Go Alfresco: Farm-to-Table Entertaining
The season for dining alfresco is upon us, and farmers markets and gardens across the country are brimming with summer’s gorgeous bounty. Rather than planning yet another backyard barbecue this season, consider hosting an alfresco farm-to-table dinner party.
At Sonoma-Cutrer, every culinary event from wine and cheese pairings to our elegant four-course meals start with local ingredients. What can’t be harvested from the on-site seasonal garden is procured from local food purveyors that produce everything from mushrooms to cheese with the same care and attention to detail that goes into making fine wine.
Local ingredients aren’t just good for the environment and your local community: they simply taste better. There’s no comparison between produce that’s been harvested within the last 24 hours and fruits and vegetables that have spent the last two weeks traveling halfway around the world. Follow a few simple tips for a fun and easy foray into the popular locavore movement.
Plan the menu around what’s fresh. If you have a garden, start there – even if your “garden” consists of a lone potted herb in your kitchen windowsill. Next, head to your local farmers markets and nearby farm stands to stock up and be inspired.
Let the seasonal offerings be your guide, and get creative. The fun of hosting a farm-to-table meal is coming up with dishes that showcase the best of the season.
When it comes to preparation, keep it simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. Use uncomplicated cooking techniques to allow the vibrant aromas, textures and flavors to shine through. The same goes for any marinades or vinaigrettes you use – simple, simple, simple.
Next, set the scene. Place a table alongside your garden where the produce was picked. Or, create a garden anywhere by dressing your table with fresh local flowers and herbs. Place foliage or candles in empty jam jars for an easy rustic charm.
Finally, uncork a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer to toast your successful venture into farm-to-table entertaining. Try The Cutrer Chardonnay for a creamy wine to complement crisp and earthy summer vegetables, or opt for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir to enhance hearty meats with juicy, dark fruit flavors.
Most importantly, have fun! Let the season’s freshest offerings take center stage while you enjoy the company and savor the flavors found in your own backyard.