fiddlehead definition

fid·dle·head [ fídd'l hèd ] (plural fid·dle·heads) noun
Definition: edible fern shoot: the coiled frond of a young fern, often cooked and eaten as a delicacy

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kudzu Supper Club and The Perennial Plate

Kudzu Supper Club brings together growers, patrons and chefs to celebrate the sustainable farms of Georgia. Add wine to the mix and an incredible evening of enlightenment and exploration ensues. I had the priviledge of attending one of the unforgettable dinners on October 9th, 2011.

Close to the event date, the secret location was emailed to the guest list along with directions. On Sunday afternoon we set forth to Burge Plantation in Madison, Georgia for an experience I will not soon forget.The drive to the dinner spot was breathtaking, so removed from the city that I felt transported into another time. It was very easy to settle down and relax in this atmosphere.  Out of the car, I was instantly greeted by Kudzu founders, Brady Lowe and Cory Mosser and introduced to Daniel Klein of The Perennial Plate. Unlike a usual dinner party, these type of gatherings are always much more approachable.  Must be something about a shared purpose or simply a love of food but I felt comfortable around everyone and made fast friends with those around me.Chefs, farmers and diners mingled in the spirit which this enterprise had intended. I don't want to get sappy, but it was a beautiful thing.

I had only been out of the car for a minute before Brady placed a glass of Riesling in my hand. See? Good people. Loved this Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Washington State Riesling--apple/apricotty with a zing finish.
 The reception began with a welcome from Brady, a selection of local cheeses, and a bucket of chicharrones and kale chips. I had to physically separate myself from the bucket of goodness.

Made my way to the fire to take in the smells (and maybe a bit of bourbon). Delighted to find Chef Nick Melvin (Rosebud) and Chef Shane Devereux ( The Sound Table, Top Flr)manning the coals.  Wanted to scoop this simmering lamb into my mouth.

This was my view from the fire. Dreamy, isn't it?

At the fire I had the first of many of these--Nick's sea salt skewers with seared lardo and padron peppers. Perfection.
Everyone took their seats at the table. Mine was on the side looking down over the lake. Artisan bread was passed along with charred elephant garlic and olive oil to schmear. We also had jars of pickled goodies to sample. I made sure my seat was near Nick Melvin's pickled carrots and pickled beets. They are legendary.

Head and trotters terrine. Nom Nom.We also had incredible lamb pate in jars but we enjoyed them quicker than I could snap a photo.

I loved the joyful tablescapes of happy Burge Farm veggies. The first course continued with a salad of baby farm greens and winter radishes. Food tastes infinitely better when it has just been harvested and eaten on the dirt it was grown within.
Scholium Project Naucratis 2009
Second course begins with more crusty bread that will soon be sopping up the most flavorful broth I have ever tasted. (really) Daniel Klein of the Perennial Plate prepared a Gum Creek Farms whole lamb with Indian Organics foraged edibles. I don't think I took a photo of this dish, mostly because I was agasp at how lovely it looked, smelled and tasted. It was so layered with different flavors and textures. Knowing that the whole lamb was used and hearing the tale of foraging the woods on the property for edibles furthered my love for it. Honestly, there was not a drop left in my bowl.
Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Noir 2008-perfect with lamb and pork. Tasted of cherries.
Buttermilk sorbet intermezzo. Loved the pickled watermelon rind.
Chef Nick Melvin describing the experience and getting us excited about our third course (s). He puts love into his food. You can't do anything but smile and feel good when he talks about sustainable, local ingredients and heritage pork.  He is a maestro.
I neglected to snap more photos of our meal but don't regret it. I was having such a great time meeting the people at our family-style table and savoring each delicious bite. This photo is of my neighbor's plate after he had already dug in.  We had plancha crisped sausage (made by Nick) and nardello peppers--yowza, so good.  Next up, dry-aged, Gum Creek Farms pork scallops. I think Nick mentioned that they were sou vide which made me realize how much effort had been put into this dinner.  He must have been up all night. The "scallops" were perfectly cooked (again, amazing for being outside on a farm) and packed full of flavor from both the heritage pig and the pesto. On the side, but certainly able to stand on their own, were Burge organic spiced greens and a hash of local apples, sweet potatoes and roasted poblanos.  Spray bottles of potlikker were on the table for the greens. SPRAY BOTTLES OF POTLIKKER!
Dessert course blew my mind. This is a candied bacon and fresh creme Sticky Piggy Pudding. Sweet and salty and creamy. It was both decadent and comfort food at the same time. I could have eaten 4 of them.

A parting shot at the end of a meaningful evening. Tommy Searcy of Gum Creek Farms, Nick Melvin of Rosebud, Brady Lowe of Taste Network and smiling Cory Mosser of Burge Organic Farm. Taking a quote from Steve Jobs, "And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work." This group of men, Daniel Klein of The Perennial Plate included, believe in and love what they do and it shows. This was such a great collaboration of good and I was ecstatic to be a part of it. I would dine like this weekly if the opportunity arose. I don't really feel adept at putting the atmosphere into words but being surrounded by happy chefs, farmers, meat magicians (Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market was there as well), wine enthusiasts, foragers and adventurous diners all bent on a sustainable taste experience was intoxicating.