Saturday, April 19, 2008
It reminds me of early mornings in Manhattan’s Central Park. The gathering of runners and cyclers challenging the undulating hills as the sun awakens over the eastern skyline. Certainly, many doubters would shrug their shoulders and question the validity of being out of bed at that hour, but there is an indescribable energy, a feeling of wellness and good health that permeates the park and its devoted users.There was a similar aura of healthiness at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York’s luncheon and panel discussion at Gustavino’s on Monday, April 14. The event, entitled “Organic Food from Farm to Family” was a presentation by NOFA to encourage and support organic farming in New York State. Christie Brinkley chaired the event and was among some of the several speakers present. There was excitement in the air as the restaurant filled with “true believers” in organics. That same indescribable energy of good health and wellness filled the room like a flood of good karma.
Some of the subjects discussed included:
- the toxicity of conventionally produced food
- carbon foot printing of food transportation
- the environmental benefits of organic farming
- the impact of diet on children
- eating for good health
The good flavor of organically grown food was not left out of the discussion, and was further reinforced by our delicious vegetarian lunch created by chef John Stevenson. Lunch consisted of a roasted beet salad with whipped goat cheese and petite greens followed by a vegetable Vol au Vent of Jerusalem artichokes, roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and swiss chard. Dessert, as immoral as that may sound in the early afternoon, was a delicious sour cream coffee cake with preserved blueberries and Chantilly cream. Needless to say, everything was made from organic ingredients from New York State.Of course, lunch was not served without wine, which was generously supplied by organically farmed Heller Estate of Carmel Valley, Monterey. Henry Heller and his wife, Leila were joined by his mother and father, Toby and Gilbert. Heller Estate wines are made from dry farmed grapes grown 1200 to 1500 feet above sea level. Temperatures at this elevation swing from hot in the day to cool at night which allows the grapes to develop deeply complex aromas and flavors. Of course, organic farming brings about a vast array of complexities and nuances not often found in conventionally farmed vineyards, and The Heller Estate Chardonnay and Cachagua Cabernet Sauvignon were no exception. The creamy textures 2006 Chardonnay ($19.99 sku #212502) had a gorgeous mouth feel with good acidity and plenty of minerally notes. The 2004 Cachagua, a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Merlot ($19.99 sku #14982) exhaled beautiful dark fruit aromas with earthy nuances, juicy vibrancy of fruit and smooth, elegant tannins.
Also available from Heller Estate:2006 Chenin Blanc ($29.99 sku #26031) 2003 Merlot ($29.99 sku #16652) 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon 100% ($35.99 sku #22184)
Half Bottles of 2003 Cachagua ($12.99 sku #202234)Until next time Bart Hopkins 4/19/2008