Tag Archives: Yellow Wall Farm

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

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Santa Cruz’s Chaminade launches 2014 Farm to Table Wine Dinners

Ravioli from Chaminade’s June 6 Farm to Table Dinner. Photo credit: Fereshteh Fatemi

Ravioli from Chaminade’s June 6 Farm to Table Dinner. Photo credit: Fereshteh Fatemi

It’s officially summertime, and here in Santa Cruz we have one more reason to celebrate: Chaminade Resort’s annual Farm to Table Dinner series has begun! The always-enjoyable series showcases local farms and local wineries.

I had the pleasure of attending 2014’s debut event on June 6, and it lived up to my high expectations. I’ll provide some details below; meanwhile, I would go check your calendars right now for the rest of the season and make reservations—which are required—for one of the dinners.
2014 Chaminade remaining dinner dates are:

  • July 11
  • August 15
  • September 12
  • October 10

The cost is $80 per person and that includes hors d’oeuvres (served at the 6 p.m. reception), family style dinner (starts at 6:30 p.m.), dessert, and wine (served at reception AND dinner). Tax and gratuity are excluded. Call (831) 475-5600 or visit web site for details, including specific wineries/farmers for particular nights. The specific menu is posted as each event draws near.

Back to the June 6 dinner, created by the talented Kirsten Ponza. Chef Kirsten, who was promoted to Executive Chef in September 2013, is a delightful person to talk to about food and cooking. She knows a lot, and is excited when you ask her questions or make specific comments about a dish. Many people, including myself, relished our conversations the other night. When I asked her about the event, she said, “I love the Farm to Table series for many reasons.  I get to talk to my guests attending and really get a feel for how they want their food…I also love the interaction with the local farms and wineries…The farmers can explain much better than I how much love and effort it takes to make something grow!” She also adds that it allows her to be very creative and “…hopefully change some minds out there on food people would like to eat.”

Throughout the evening, selections from Pelican Ranch Winery were poured including Gewurtztraminer, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The wines were thoughtfully paired with various courses. Winery owner Phil and Peggy Crews were in attendance, and Phil shared a few facts about his Capitola winery and wines.

The produce featured in many dishes was from Santa Cruz’s Yellow Wall Farm, and owners Allen and Judy Rose Hasty were also at the event. Allen engaged the crowd with a couple anecdotes, and told attendees that although the farm mainly sells to restaurants and New Leaf Market, they do run a Saturday morning farm stand when the season really gets going later in the summer. Based on the freshness and flavors of the produce I tasted, I’ll be sure to seek that stand out. Chef Kirsten is a big fan: “Judy and Allen are true farmers in the sense that they care about everything that goes into the food they grow.  The earth, the plant, the product.  They are a great team that always has a smile and you can really tell that they love what they do!  We here at Chaminade have had a solid relationship with them for several years now and I always look forward to the time when they email to say what’s available.”

At the reception, there were four appetizers including strawberries stuffed with smoked blue cheese and pancetta. I’m going to try making this at home, knowing I won’t get a version quite like the one I tasted, but I was absolutely inspired by the blend of flavors and textures. And it’s perfect for right now when fresh organic strawberries abound in Santa Cruz. Chef Kirsten said it was actually Yellow Wall Farm’s current delectable crop of strawberries that helped inspire the stuffed strawberries, in addition to the gazpacho (which I’ll discuss soon). My other favorite appetizer at the reception was stuffed tempura squash blossoms. Absolutely perfect, these included goat cheese, basil, lemon zest and juice, and a light fritter batter.

At the sit-down dinner, our starter was a generous bowl of strawberry hazelnut gazpacho. It was incredible: creamy, and not too sweet. The Belle Farms olive oil and chive garnish complemented the soup beautifully, in terms of both taste and aesthetics. The first course of baby romaine with citrus avocado relish and third course of duck confit with Mediterranean cous cous were very pleasing, but I was even more taken with the second course. The baked ravioli (see photo at beginning of article) were served with a rich, wonderful medley of gourmet mushrooms – oyster, trumpet, shiitake, portabella, and cremini – and a savory tomato/herb Aurora Crème sauce. Dessert was the perfect finish, a honey mousse atop jasmine-scented cake, served with delicious raspberry dessert wine from Pelican Ranch.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.
The Details
Farm to Table Dinner Series
Monthly through October 2014: Selected Fridays at 6 p.m.

Courtyard Terrace at Chaminade Resort, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz 95065
(831) 475-5600
$80 per person

Tickets available for Friday’s debut Pino Alto Farm to Table Dinner in Aptos

Kabocha harvest at Santa Cruz's Yellow Wall Farm, featured at Nov. 1 Farm to Table dinner at Pino Alto

Kabocha harvest at Santa Cruz’s Yellow Wall Farm, featured at Nov. 1 Farm to Table dinner at Pino Alto

As of Tuesday Oct. 29, there were still tickets available for the Nov. 1, 2013 Farm to Table Dinner at Pino Alto at Cabrillo College.

Executive Chef Beverlie Terra, who was with Santa Cruz’s Chaminade Resort for more than 20 years, has moved to Cabrillo College where she is an instructor. She’s kicking off a series of Farm to Table dinners at Pino Alto Restaurant, much like the ones she founded at Chaminade. I was a guest at a 2012 Chaminade Farm to Table dinner and greatly enjoyed it. Terra is a talented, creative chef who knows how to utilize farm-fresh products.

The dinners will be on Friday evenings at Pino Alto, located at Sesnon House on the Cabrillo campus. The first one, November 1, features Guglielmo Wines and Santa Cruz’s Yellow Wall Farm. The second event on November 8 features wine from Burrell School and highlights Fiesta Farms. For reservations, call (831) 479-6524.

The cost is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity, and this includes a four-course gourmet dinner with wine pairings. A reception prior to dinner features wine and appetizers.

NOVEMBER 1 MENU
6-6:30 p.m. Reception
Appetizers

• Slow roast pork belly bites on sugared Apple
• Deviled Eggs with Sweet Pepper
• Fig and proscuito Canapes
• Wontons with pumpkin and sage
• Crab cakes with pepper aioli
• Pork rilettes with crostini

Wines: 2012 Guglielmo Pinot Grigio and 2010 Guglielmo Sangiovese

6:30 p.m. Dinner

First Course: Kabocha gnocchi with porcini cream

Wine: 2012 Guglielmo TRE Chardonnay

Second: Little gem lettuce with beets, squash, feta and pomegranate vinaigrette

Wine: 2012 Guglielmo TRE Pinot Noir

Third: Lamb chops with pumpkin risotto

Wine: 2008 Guglielmo TRE Syrah

Fourth: Warm apple crumble with persimmon ice cream

Wine: Guglielmo Sparkling Almond Champagne

Location: Sesnon House: 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos 95003

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.