his delectable stews for community picnics and public gatherings until his passing. The tradition he began lived on. Through good times and bad, to raise money or raise the spirit, Brunswick Stewmasters have come together to keep Brunswick Stew an important part of the fabric of Brunswick County family and community life. In doing so, generations of men have become masters of stew making. With years of testing and tasting their special and individual blends, the award-winning Brunswick Stews for which our Stewmasters are known have become the official stews. In 1998 the Brunswick men who had mastered their recipes met together and formed the Brunswick Stewmasters’ Association. It is this organization that is dedicated to the training of the young people who will become the next generation of Brunswick Stewmasters.
Virginia’s Brunswick Stew Resolution and Capitol Square Proclamation of 1988
The stew to which Jimmy Matthews gave birth in 1828 has by name become a famous food known around the world as Brunswick Stew. On January 22, 1988, the General Assembly of Virginia publicly recognized Brunswick Stew as the accomplished good will ambassador it has become for Brunswick County and for the Commonwealth of Virginia and delated in a joint resolution that they did convene, affirm, and proclaim Brunswick County to be “…the place of origin of this astonishing gastronomic miracle.”