You couldn’t get any farther from fast food than Slow Food Utah. These folks abhor fast food and everything it stands for. Slow Food Utah is a nonprofit, member-supported spinoff of the international Slow Food association originally founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986. Petrini and his eco-gastronomic followers are dedicated to defending the biodiversity of our food supply and to “reawakening and training the senses”—that is, to discovering the joys of food and helping to understand where that food comes from and how it’s made and to connecting with local food producers and growers. In other words, you’re not going to find a Bolivian peach on the table of a Slow Food Utah event. Slow Foodies strive to eat locally. At last week’s fourth annual Feast of the Five Senses fund-raiser dinner in Park City, Slow Food Utah teamed with Local First Utah and area chefs and food purveyors to create a truly unique and convivial evening of formidable food and drink.
The feast—held in the gorgeous, natural setting of Copper Moose Farm—kicked off with a short, entertaining introduction by Park City Mayor Dana Williams, who reminded the crowd that Park City actually has created a Department of Sustainability. How cool is that? Steven Rosenberg, Liberty Heights Fresh CEO (Chief Eating Officer) had supplied delectable finger foods to nibble on while we mingled and toured the farm, sipping Squatters Polygamy Porter and Adami Garbel Prosecco in the early evening sun.
Three appetizers were prepared by Liberty Heights’ Matt Wilson and Ria Barbosa. First up was crostini with organic Black Mission figs on top of locally produced Shepherd’s Chèvre, spritzed with Clifford Farm honey that was infused with lavender blossoms from the LHF kitchen garden. A second, remarkably fresh tasting summer appetizer was skewered cucurbit (Armenian variety cucumber) from the LHF garden, ripe red tomato grown by Carlos Chavez, and Green River watermelon produced by Chris Dunham, all garnished with fresh spearmint, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and Hawaiian pink sea salt. For the starter finale, if that’s not too much of a contradiction, Steven served up crostini with Beehive “Seahive” cheddar (cheddar bathed in local honey, then rubbed with Redmond salt from the ancient sea in central Utah), organic golden raspberries, fresh chervil and honey balsamic. You can just imagine how these spectacular finger foods tantalized the senses.
Everyone working the Feast of the Five Senses volunteered, from the chefs doing the cooking on portable camp stoves to the servers, who included Salt Lake Tribune restaurant critic Vanessa Chang and Grand America executive pastry chef Kurtis Baguley. Everyone did a bang-up job, and I felt a slight pang of guilt that I was consuming, rather than helping out. But then had I not been doing what I do best—eating and drinking—how could I tell you about Chez Betty chef Jerry Garcia’s terrific panzanella, made with his own freshly baked focaccia, Chez Betty’s garden basil and fresh mozzarella from Copper Moose Farm? Paired with Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine Pinot Noir, not a single morsel of Garcia’s panzanella went uneaten at our table.
As you know from my column two weeks ago about the dining venues at Miller Motorsports Park, I’m somewhat of a motorhead myself. As it turns out, so is chef Jerry Garcia. He races Ducati motorcycles at the Motorsports Park (so does Panda Bear Racing’s Brad Moore, sponsored by City Weekly and Piper Down, by the way). “Get me started talking about racing and I might not stop,” warned Garcia.
He was right. We chatted about fast cars and bikes right through the course of summer squash gratin with Utah corn vinaigrette. It was the creation of Colton Soelberg and Joseph McRae, owners/chefs of Pizzeria 712 in Orem. Sorry I missed it, but I sure enjoyed chatting about speed with Garcia.
I scurried back to my table just in time for Greg Neville’s (Lugäno) stupendous goat cheese agnolotti with organic greens and green zebra heirloom tomatoes from Bell Farms. I considered elbowing my way to the last remnant of Greg’s awesome agnolotti until I remembered that the nice couple to my right were top-notch athletes—steeplechase and marathon runners from Ogden. Given their body fat ratio to mine, I decided not to mess with them.
Bambara’s Dave Jones rocked the dining tent with his Morgan Valley lamb, braised in Squatters Organic Amber Ale and served with Beehive habañero cheddar barley risotto, East Farms corn milk, Cox Honey and roasted blackberries. Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds, especially paired with Clos Mimi “Petite Rousse” Syrah. Even Morgan Valley Lamb’s Jamie Gillmor gave the dish a thumbs-up.
By the time Aimee Altizer (Talisker) and Amber Billingsley’s (Farina Cakes) dessert arrived, the sun was long gone and shawls and wraps had come out to protect against the chilly night air. The talented dessert chefs teamed up to produce Hendrick’s cucumber sorbet with rose syrup, Butter sage baby cakes with lemon verbena cream and vanilla bean-glazed summer fruit paired with Saracco Moscato D’Asti.
Feast of Five senses? It felt to me more like a dozen. I strongly urge you to delve further into the Slow Food and Local First organizations. You really don’t want to miss their next delicious shindig.
LOCAL FIRST UTAH LocalFirst.org
SLOW FOOD UTAH SlowFoodUtah.org