attended the 1st Annual Farm to Fork event in Naperville, Illinois, (www.farmtofork.com
) at the McDonald Farm, with the initial intention of enjoying a delicious 6-course meal prepared by Top Chef contender and Chicago native, Valerie Bolon, and see what local companies could offer brides who were looking for an alternative to current menu offerings. Instead, I was drawn into the tour of the farm,
the conversation with the vendors, and the 4-hour conversations, (new friendships were made) with other foodies. There was also a bridal party there renewing their vows which lent itself to the initial reason for my visit.
We were given a tour of the farm and were invited to pick (and eat!) as many cherry tomatoes that we would like (though I didn’t want spoil my dinner!). The taste was delicious and I couldn’t wait until dinner was served. Everything tasted so good! This is how food is supposed to taste: flavorful and delicious.
The 6-course meal was served in lighted tents with tables set in rows and served family style. On the menu:
• Puff Pastry with Tomato Jam and Fresh Cow Cheese Quark (served as an appetizer before dinner)
• Apple and Onion Soup with Gruyere Croutons and Crispy Bacon (it was like eating warmed applesauce with a hint of onion.
The Gruyere croutons and crispy bacon cut the sweetness).
• Arugula, Pickled Cucumber, Radishes, Evalon Goat Cheese and Pepitas
• Roasted Beet, Eggplant and Fennel with Mixed Pears and Creamed Tatsoi (think creamed spinach – this course was delicious!)
• Honey-Roasted Pork with Candied Jalapeno Squash (a Top Chef recipe)
• Brown Butter Berry Tart with Honey Basil Yogurt and Balsamic Caramel (I could have had another piece. The Honey Ba sil Yogurt was the perfect complement to the berry tart.)
For those who ordered wine with their dinner, they were offered a different wine with each course of their meal. The Executive Chef specifically paired each course with the wines from Chateau Chantal (www.chateauchantal.com
) from Traverse City, Michigan. For those guests who decided on a local brew, they were able to enjoy a special beer made by Two Brothers Brewing Company (www.twobrosbeer.com
) from nearby Warrenville, Illinois. As we were enjoying each course, each one of the vendors came in to give a brief talk about their business, what product they provided to complement each course, and answer any questions from guests.
Quite simply, the meal was absolutely delicious. To taste fresh-grown vegetables that we picked the previous day and used in our dinner was incomparable. You cannot replicate this menu with anything that was shipped or imported. We did not need dressing on our salad or butter on our bread. You could taste the nuttiness of the arugula with the blend of the fresh radishes and thinly-sliced pieces of cheese.
Bridal couples, as you consider your wedding menu, consider locally-grown menus for the season of your wedding. You will not be disappointed and neither will your guests.
Look forward to working with you – Patricia Basche, Associate Consultant