Tarara's "Fine Vine" Showcases Local Food and Wine
Area restaurants and wineries combine to celebrate the bounty of LoCo and the surrounding region.
Guests enjoyed a sumptuous five-course meal and wine pairings that highlighted the vibrant local food scene in and around Loudoun County. Tarara teamed with chefs from The Wine Kitchen and Mom's Apple Pie Company in Leesburg, including Clyde's Willowcreek Farm (Ashburn), The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (Lovettsville), Iron Bridge Wine Company (Warrenton), as well as wineries at 8 Chains North and Delaplane Cellars, all selected based on their commitment to using locally sourced food and drink.
"Fine Vine, to me, is all about showcasing the bounty we have here in Northern Virginia, and pushing the local culinary scene as well as these fabulous local wines that we have," said Jordan Harris, head winemaker and general manager at Tarara. "We're trying to team up with some of the restaurants that we think are best showcasing the local farmers and really putting that on a plate and putting it with some of our great friends, the other local wineries around us."
The smell of wood fired grills greeted those that filtered into Tarara's Lakeside Pavilion, which was adorned with all of the accoutrements of an upscale eatery for the event. As friends and strangers mingled over a selection of local artisan cheeses and charcouterie, winery staff poured glasses of Tarara's soon-to-be-released 2011 Viognier Reserve and 2010 Boneyard Red. Meanwhile, chefs from the local restaurants toiled away in their makeshift outdoor kitchens, creating a scene reminiscent of the Iron Chef.
"We were stressing because we were coming down to our last 15 to 20 plates, and we had to adjust on the fly," said Chef Jeffrey Quesada of Iron Bridge, who had to balance the presentation of his duck confit with oranges, walnuts and watercress for the large crowd, "Luckily, it all came out pretty awesome."
If the stress of the moment was going to affect anyone, it could have been Chef Christopher Edwards of Patowmack Farms, whose suckling pig with chili verde, tomatillo, and corriander spiced pork rind was the first course for the hungry crowd. But even as tended two wood fired grills — one smoking and grilling pork, the other warming the chili verde — Edwards made time to reflect on the event and its importance.
"For me, the greatest thing about this event is where it's held. I love Tarara Winery, I love all the people we work with here,” he said. “I'm happy they have this beautiful place to hold this event. I trust all the chefs in this town, and I'm just happy to be invited to this event."
Those in attendance were also happy that Edwards was invited, as they scarfed down his delectable pork offering that was smartly paired with Tarara's 2010 Three Vineyards Chardonnay, its slight buttery overtones perfectly accentuating the subtle smokiness of Edwards' artfully presented pig.
As the afternoon progressed, Fine Vine diners were treated to other local delicacies such as Clyde's "Duo of Lamb," The Wine Kitchen's stuffed quail, and butter-crusted pumpkin tarts from Mom's Apple Pie, all teamed with locally grown and bottled wines from Tarara, 8 Chains North, and Delaplane Cellars.
"I thought everything we [ate] was like being at a four or five star restaurant," said David Hankel, who attended the event with Sara Colangelo, a self-professed Virginia wine aficianado.
"We had a wonderful time. The event overall was really well run, the [food and wine] pairings were very well thought out," Colangelo said.
Even though it would have been easy for those attending to get lost in the pure deliciousness of the event, diners did not lose sight of the goal of the evening: to show off all that Loudoun County has to offer in a competitive food and drink marketplace.
"That's what's cool about this area. They all work together, help each other out, it's not us against them," said Doug Smith, who along with his wife Trish, raved about the pork from Patowmack Farm and The Wine Kitchen's stuffed quail, as well as all of the local wines.
The chefs, winemakers and farmers who participated in the event shared in the Smiths' sentiment, and were pleased with the large turnout for the event.
"[Fine Vine] is about educating people about the rural economy we have here in Loudoun County, and that's why I love working with Chef Edwards and Patowmack Farm," said Patrick Ryan of Lo'Doun Farms, who supplied the pork for Patowmack's opening course. "Every ingredient has been thoughtfully sourced. I can be a pain in the butt when I go out to restaurants. I like to ask many questions about the food, because I raise food, so it is important for me to know that the people that are serving me the food care as much about the food as I do about the food I raise."
To see the full Fine Vine menu, click here.
Interested in attending next year's Fine Vine event? Contact Tarara Winery.