Sunday, February 13, 2011

New Leaf Market: Fine Wine & Gourmet Food Sampler

This past Saturday, New Leaf Market hosted its first fine wine and food festival. The event was held not only showcase the variety of expertise of their chefs, but also benefit a local elementary school.

The evening began with raw appetizers. The first selection was a raw vegetable wrap.

Vegetable & Cheese Bruschetta

Raw Pesto on Toasted Bread

Soy-based Balsamic Vegetable Dip

Fresh Herb Couscous

Although New Leaf Market has been the area's best co-op for over 30 years, it has recently expanded its offerings to include a gourmet deli and catering branch, as well as refine their wine selection, among other helpful modernizations.

The Seafood Course: Alaskan Pollock with Capers & Fresh Lemon Wedges

Dill Crusted Salmon

Salmon Cakes - My 3rd favorite of the evening.

This rapid expansion may have been missed, even by its most dedicated of customers. The event, only $15 (with $5 of each ticket benefiting the local school), displayed the assortment of delectable dishes available from their creative chefs, as well as offer a generous wine tasting from their expanded selections.

The Pork Course: Marinated Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

Savory Bacon & Onion Tarts

Southwestern Pulled Pork Shoulder - My favorite of the evening.

The market filled up quickly as the patrons were eager to get started. As soon as the clock struck 7:00pm, the food and wine started pouring - literally.

Chicken Salad Puff - My 2nd favorite.

The chefs were hardly able to make their way out of the kitchen before their trays of goodies were obliterated. Hands were reaching from every direction, as people were touching elbows from the mass of people in the organized chaos.

The Dessert Course: Candied Orange Rinds in Orange Marmalade on Shortbread Cookies with Whipped Cream. Not Photoed: Blackberry Reduction Over Shortbread Cookies with Whipped Cream.

Key Lime Pie Tarts
Chocolate Sandwich Shortbread Cookies
I attempted to get the best photos possible, but sometimes only three pieces were left on the trays by the time I moved the camera up to take a shot. One of the head chefs must have known what I was up to, as she snuck me back into the kitchen for a few nice shots of the trays before they brought them out. I think a few of the patrons thought I was attempting to sneak food when I came back out from the kitchen, but I pointed to my camera and they nodded in approval.

The Cheese Course: Sweet Grass Dairy Soft Cheeses

Highlight of the Event: Opening an 80 lb. wheel of Parmesan Reggiano from Italy.

One person holds the wheel, while the other wedges it open after slicing the rind.

Splitting it open.

Creamy perfection. The cheese had been aged since 2008.

If I was happy at seeing everyone enjoying the food and wine, New Leaf must have been ecstatic! I told them I needed to find an excuse the throw a party just so I could eat this much of their food again in one sitting.

One of my purchases from the event.

I chose to purchase an Italian sparkling wine by Mondoro and a German Riesling by bl├╝feld, the most popular of the evening. I also found two French Chardonnays and a Merlot to enjoy the next time I host book club.

Every morsel of food and each sip of wine was absolutely delicious. I am a very lucky person to have such a sophisticated organic market in a petite Southern town. Thank you to New Leaf Market for hosting such a lovely evening!