A dinner in a beautiful field has always been something I wanted to do. So last week Morry and I and 4 friends who share love of great food and nature joined 154 others at Allandale Farm . A wonderful farmer, a terrific chef, a beautiful late summer landscape on a curving table. Allandale is 100 acres of the last working farm in Boston. Chef Tony Maws and Team of Craigie on Main in Cambridge, created the menu. Tony was there cooking and directing the magnificent outcome.
Jim, the founder, shared his vision of the group Outstanding in the Field. “I thought a big table, carefully composed alongside the ingredients for the evening’s feast would inspire both a conversation at the table and a broader discussion about food, community and the meaning of place. A traveling feast with a central vision of farmers, chefs, cheese makers, ranchers, foragers and winemakers in delicious communion with the people they sustain. It would be a terrific challenge to bring this message to the field and to the world — it would also be a lot of fun and adventure.”
John, who has worked Allandale Farm for 30 years to preserve this land for three generations and more to come, shared his passion for the food he produces and the sustainability of a farm in the city. He has a camp for kids in the summer and what they do is play in the dirt. No sports, just fun in the fields.
Chef Tony, was a gracious host, described the courses and wine parings. His humility showed through even though he has won numerous awards. His gift to all of us was a shaker of his own Moroccan Rub. A combination of cinnamon, cumin, Aleppo pepper, dried thyme, ginger powder, sweet paprika, dried garlic. Yum.
Next course was mixed grill: quail, shrimp, chorizo, corn polenta, grilled greens and green chile sauce. (sorry no picture…too busy eating_)
Pio is 80 years old and provides Tony and other chefs the most magnificent berries. We heard his stories. A perfectionist artisan for berries. The chantilly made by soaking cream overnight with tarragon, lemon thyme, verbena, and thai basil. Strain and whip before serving. Delicious.
Yes there was a first course…lobster salad with fresh herbs, homemade chorizo with red pepper jam, Ascent Mountain cheese and pickle relish, smoked Chatham bluefish rilettes with green aioli…I might have been too busy talking.
Next stop was Little Compton when next day my friend Sally, architect for the store, called me to say she sat next to a couple I know who owns a store and is brother to my friend Barb in Plymouth…small world. Is it six degrees of separation or is just that we who love food and love to learn and experience the best flavors somehow find each other?
Want to join us next year? Or maybe we should all meet in Napa!