November 2012 Fearrington Food and Wine Newsletter

Carpaccio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Français : La grotte du Mesnil

Français : La grotte du Mesnil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November 2012
Jean Anderson Cooks & Books Lunch The Story of 20 New Fall Dishes
Wine Pairings, Wine Dinner, Wine Class | Pumpkin Fest

Dear Friends,

Fearrington House has received some exciting awards recently. Not only is the Inn tops in the South, US, and internationally with Conde Nast Traveler’s readers (read more here), but we’ve learned we are now also tops in the world for best culinary experience. Thank you Conde Nast Traveler!

Just ahead: Jean Anderson is joining us for a Cooks & Books Lunch Thursday, Nov. 15th: six recipes from From A Southern Oven, from the six-time, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author. We are looking forward to this intimate and delicious cookbook lunch with our neighbor Jean.  A few spots are still available – more information here!

Gorgeous photos of the delicious fall Fearrington House seasonal and tasting menus are up. They were taken by Krystal Kast, wife of our wine director Maximilian Kast. And though a picture might tell a 1000 words, we thought to let you in onthe story on how 20 new dishes landed on the Fall Menu.

Before a single guest was served a single fall dish, the entire Fearrington House team of wait, wine, bar, and kitchen convened at a long table in the upstairs dining room for a full day (on Monday, normally their day off) tasting all the fall menu (except Chef’s Tasting and dessert). We tasted 20 dishes and with them 20 wine pairings – the entire Fall menu! We’ll do our best to describe the day:

Chef Colin Bedford had been up all night preparing notebooks for all, before finally falling asleep on his computer keyboard. Each dish got its own page of ingredient notes. There’s the outline of a white box on each page of dishes and some of us sketch in the box the presentation and note the seven to nine distinct ingredients. Some take photos on their cameras or phones. The overall idea is that everyone is to taste everything and no questions, qualms, suggestions are irrelevant.

None of these dishes has ever been on the menu before. Colin doesn’t repeat dishes, so diners have something to look forward to, but also so the kitchen is challenged. And also good knowing we’ll be doing this again come Winter.

For the first courses, we tried three out of six at a time, with Sommelier Maximilian Kast’s first thoughts on accompanying wine. Between the courses, the kitchen staff hurries back downstairs to cook and assemble the plates, while everyone discusses what we tasted, and the wine, which we’re encouraged to sip, not drink too much of (which is really difficult — can you imagine being asked to not drink of all your Delamotte Champagne, Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger with the carpaccio or Pommery, Brute Royal 1999 from Reims with the Truffle and Madeira Custard).

The bona fide, overall winner: the Beef Carpaccio (studded with crispy quinoa, pumpkin seed, blue cheese, radish, beet and mustard). Chef’s notes tell us: “We use a strip loin; it has a better texture and more marbling. Once the strip has been trimmed, it is seared, brushed with mustard, then rolled through a dry spice which plays off the pumpkin spice that consists of black pepper, coriander seed, allspice, cinnamon, and clove, before chilling and slicing very thin.”

Also a top choice: the Truffle & Madeira Custard (which is also on the Vegetarian Tasting Menu and plays on fennel pollen, artichoke and sunchoke) and the Cauliflower and Parmesan Soup (also vegetarian and with caper custard, raisin capers, black garlic with sherry, and peppery micro watercress – wonderful with the prosecco) the Wild Game and Peppercorn Pave (outstanding! many of us said this a major contender), also the Chilled Lobster Salad with Squid Ink, Seabeans and Tarragon & Reisling Bubbles and the Pear-cider Bloomed Beau Soleil Oysters (“from New Brunswick, the farthest north Beau Soleil, a 2.5- inch virginica oysters, and the flavor is refined and light, but with brine, and something of a yeasty warm-bread aroma you get with good Champagne…we bloom these in pear cider.”) Max’s favorite pairing that day was this one with the oysters: Louis Metaireau, Muscadet Sevre-et-Loire, Cuvee Carte Noire, 2010. Max tells us, “if ever there was a classic one for seafood this is it, from Nantes and tastes of freshly squeezed lemons, seashells, canned peaches, green apples. On the palette it is bone dry, with medium-plus acidy, with a refreshing citrus and mineral finish.”

Our day goes on like this, plate by plate, with intense notes on ingredients and wine pairings.

For second courses: All loved the Seared Tuna (with candied lemon, sweet potato, spaghetti squash, cashew). Sweetbread fans (the kitchens staff) went high for the Sweetbreads with Johnston County Country Ham, Garlic Chips and Matsutake; and Fearrington Foie Gras fans loved Seared Foie Gras with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms (the wait staff went for all of it — the ginger bread and the smoked hen of the woods mushrooms, sunchokes and bruises and iced wine prep); everyone also loved the comforting Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sweet Onion, Smoked Farmers Cheese, Kale, Pecans and Roasted Pheasant (with parsnips). The most fall love might have been for the Roasted Pheasant with Parsnip (cinnamon brioche, dates, Brussels sprouts, apple, smoked bacon. The most southern dish had its own following: the Lamb Loin with Rutabagas, Poached Biscuit Dumplings is in itself great, better even paired with the state’s best McRitchie, Ring of Fire, Yadkin Valley, NC, 2010.

For main, we had the most mind-stops and hails for best-of on the Confit Rib-Eye (with savoy cabbage, port-pickled red onion, potato, elf mushrooms, baby vegetables and bernaise — paired with Blackbird Blackbird, Arise, Napa Valley, California, 2009, from the Oak Knoll district.) was the most surprising to all, just a stellar dish on what could be a standard menu staple. Paired with the Blackbird, Arise, Napa Valley, 2009, from the Oak Knoll district. But the requisite NC Pork Plate won the hands-down rave: House-smoked Bacon and Braised Pork(we learn the “belly is dry cured for three days, cut open like a book, then smoked; then the pork cheeks are classically braised, roasted and then cooked for three hours” and served with sage infused hard-cider jam, sweet potato, mustard, quince, baby radish). Paired with the Paitin, Barbera d’Alba, Campolive, Italy, 2009. What else? We all think Colin is ingenious with fish and his Flounder with Pasta Leaves and Paddlefish Caviar, paired with the Lemelson, Pinot Noir, Thea’s Selection, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2010. And the NC Redfish with White Port and Sherry Maple Sauce with green beans cut into coins and salsify served as a noodle, and pear as a tart tatin — served with a Sancerre. So too the Venison Striploin(butter braised sun chokes, juniper and huckleberry sauce, bacon, pear, Brussels sprouts and cocoa). Finally, amazing to us all the Duck Breast with Celery Root and Blue Foot Mushrooms. Paired with the biodynamic Freestone, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, 2008.

We are going long here, so will send you to the list itself for theChef’s Tasting and Vegetarian Tasting menus.

The Fearrington Wine Team, as Max Kast is now calling it, is going way out offering new wine pairing options that expand the opportunities for our guests’ enjoyment in many ways, “be that from delving into the Sommelier’s perfect world wine pairings, or customizing your pairings to be focused on a single grape, a single vintage, or even an all beer or all cocktail tasting,” says Max. The opportunities are endless, just imagine!

Also don’t miss the final Wine Maker Dinner of 2012 –  Perception Winery’s Mark Ray joins us for a Wine Maker Dinner on November 11th. And Australia is the focus for theWine Class at the Granary on the 15th.

Finally, we won’t let a little rain and wind deter us – we are carving away as we speak – over five dozen hand-picked pumpkins from local fields, each given a satisfyingly goulish face or image by for our gardener and chefs. We’ll be ready for all the the little gremlins to show up tonight for Pumpkin Fest(regardless of the weather!).

Happy Grazing from all of us at Fearrington!

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Cowboys of the Rhône Valley

An Untamed Ride Through France’s Region of Bullfights and Broncos

The weathered faces, wide-brimmed hats and spurs of the gardians of the Camargue star in photographer Michael Hemy’s luminous series. Lying between the two arms of the Rhône, the salt flats of southern France have long been home to these European cowboys who, with their long tridents, herd black cattle through the marshes atop the iconic pale gray horses native to the region. The bulls are used for fighting in the arenas of the Course Camarguaise, and, much like in the American West, the local culture has given rise to a tradition of competitive riding. “You can definitely feel the Catalan influence here,” Hemy says, noting a lineage beyond the ancient Iberian roots of this breed of horse. “It feels almost Romany.” That character is reflected in the customs of the wetlands’ primary town, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which hosts an annual Gitan Pilgrimage where Catalan- and French-speaking gypsies gather each May for a festival that dates back to the 16th century. Hemy, who has shot for Vogue Homme and Louis Vuitton, chose to document these horsemen in the early morning sun. “I was keen to capture that soft, hazy, Terrence Malick light,” he explains.


Words With Friends Addicts, Meet Your New Favorite Magician

“During a late-May performance at Soho House, magician David Kwong, 32, held up a deck of cards and asked a woman in the audience to pick one and keep the suit and number to herself. While the average magician might then reach for a sword, rabbit, or flash pot to further his trick, Kwong instead unveiled a poster-size piece of paper covered with a blank crossword puzzle grid. He asked for a few long words to write across the grid, then began filling in connecting words while tossing out verbal clues to the audience (“Southeast Asian water buffalo?”). Within minutes, he had created a New YorkTimes–caliber crossword puzzle, with a twist. A row of diagonal letters spelled out eight of clubs, the card that the woman had selected.”

“The crowd — mostly under-40 professionals — went crazy. Even David Copperfield, who had been checking his own iPhone and whispering to his fiancée in the audience for much of the night, sat upright in his chair. The two Davids have been collaborating on developing film projects that feature magic, puzzles, and illusions ever since the highest-earning magician saw Kwong perform in Vegas in April, and Copperfield is still surprised by what he can do. Kwong is the cerebral yin to Copperfield’s flashy yang. Could Kwong become the David Blaine for the Words With Friends crowd?”

Catch him at private parties and venues such as Soho House, the Core Club and the Magic Castle in Los Angeles.

From Helen Coster’s article in:–20121009

Why a Love of the Arts Will Help Your Brain Age Better


We know exercise helps strengthen our minds and our bodies. We know that taking on new challenges keeps the brain sharp through middle age and beyond. But now new research — and a new public television documentary — make a strong case that engagement with music, dance and other arts may be just as powerful for preserving mental health and acuity throughout our lives. In Arts & the Mind, a two-part special produced by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) and airing nationwide this fall … scientists extol the power of the arts to boost mental acuity throughout life.

Posted by Gary Drevitch in nextavenue, September 13, 2012:

The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

“The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement” by Jan Cullinane, author of “The New Retirement,” comes to bookstores this week. Practical and entertaining, it contains checklists and interviews dealing with topics of interest to single women.

When asked why she wrote the book, Jan replied:

It primarily came from the comments I heard from single women after I would give a talk. They would say things like: “Where should I move? Everything seems geared to couples.” “After 30 years of marriage, I’m divorced. I want and need to go back to work. Help me.” “My husband died unexpectedly. I never handled the money. Any suggestions?” “I am happily single, but want to live in a place with a lot of social support after I leave my primary career. What are some possibilities?” “I’m gay. Where I should move?” “I’m ready to return to the dating pool, but haven’t been on a date in 40 years. Where do I start?”

From: October 1st, 2012

Traveling Alone in Iceland

Beautiful photos of Iceland which was a welcome respite for a thoughtful solo woman traveler.

“One week will feel like months. You alone will bear witness to each meeting, vision, and song. No one will remember it for you. Because of this, each small moment will expand to hold multitudes.”

Hair Styles for Women Over 60

Los Angeles stylists, including Kim Vo, a judge on Bravo TV’s “Shear Genius, describe how to maintain a beautiful hairstyle over age 60.(photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

By Whitney Friedlander, eHow Contributor , last updated July 26, 2012

Read more: Hair Styles for Women Over 60 |