The following is a collection of articles I pitched & published in The Independent Newspaper in April of 2018. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here
Almond Restaurant in Bridgehampton hosted a Spring Chicken N’ Beer Dinner, in collaboration with Iacono Farms and Port Jefferson Brewing Co. The six-course meal was be prepared by Executive Chef Jason Weiner, Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Blustein and guest chef Dane Sayles. It will pair local fare with local beer.
Iacono Farms, located in East Hampton, offers up farm fresh eggs and free-range chickens, ideal for a spring menu.
The first course, matched a matzoh ball soup and Party Boat IPA. Second course paired paté & galantine and Low Tide Black IPA. Being a chicken dinner, the third course includes a soft boiled egg with rendered chicken fat corresponding with Scooner Pale Ale. The fourth course, braised leg and meat in Tamales Adobo, and fifth,
Korean fried chicken, was each paired with Beach Beer. For dessert, a dulce de leche pot de creme will be complemented by a Port Jeff Porter.
“It’s a celebration of [Iacono’s and Port Jefferson Brewing Co.’s] portfolio,” said Blustein. The meal included every part of the chicken, he added.
“All beers have their own very identifiable flavor profiles, alcohol levels, and mouth feels. Pairing them with the food is exactly the same as with wine, you want them to get down together, not overpower one another,” the chef de cuisine noted.
THE OLD FIELD
It’s a pair as old as time. Wine and cheese pairings date back hundreds of years throughout Europe. This culinary tradition has turned into an art form within itself, each region throughout the world boasting a unique varietal of grapes to match locally sourced dairy. Fortunate for East Enders, Long Island Wine Country sits in our own backyard, and we are nothing short of our own mixed masterpieces.
The Old Field Vineyard, in Southold, hosted a wine and cheese pairing with Perry Bliss, co-winemaker and general manager of The Old Field, and Jessica Affatato, owner of Harbor Cheese & Provisions. This session included four Old Fields wines: a 2009 Blanc de Noir sparkling wine, a 2016 barrel-fermented chardonnay, a 2014 cabernet franc, and a 2010 commodore perry merlot.
“I feel like these wines showcase our Long Island wine terroir. We sometimes rotate our wines with new releases and the changing seasons,” Bliss explained. With the weather warming up, and cravings gearing towards the sea, Bliss continued, “So many foods can be paired with these wines! Local oysters and strawberries always go great with sparkling wine and chardonnay. Try a smoked lobster with our cabernet franc and a grilled pork chop with our merlot.”
Affatato feels the same, as she changes the cheeses every tasting to go along with the season. The food pairing showcased raw milk cheeses. In addition, guests tried an aged, Dutch knuckle cheese made from raw milk from brown Swiss cows at Sugarhouse Creamery, a husband and wife team based in the Adirondacks.
Envision a 26-pound wheel with hints of nutty, hay, and field notes.
“Harbor Cheese is proud to focus on small artisanal and farmstead cheese producers, both domestic and foreign,” Affatato said. “I also get to help customers discover new favorites, and help other customers find the right product for them. Wine and cheese are both, at their heart, an expression of the land from which they came. Those notes of creation really shine through their production. When you encounter a well-made wine or cheese, it is complex and nuanced.”
“I get to wake up on this magical property that hasn’t changed in at least 100 years, work the land, and make a beautiful product, from start to finish,” Bliss said. “Not too many people these days get to do that. And I get to do it with my family by my side. It is pretty perfect.”
NORTH FORK TABLE & INN
Borghese Vineyard paired up with Stephan Bogardus, Executive Chef, Southold’s North Fork Table & Inn, for a four-course meal featuring Borghese wines. While wine dinners are frequent within the Long Island Wine Region, this evening will celebrate new recipes and a new season.
“When North Fork Table & Inn was being featured at the James Beard Foundation, I was asked if I would like to join and present Borghese wine,” said Giovanni Borghese, co-owner of the vineyard. “It was an amazing experience and something I will be grateful for indefinitely, a huge moment for Borghese.”
Bogardus worked with Mike Mraz, co-owner and sommelier of North Fork Table, to curate a menu, after hours of research at the Borghese tasting room.
“[Mraz] knows my food and I know his eye for wine. We trust each other a lot. Together we get the start for a pairing based on what Mike is tasting in a wine, his previous experience, and his knowledge of my style of cooking. He then highlights subtleties in the wine that I use, like secret weapons, in the food. This idea really helps us provide a great bridge between the wine and food,” Bogardus detailed.
Included in the menu was a cured fluke paired with spring herbs and nettles (an edible that is one of the first signs of spring); asparagus and cavatelli pasta, pork belly with ramps and clams, and a rhubarb crostada.
The cabernet franc rosé, one of the wines paired, has an acidity that cuts pork belly fat and balances out the butter in the clam-ramp sauce. In food and wine pairs, it’s important to understand the balance of complementing flavors and contrasting them, the executive chef noted. “Deconstructing flavors and layering balance to contrasts helps round off a pairing into something really special,” Bogardus said.
The North Fork native has been cooking since he was a teenager, and he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America nearly a decade ago. His passion for the kitchen is presented with every forkful. The chef emphasized, “I love new everything. Using new wines, new techniques and new spring flavors really got me inspired while writing this menu.” In an ironic twist, Bogardus abstains from alcohol, in an industry that oftentimes revolves around it. As an avid yoga practitioner, he delights in waters and “nerding out on tea.”