Breakfast of Champions … with Fruitcake for Dessert

by Editorial
Gwen and Bobby Mitchell.

Gwen and Bobby Mitchell.


Pro football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is a long time Middleburg resident. This Redskins’ radio color analyst is also a horse lover and the CEO of the $1,450,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic, which is held over the hill in Charles Town. Sam and his partner, Carol Holden (president of the classic) put together another stellar weekend of races and parties.

It all began with a gala dinner dance at the Clarion Hotel in Shepherdstown, with music by the Gene Donati Orchestra. Naturally, many of Sam’s buddies from his football days were on hand: former Redskin-safety-turned-attorney Brig Owens and his wife Patti, sportscaster Chris Lincoln and his wife Becky, former Redskin and Hall of Fame receiver Charley Taylor and former congressman Toby Roth and wife Barbara.

Lenny Hale, the new executive director of the Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association, brought Ann MacLeod as his date. Gwen and Bobby Mitchell (another former Hall of Fame Redskin receiver) also enjoyed an evening of dancing presented by Valley Equine Associates.

The next morning, many (including our favorite kicker, Mark Moseley) put on their game face for the WVBC Golf Tournament – sponsored by United Bank – at Locust Hill Golf Course where horse owner and health care lobbyist Richard Knapp was fêted for his long drive.

The festivities continued with a “Breakfast of Champions” at the race track, which was attended by former Redskin quarterbacks Billy Kilmer and Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen as well as Hall of Fame jockey Brailio Baeza.

As the horses crossed the finish line, Eastern Delite [sic], bred by Sharon Johnson of Wind N’ Springs Farm and trained by her husband Freddie Johnson, won the Feature $500,000 Classic.

Brigg and Patti Owens with Sam Huff.

Brigg and Patti Owens with Sam Huff.


As many in the big city might suspect, we country-dwellers have secrets of our own. There are some things we keep all to ourselves: that special little place for Sunday breakfast, that great source for hard-to-find flowers or even that out-of-the-way place for the perfect gift. As these are special circumstances, I am going to share a secret about holiday fruitcakes. These fruitcakes are not like the ones from your eccentric Aunt Eleanor that you pass along …. these are positively divine.

Monastery Fruitcakes are baked by Trappist monks – using an old fashioned down-home Southern recipe – at the 1200-acre Holy Cross Abbey at Cool Spring along the Shenandoah River near Berryville.

These 2 1/4 pound heavenly confections are filled with an abundant assortment of fruit and nuts. The noble brothers saturate each cake with sherry and lace them with brandy. This society of reclusive gentlemen, part of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance, maintains a vow of perpetual silence and total abstinence from meat, fish and eggs. They begin each day well before dawn with prayers – seven hours of prayer, in fact. Manual labor remains compulsory, and study is encouraged.

Last year, they sold 25,000 fruitcakes, made by just eight monks, for $22 each including postage. It’s a delightful, delicious and delectable treat for those on your holiday list …. a seasonal uplift that’s not too sinful.

Happy Holidays!


DECEMBER 2 Tea with Cinderella, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Speech and Hearing Association at the Middleburg Community Center, 703 858-7620.

DECEMBER 8 Black Tie Holiday Ball at the Middleburg Community Center, by invitation only.

DECEMBER 8 Mad Cap Farm Christmas Shopping Bazaar in The Plains, or 540-253-5606.

JANUARY 13 Bel Cantani Opera will perform Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel featuring young soloists in costume at Grace Church in The Plains at 5 p.m.,, 540 253-5177.

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