Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Slow down

Last Friday I attended Farm to Table: A Spring Slow Food Dinner at Terrapin Restaurant in Rhinebeck. The RSVP-required event was sold out with 60 attendees. There was a nice mix of Slow Food devotees, curious foodies, and regular patrons of the restaurant. Two new graduates from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park even came with their families to celebrate their commencement earlier that day.

Chef Josh Kroner's challenge was to present a meal composed of all local and seasonal foods. (I wrote about the entire menu in an earlier blog.)

My favorite was the venison medallions, which were right on delicious. I'm a big fan of venison but it's sometimes tricky to prepare well. This dish, made with deer raised at Highland Farm in Germantown, was cooked to a tender perfection and was accompanied by a demi-glace made with Clinton Vineyard's cassis, or black currant liqueur. I'm not sure if the venison has made it onto the chef's regular menu -- but I recommend asking about it!

My dining companions included Slow Food Hudson Valley co-leader Lani Raider and Scott Koster from Millbrook Vineyards, who was on hand to pour the winery's latest bottling of Tocai. (That's Scott with me in the photo above, enjoying a Millbrook Pinot Noir before dinner.) They are doing some delicious things with grapes over in Millbrook! I have to get my hands on a bottle of the Tocai for the next time I plan a barbecue -- I can see this wine being adaptable to my kind of entertaining.

There's something very special about sitting with a group of interesting people and leisurely enjoying a well-prepared meal of seasonal, local foods. It's something for which I'm trying to make more time in my life.


Barbara Gallo Farrell said...

Mmmm... I have become smitten with the mention of Tocai ever since Lidia Bastianich and her son, Joe, talked about it on her latest PBS series based on her new cookbook "Lidia's Italy." They have a family winery in Friuli, which looks just gorgeous, and were talking about how nicely Tocai paired with the foods that are produced in that region, such as the Prosciutto di San Daniele and the Montasio cheese. Joe had also said something about losing the name "Tocai" this year, but the wine would still taste the same. Is this Tocai produced at Millbrook Vineyards? If so, where can I get some?

MillbrookWinery said...

Millbrook Winery does produce Tocai Friulano - the grape from the Friuli region in Italy. It happens to grow quite well here in the Hudson Valley. Our Tocai Friulano can be purchased directly from the winery, or try any of the larger wine retailers in Dutchess County.