By Vickie Mitchell
Buying local is nothing new in Roanoke, where for more than 100 years, the City Market has been putting beans, corn, potatoes and other homegrown goods on dinner tables. So it is natural for two personable local businesses — Black Dog Salvage and Chocolatepaper — to team up for kicky kickoff receptions.
Black Dog Salvage can be the venue. It’s a 40,000-square-foot yellow warehouse about five blocks from downtown, packed with antiques and architectural finds saved from demolition, all for sale. Add hors’ d’oeuvres from a local restaurant like Fork, samples of chocolate from downtown shop Chocolatepaper and wines from area wineries for an only-in-Roanoke evening.
At Black Dog Salvage, a black lab with a wagging tail greets guests. Sally the Salvage Dog was trained by the original salvage dog, a black lab named Molly, who lived a good 13 years.
The list of things not found at Black Dog is much shorter than the list of things found there. In the market for a clawfoot tub or some sparkling stained glass? This is the place. The same goes for pillars, mantels, wrought- iron gates and fences and doors. There’s also plenty of antique furniture, paintings, lamps, rugs and sculpture.
Chocolatepaper proprietress Melissa Palmer has become known for her wine and chocolate tastings, enjoyed by groups of all types — from a college reunion of 75 to a meeting contingent making a site visit to the city. Her format is flexible — she’s set up tastings stations at fundraisers and done pairings of chocolates and single-malt scotch.
“We feel that our tastings appeal to a broad range of people,” Palmer said. “It’s an interesting and delicious way to get people to enjoy something they already love at a deeper level. There are many opportunities for wine tastings. But chocolate? Chocolate tastings educate the palate and define what components create that complex flavor.”
For those without time for a tasting but with a hankering for sweet stuff, Chocolatepaper sells an exclusive favor: a chocolate Roanoke Star. In late February Palmer was about to deliver 75 stars to a group meeting at the Hotel Roanoke. The stars were personalized with custom tags sporting a welcome message and the company’s logo.