The Eventbrite page is up and you can now purchase advance tickets online. It’s worth getting one early as we’re capping the event at 100-ish.
We’ll be relating more lovely little details, such as links to the music you’ll be privy to, descriptions of the specific pairings, all as the days unravel leading up to the 25th of May.
THE FULL RUN-DOWN OF THE PAIRINGS:
All foods feature local organic ingredients, are plant-based, and available gluten-free
The wines bounce back and forth between compelling wines from the world stage, and promising wines from here in Vermont; sparking a conversation addressing what it’s like to participate in a several hundred year-old tradition versus one that is nascent and finding its voice.
1.) Meinklang’s “H11″ paired with Christmas Lima Gigandes prepared in a blend of olive oil and local sunflower oil, topped with coarse salt, wild sage, rosemary, and pink peppercorns we harvested in Big Sur and Topanga Canyon this past winter.
Christmas Limas are also spoken of as Chestnut limas because of similarities in taste and texture. These large, luscious characters work amazingly well in any application; we chose to showcase them simply in a blend of olive and sunflower oils and sparse spices and herbs. These Limas come from Rancho Gordo in California, a company who works with traditional peoples in Mexico and the Southwest and creates economic incentives for them to grow their traditional foods by helping to create and access markets for them. These beans grow well enough in the northeast too, and we’ll be trialing them, trying to get them to a commercial scale in the ensuing years.
Meinklang’s harslevelu grape-based wine comes from a compelling biodynamic (Demeter certified) estate in the Hungarian terroir of Somlo; grown on a dormant volcano in living soil; fermented in concrete egg-shaped vessels with endemic wild yeasts from their purposefully unpruned vines (“grauperts”). The aromatics in wine come from grapes’ phenols, essentially their immune system. Since this vintage’s grapes hail from a biodynamic system, they’re exposed to more healthy stresses from competition in their understory and so take on both vigor and aroma.
2.) “Louise Swenson” 2012 from Shelburne Vineyard paired with our Hinterland Cassoulet (aka baked beans) which makes use marafax beans, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and some of the Louise Swenson itself, rounded out by a blend of traditional spices and our own subtle twists.
The steely-fruit-sweet of Louise does a cute little two-step with the more tart and tangy, savory sweet of the baked beans in this pairing.
Often called Bean-Hole Beans—even today in parts of Maine—these were par-boiled then finished off in beds of coals several feet under dirt in sealed soapstone, clay, or metal pots.
These marafax beans are the original baked bean (a pre-columbian delicacy and cultural touchstone of Abenakis and countless other peoples) and they come from some of the better bean growers in the northeast: Tony and Helene Neves of Freedom Bean Company in Albion, Maine. Tony and Helene have been growing beans for around thirty-years. They grow over a half-dozen varieties of heirlooms and sell seed-quality beans to the likes of Fedco, High Mowing, and specific growers as well. They’re critical assets to the staple food economy in the northeast. But seeing as they’re working their way through their sixties: we need more folks like them, growing and processing seed-quality beans of a range of genetics.
Louise Swenson is the name of a very cold-hearty grape developed by a Minnesota dairy farmer and named after his wife. That’s pretty sweet. More sweet than the wine itself, which is a good thing, as many northeastern white wines come together in a manner that’s cloying. I particularly appreciate the nose and the finish on this wine. It’s fairly dry and acidic with mineral tones that drift like sand on the ocean floor across your tongue. This is one of the few wines around that is both grown and fermented primarily in Vermont.
The Louise Swenson grapes (yes, that’s the name of the grapes too, not just the wine) come from Shelburne Vineyard’s McCabe Brook acreage, and account for about 95% of the wine; the balance of the wine is Le Crescent, a fruitier cold-hardy white.
3.) “Marquette” 2011 from Lincoln Peak Vineyard paired with our Tepary Bean Pate. We got these teparies from Native Seeds in Tuscon, where our dear friend Lynda Prim helped establish these beans’ initial grow-outs for seed.
In the Tohono O’odham lore the stars of the night sky are actually white tepary beans that have been scattered up there by coyote. NASA has since confirmed the validity of that early prognosis.
Tepary beans harken back to pre-Columbian times and are in some ways the bridge between ancient wild beans and domesticated ones. They’re even a distinct species from most common dry beans today (they’re Phaseolus acutifolius vs phaseolus vulgaris). They come from the arid southwest and are particularly well-adapted to drought conditions. Just this year a couple different folks are doing test grow-outs of teparies here in Vermont; in a world with a climate in flux teparies are a good way to hedge our bets, plus they’re simply yum.
Teparies have a higher fiber content than most any other bean and are being reintroduced into indigenous diets to help combat diabetes that is now ravaging reservations as a result of the diets of highly processed foods they’ve assimilated over the last few generations
Marquette is the grandchild of pinot noir and cold-hearty vinifera (such as Frontenac) varieties that’s made it a very hearty and mildew resistant grape with wonderful properties for wine making. Lincoln Peak makes the best red wine coming out of Vermont right now out of this grape. They leave the grape juice on its skins for an extended period of the fermentation so the wine has a lovely atmosphere of tannins and soil, flavors of fruit leather that expand as the wine sits in your mouth.
We particularly appreciate the extent to which Lincoln Peak Vineyard grows out their own cuttings, only use grapes from their farmstead, and don’t plan on expanding beyond the boundaries or capacity of their current land holdings. Such a healthy and effective model, that obviously lends itself to super results. Lincoln Peak is a family affair and the second phase in life of former berry farmers.
4.) “Lagrein” 2011 from Hoffstater paired with Black Coco Beans from Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, Vermont in Castania Sauce.
Black Cocos are more than twice the size of black turtle beans, we pair them with shitakiis and a sauce comprised of chestnut puree and befitting spices to accentuate the woody tones of the lagrein itself. These Cocos come from a multiple year rotation on the forty acres of Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford, there on the banks of the Connecticut River. Most of the plowing at Cedar Circle happens by horse draught power. Cedar Circle has a dynamic crew of young farmers and is overseen by sustainable farming rock stars Will Allen and Kate Duesterberg. More than 90% of the food and flowers grown at Cedar Circle are sold directly to their community via their farm stand. A great, community-building model. We’re lucky to have them share a portion of their dry bean harvest with us each year.
Lagrein is one of my favorite wines anywhere. They grow it at the vineyard I worked at in Sud Tirol (a sovereign territory in northern Italy), a terroir it is particular to. These grapes give brunellos a run for their money as mouthy, rich reds. They may well be made of dark matter. This lagrein was such a merrily strong nose it’s like some one’s inflating a fruit balloon in your sinus cavity; then some notes of wood and moss come in bringing in thoughts of the world beneath the soil. It’s this sort of spicy nuttiness, this flavor of forest shadows that makes us add shitakiis to the black coco beans, creating an echo of the wine’s personality. The chestnut sauce we infused the black cocos with was an essential flavor to bring in as lagrien is traditionally drank at the time of the chestnut harvest with freshly roasted chestnuts. Chestnuts with lagreins punctuates the fact that two plus two can equal five.