Warmth of the hearth in the depth of winter!
In the depth of winter on Friday February 13, 30 people ventured out in minus 12 degree temperatures to a pop-up dinner in Panton Vermont. Amongst the expansive snow covered fields and intermittent dairy farms of Addison County is Agricola Farm, a Bonafide Vermont land-trust farm where the blend of Vermont ingenuity and Italian traditional farming and food preparation practices combine in delicious flavors too delicate to describe.
The menu featured skillfully prepared cuisine made from Agricola Farm raised pork combined with Italian herbs and spices, specialty wines, and breads resulting in a five course three hour meal of savory, sweet, and succulent flavors that transported the diners between Italy and Vermont all night long. The main course of hand crafted sausage on a bed of polenta was moist and delicate, with a balance of herbs and spices that enlivened the palate with flavors that reminded me of the earthy fragrance of the barn amidst fields of wildflowers on warm summer days. Robust yet delicate Italian red wines complemented each course, and accented the overtones of a large family gathering for a summer-time celebration but on the coldest night of winter.
The dinner ended late for Vermonters, past 11pm, and the warm farewell from the farmers and hosts of the Agricola Farm dinner lingered, maybe to ward off the bold reality of the outside air which eventually caught our breath and jolted our brains back to the reality of facing off winter in Vermont. Our final exposure to the biting cold and the warmth of the farm was a parting farewell to the chickens roosting along the fence, the sows warming the newly born piglets, and the boar roaring its dismay that the farm was alive late on this coldest night of winter. Tonight the slow yet bitter wind off Lake Champlain must have worked its way through the cracks in the old boar’s pen to bite against its side, keeping it awake to roar farewell to the dinner guests who were filled with warmth of friendship and a satisfying Bonafide farm fresh meal prepared and served with love, skill, and ingenuity of Vermonters complemented by the creativity and enthusiasm of Italians.