March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year as top teams crumble and Cinderella stories make small towns proud. It’s a time when colleagues, friends and family go head to head in bracket challenges, sports stores overcharge on college apparel and it is acceptable-in some places- to follow the big game in your workplace cube.

But, before you get ready to don your favorite school colors and binge on basketball, Virginia Tourism Corporation is taking March Madness off the courts and into the kitchen as it looks for the best restaurants and dishes across Virginia.

The 2016 Virginia is for Food Lovers Culinary Challenge focuses on highlighting Virginia’s booming culinary scene that thrives on farm fresh cuisine. The challenge focuses on five different categories that highlight everything from small bites and burgers to oysters, baked goods and local favorites.

In Loudoun, we have dozens of restaurants doing innovative dishes using local ingredients. Here are just a few of our favorite dishes in these categories. Let us know your favorite restaurants and local dishes in the comments, and be sure to vote in the culinary challenge when it goes live in March.

Small Bites- Spicy Crab Bites from Buffalo Wing Factory

Spicy Crab Bites made with Loudoun beer. Spicy Crab Bites are made with Old-Bay seasoning and BWF's own Session IPA, brewed by Beltway Brewing Company.

Burgers and BBQ- Street Tacos from Yummy Pig BBQ

BBQ Street Tacos from Yummy Pig.

BBQ Street Tacos from Yummy Pig BBQ come with your choice of smoked meats. Taco Tuesdays never tasted so good!

Oysters, Seafood and Fish- Oysters on the Half Shell from the Wine Kitchen

It's hard to beat oyster and wine pairings at the Wine Kitchen.

It's hard to beat oyster and wine pairings at the Wine Kitchen.

Bakeries and Desserts- Caramel Apple Cupcakes from Lola's Cookies & Treats

Visit the Very Virginia shop in downtown Leesburg for Lola's sweet treats!

Visit the Very Virginia shop in downtown Leesburg for Lola's sweet treats, including these cupcakes made from locally grown apples!

Local Favorites- Bourbon Maple Glazed Pork Belly from Leesburg Public House

You had us at Bourbon Maple...

You had us at Bourbon Maple...