100Mile Makers

supporting local, seasonal, mission-driven makers

Butcher/Baker/Farmer #1 Tasting Notes

This all started with Eidolon and Burrata. Two cheeses that I have been obsessed with all summer and two cheeses that, each time I arrived at the cheese case and promised myself I would try something new, I kept going back to - they were my habit, my comfort. And yet, their 'sisters' - Mozzarella and Prufrock - sat there in the cold case, calling my name, beckoning me to them, like the Sirens calling to Odysseus. Rather than cave, I decided a tasting was in order and since I surely couldn't eat all that cheese on my own, perhaps it would be better as a party and once it became a party, I needed more than just cheese and then all of a sudden, all the things that I wonder about how they taste and how they differ from each other - honey, meats, cookies, apples -  had to be a part of this party.  So that is how this began and below are our thoughts on and other's thoughts on how it went: comments, notes, the things we said and the things we didn't have time to say. All of this recorded in an effort to put the information out there for those who want to know more about local and learn more about the food we are eating.

#1 Cheese-Honey-Apple Course

Trio of Vineyard cheeses, late-season apples and duo of Nantucket Honeys
Mulled Cider with a splash of Bourbon

For the first time, watching Claudia masterfully simmer the cider with her own mulling spices, I realized mulled cider is a slow, patient process of love. Claudia had the cider simmering for almost two hours - about 2 hours longer than I have ever mulled my cider and what a difference it made. Being in the kitchen with Claudia, Leah and Dylan was an opportunity to watch passionate craftspeople in action - plates carefully selected for each course, punchbowls pre-warmed and then wrapped in blankets, cheese and apples artfully placed - all the details accounted for.

Grey Barn Farm, from the Vineyard, supplied us with the three cheeses:

  Eidolon  - a bright, grassy cheese that smells of freshly tilled earth and has a creamy layer topping its dense cake like center. It is a young, bloomy rind cheese made in a classic French style with delicate mold growth on the surface and a center that is rich and milky. 

Eidolon - a bright, grassy cheese that smells of freshly tilled earth and has a creamy layer topping its dense cake like center. It is a young, bloomy rind cheese made in a classic French style with delicate mold growth on the surface and a center that is rich and milky. 

  Prufrock  - Toasty and nutty with hints of tropical fruit and sour cream: when ripe this cheese has a slightly salty and savory flavor. Its delectable texture melts on your tongue.

Prufrock - Toasty and nutty with hints of tropical fruit and sour cream: when ripe this cheese has a slightly salty and savory flavor. Its delectable texture melts on your tongue.

  Bluebird  - moderate blue veins are “like a wistful note from out of the sky” or so John Burrows, author of its namesake, might describe it. A mature Bluebird is pleasantly salty with something lurking below. At times it boasts strong yeast notes like a good sourdough or the grounded flavors of green veggies. The aroma of Bluebird brings thoughts of summer - of mowed lawns and the scent of sun and salt on your skin.

Bluebird - moderate blue veins are “like a wistful note from out of the sky” or so John Burrows, author of its namesake, might describe it. A mature Bluebird is pleasantly salty with something lurking below. At times it boasts strong yeast notes like a good sourdough or the grounded flavors of green veggies. The aroma of Bluebird brings thoughts of summer - of mowed lawns and the scent of sun and salt on your skin.

 

Wild Pear and Lavender Jam was brought in at the last minute by Teddy, owner of Nantucket Jams, and it served as the perfect accompaniment to the cheese with a delicate lavender note.

Fraise de Bois - These were the little gems of strawberries that perhaps you thought were unripe. Rather, they are one of the more unusual varietes of strawberries, missing from our palettes because they don't ship well. Dylan grew a 'yellow' variety and for those who were brave enough to eat the garnish you may have had your own transcendtal moment:

"...strawberries don’t have to taste like vaguely strawberry-scented air. They can be transcendent. You just have to pick the right ones."                                              
                                                                         - Modern Farmer, July 2016

    Apples, apples, apples.  So many wonderful memories of apple picking in Upstate New York every autumn in my wool sweater and corduroys, each stop on the haywagon a different apple - the must-haves were the Northern Spy, the Jonah Gold and Empire. To me, this is one of the most stark losses in a network of food where things need to be bought in bulk and grown for shipping rather than flavor. It is so rare that we see any of these varieties in our stores. They have been replaced by mealy-Macintosh and Fuji's who somehow hide their bruises until you bite into them.  But, we are lucky enough that Bartlett's Farm gets in Massachusetts apples from Carlson Orchards in Harvard, MA. Although the season was getting a little late, the Empire, Northern Spy and Gala were still available and ready for tasting.

    Empire - crisp, sweet and tart all around apple

    Gala - sweet and floral snacking apple

    Northern Spy - juicy, a bit tart but with a more cider-quality and hints of pear. Great all around apple, late-season and stores well

    Ambrosia's mulled spices, which are available at their shop, were perfect with the Nor-Easter Bourbon from Triple 8 and the Carlson Orchards Cider. 

    #2 Burrata v Mozzarella

    Two beautiful cheeses served with greens and topped with Chive Blossom Vinegar Dressing

    Anything, I would give anything to have an opportunity/excuse to eat mozzarella and burrata side by side - hence course #2 where cheese lovers were spoiled by Elizabeth Hitchcock's (Gioia) classic semi-soft italian cheeses.
    Both of Gioia's cheeses are hand pulled and are fresh cheeses as opposed to aged.
    Mozzarella has a 'delicate, milky flavor'.  - the kitchn
    Burrata is 'has a solid outer curd made from mozzarella, which is formed into a hollow pouch, then filled with a soft, stringy curd and fresh cream.' -the kitchn

     photo from  the kitchn

    photo from the kitchn

    2 Friends Farm Microgreens come in several different mixes and are available at Bartlett's. Microgreens are beautiful as garnishes but also additions to smoothies or as a salad on their own. Many microgreens provide a potent yet delicate version of their more mature counterparts. They are a great way to eat greens and get good nutrition even in the dead of winter as they grow year-round.

    The chive blossom vinegar from Ambrosia with a bit olive oil and rose sea salt is both beautiful and delicious as a simple dressing.

    The beautiful salad greens, pea shoots and radishes all came from the Community Farm Institute which is still quite productive at the moment. The CFI is an incubator farm run by Sustainable Nantucket. New farmers are given 3 to 5 years to learn not only how to grow and what to grow but how to work with chefs and consumers. If these farmers are successful after the incubation period they will have an opportunity to move onto a larger plot, provided by the Land Council. Getting our hands on more of the beautiful produce from the CFI is something we can all discuss with Michelle from Sustainable Nantucket.

    Cisco has started doing ciders and actually has 3 different types at the moment: dry, semi-dry and extra-dry. The apples they use are coming from Western MA and with three different levels of sweetness to choose from there is a cider fro everyone.

    #3 Two Squash Course

    Amber Cup puree and roasted Carnival Squash topped with toasted Vadouvan Curry-Wild Nantucket Filberts

    Amber Cup puree and roasted Carnival Squash topped with toasted Vadouvan Curry-Wild Nantucket Filberts

    Wild Filberts are smaller and harder to husk than the cultivated filberts we are more accustomed to (aka hazelnuts). As we begin to re-cultivate our connections with our foods, appreciating the people finding them (aka Dylan) and appreciating every bite of these labor-intensive foods that often cannot be bought, is uber-important.

    Dylan very lightly toasted these filberts in Ambrosia's Vadouvan Curry. The Vadouvan Curry is  French derivative of a Masala blend whose flavor is made distinct by caramelized shallots and onions. 

    Amber Cup
    'A relative of the buttercup squash that resembles a small pumpkin with orange skin.  Bright orange flesh has a dry sweet taste.  Peel it, cube the flesh, roast it, and serve like cut-up sweet potatoes.

    Great texture with no stringyness, is a sweet mild flavor, and is a gorgeous color. Has an extraordinarily long storage life.'
    Great for soups.
    Season: June-Nov

    Carnival 
    'Cream colored with orange spots or pale green with dark green spots in vertical stripes.  Carnival Squash have hard, thick skins and only the flesh is eaten.  It is sometimes labeled as a type of acorn squash.

    The delicious yellow meat is reminiscent of sweet potatoes and butternut squash and can be baked or steamed then combined with butter and fresh herbs.  Also great in soups.

    The Nantucket Vineyard Chardonnay served with this course was a real hit. It is a French style Chardonnay so has a light but full flavor.

    #4      MEAT AND 7 VEG

    Herbed Roast Beef and Spicy Italian Sausage with Sautéed Greens and Roasted Roots

    Weatherlow Farm's spicy sausage and beef were the stars of this course. Weatherlow Farms, in Westport MA, is a new farm with a wise-old approach to farming.

    Our Mission is to be a steward of the land. To heal and nurture with the highest level of animal husbandry and agricultural practice.

    Our “eco-organic”, biological farming practices allow us to honor the special link between soil health, animal health and human health.

    Weatherlow has beef, poultry, goat, pork and cut flowers. They deliver to our island once/month. Read more about them here.

    The Rantum Scoot is one of Cisco's Reserve Series and happens to be one of my favorites although beware as it is potent as well as delicious. The flavor is smooth, not too hoppy and easy to drink.

    If you are a black tea fan you MUST head to Ambrosia and try one of Claudia's black tea selections. You haven't tasted real tea until you have tried on of her beautiful black tea blends. The Assam, which is the base for many English Breakfast Teas, was the one we tasted. I would also recommend the Temi to real black tea lovers.

    #5      dessert at last

    Toffee, Honey-Walnut, Chocolate Bark, Chipotle Pepita Brittle, Russian Teacakes

    This course really speaks for itself.  It is impossible to have highlights when everything was so beautiful. 

    Dylan and Claudia pulled out all the stops on this beautiful dessert plate of treats from Small Town Girl, Ambrosia and Lark.

    Just a note to keep in mind: Cookies from Lark have a season. Enjoy your Russian Teacakes all winter as they will be out of season come the warmer months. What I really love about this is that Lark has made the decision not to send their goods in refrigerated vehicles - one big decision for a small business, one small step towards a more sustainable food system. Thank you Lark...

    Lastly, the Rooibos Chai must be mentioned as Ambrosia has basically taken two of the best teas out there and combined them for a spicy, naturally sweet blend that you can't overbrew. Rooibos, by the way, is a tea that comes from a very specific plant that will only grow in a certain area of South Africa - another food item to cherish every sip and every tea leaf as it's not easy being a Rooibos farmer.

    Supporting local, seasonal, mission-driven food and small producers on Nantucket and beyond since 2016.