Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cinque Terre / Vignola 7th Annual Harvest Dinner

Have you ever daydreamed about that trip to Italy, spending a leisurely afternoon drinking wine and eating fine food at some out of the way restaurant in the countryside?  Well I'm here to tell you, forget the jet lag and the airfare and just mark your calendar with a little note *next August-sign up for the Cinque Terre/ Vignola Harvest Dinner, which happened this year on Sunday, the 12th of September, at Grand View Farm, in Greene Maine. The farm is owned by Dan Kary and his wife Michelle, who are half owners with Chef Lee Skawinski of the two Portland restaurants.  Their partnership started with a conversation about what Dan could grow and what Lee could cook with it.
The dinner started seven years ago... a real world exploration of a culinary idea, "Slow Food" or farm to table, the idea that memorable food is more about fresh, seasonal ingredients, uniquely put together in ideal proportions than the actual chef, a movement that has gathered momentum in the past 10-15 years in this country. Today the farm produces up to 40% of the seasonal produce served at the restaurants. The tour bus pulled up to the farm house around 1:45. A 14 year old mare watched as the 50 odd people disembarked, walked past the fruit trees along the drive way, making their way toward the farmhouse steps, where they were greeted by Dan Kary.

Inside Chef Lee Skawinski and a staff of a dozen were busily preparing for the afternoon event.
After a quick hello to old friends and a tour of the first floor dining area, guests move outdoors for a look at the new oven, were the Porchetta had been cooking for several hours. Soon Hors d'oeuvres began arriving, drinks were poured and a tour of the gardens started.
After an hour and a half or so spent tasting the wines and listening to a jazz trio it was time to move inside where more goodies awaited!

And then it was time to say goodbye for this year!

Cinque Terre
36 Wharf Street
10 Dana Street

If any of you are wondering about the two ovens seen above, the one indoors which was used to bake the bread and some of the Hors d'oeuvres and the larger outdoors one on the patio, used to roast the Porchetta; both of which were finished and fired for the first time for this dinner, they were made by David Neufeld of Northstar Stoneworks.

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