Santa Cruz’s Chaminade launches 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinners this Friday

Chaminade’s 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinner series starts Friday

Chaminade’s 2016 Farm to Table Wine Dinner series starts Friday

Believe it or not, June is here (!), which means the start of Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner series. The first dinner is this Friday, June 3, beginning at 6 p.m. with a reception, and there are still a few tickets available.

The series showcases local wineries, local farms and other local food vendors. Dinners are in a beautiful outdoor setting, with long communal tables and lots of great food and drinks. Representatives from wineries and farms attend the dinners and talk to guests about the history of their products, which often stimulates interesting dialogue.

The cost is $110 inclusive per person and this includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception with wine), a multi-course family style dinner with wine pairings (6:30 p.m.), and dessert. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit web site for details, including specific wineries/farmers for particular nights.

For this Friday’s dinner, Executive Chef Nicholas Church is utilizing produce from Fiesta Farm and Coke Farm; see menu below. Wine from Equinox/Bartolo Winery will be featured. Church returned to Chaminade in August 2015; he first worked at Chaminade in 1994 as a line cook, moving up to executive sous chef—a position he held until 2012.  When he returned to Chaminade in 2015 he was executive sous chef under executive chef Kirsten Ponza. In April 2016, Ponza was promoted to Food & Beverage Director and Church was promoted to executive chef.

Church is very excited about his first season of leading the farm to table wine dinners.

“It is always fun to cook with seasonal ingredients fresh from the farm,” he recently shared. “I look forward to working with all the farms this year.”

I didn’t have the opportunity to attend a Chaminade farm to table dinner in 2015, but I have vivid memories of one from 2014, when produce from Santa Cruz’s Yellow Wall Farm was featured. During the reception, there were several appetizers including strawberries stuffed with smoked blue cheese and pancetta. At the time, I spoke to executive chef Ponza who said it was Yellow Wall Farm’s delectable crop of strawberries that helped inspire the stuffed strawberries, in addition to a wonderful first course during the sit-down dinner. The unique strawberry hazelnut gazpacho starter had a delightful Belle Farms olive oil and chive garnish.

Before returning to the Chaminade, Church owned and operated restaurant Mama Mia’s in Felton for two years. His career includes 28 years of culinary experience. I’m sure the new executive chef will do amazing feasts this season. Between now and October, the bounty of top ingredients from local vendors will include produce from Live Earth Farm, Everett Family Farm and Route 1 Farms, seafood from Stagnaro Bros. and grassfed beef from Leftcoast. Beverages will be provided by first-rate wineries such as Storrs, Martin Ranch, Alfaro and the Summit to Sea wine group.

I recommend planning ahead for at least one dinner this season; these events do sell out.

June 3 menu:

Reception
Canellini Bean Soup Shots
Pulled Chicken Spring Roll
Lamb Sliders and Flatbread

First Course
Chicken Pate served on Walnut Bread with Sofritto Oil

Second Course
Braised Pork Belly with Slow Poached Eggs

Third Course
Roasted Beet Salad with Frisee and Arugula, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette

Fourth Course
Beer Brined Chicken served with Chicken Jus
German Potatoes, Rainbow Baby Carrots, Herbed Fava Beans

Dessert
Apricot Tart with Almond Frangipane
Cherry Mousse

The Details
Farm to Table Dinner Series
Monthly through October 2016, Selected Fridays at 6 p.m.:
June 3, July 8, Aug. 5, Sept. 9, Oct. 7

Courtyard Terrace at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz
(831) 475-5600
$110 per person

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