Friday, October 10, 2008

Feast of the Farms Evening

On September 26th we were so thrilled to join Chef Doug Mack for the annual Farms Harvest Celebration at the Balwin Creek Inn in Bristol, Vermont. This event is the grand finale of the Farmhouse Dinner Series which, runs all year to give guests the opportunity to share a great dinner while discussing foody topics, like local food, new trends, farming and so much more….

It is a gala affair in the Red Barn, under a glorious white peaked tent with live entertainment throughout the evening. All of their farm partners joined them to celebrate Harvest, serving food, chatting with guests and enjoying an “end of season” party.

We had the great pleasure to share our table with a wonderful local wine maker:
Shelburne Vineyard! Their Vidal Blanc Ice Wine is to die for and they make a really nice Riesling (which goes so well with our aged goat cheeses). I have to say that it's really remarkable to make a great quality wine considering how hard to must be to grow grapes in our gorgeous, but frigid Vermont state. But let’s talk about the food first.

Doug made a wonderful walnut and cranberry bread to serve topped with a slice of our aged Coupole. Bonne Bouche was also invited and served on medallions of fresh pears; simple but so elegant.
Every guest came up at least twice for it!!! as a little “amuse bouche”, then for the cheese course and a last bite for dessert! The sweetness in the bread with the dried fruits balanced really well with the acidity of the lactic cheese. Having the crunch of walnuts enhanced the nuttiness of the Coupole, which comes from the special yeast we are using in the milk. Parfait!

Local venison ragu, Vermont Mysti Knoll Farm chicken was serving a turkey meat loaf – Vermont apple pie with cinnamon ice cream - local bread – wine and cheese, hosted in a wonderful traditional Vermont red barn setting, what more can you ask for? Bravo Chef Doug and thanks to you, Linda and all your staff for this wonderful evening and the support of local farmers which you have done for the past 25 years. (and the extra loaf of cranberry walnut bread that we took home!).

Upcoming event at the Balwin Creek
Fri Oct 10; 6:15 Dinner, 7:30 TalkTable Talk: "The Vermont Grapevine"
Lincoln Peak Vineyard owner and winemaker Chris Granstrom has been growing grapes, strawberries and apples for over 25 years in New Haven. He discusses Vermont's emerging grape and wine industry, the new grape varieties that make vineyards possible in our region and the tasty wines that can be made from them

Cranberry-Walnut Quick Bread

2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
⅔ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Vermont Cultured Butter unsalted, melted
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 cups chopped cranberries , fresh or frozen, thawed
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 400°F for muffins, mini loaves and mini Bundts or 375°F for a large loaf. Coat pan(s) with cooking spray.
2. Prepare Quick-Bread Dry Mix using your favorite recipe.
3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, oil and vanilla in a large bowl until well combined.
4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add orange zest, cranberries and walnuts. Stir just to combine; do not overmix. Transfer batter to the prepared pan(s). Top with additional walnuts, if desired.
5. Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes for muffins or mini Bundts, 35 minutes for mini loaves, 1 hour 10 minutes for a large loaf. Let cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let muffins and mini Bundts cool for 5 minutes more, mini loaves for 30 minutes, large loaves for 40 minutes.

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