Keep Calm and Drink Wine

Rosé, blush, bubbles, champs… the words conjure up images of decadence, fun and celebration! My romance with wine wasn’t love at first sight… it was a lengthy courtship of many sips and soirées. I am partial to white wines, effervescent pours and light reds… chardonnays were always too oaky or buttery and cabs were too robust and heady. I leaned towards crisp Pinot Grigio and the grassy, green, citrusy goodness of Sauvignon Blanc. Paired with seafood–the result is sublime.

After a bit of intellectual tasting and swirling, the noble Pinot Noir is my red of choice. This splendid, delicate, high maintenance grape is difficult to grow and thin-skinned–its aloofness is part of the appeal. The pale translucence of cranberry, cherry, and raspberry fragrance dancing in your glass lures you into the wine. Pinot Noir is ripe for sipping and a perfect dinner companion for yummy white pizzas, duck and seasonal Thanksgiving sweets and savories.

 

 

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!” I love the fruity-licious pageantry and tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau is a wonderful autumnal treat. Beaujolais nouveau is a purple-pink (gamay grape) wine, bottled only 6-8 weeks after harvest and is intended for immediate drinking. Due to its release date, the third Thursday in November, it is also a lovely pairing for turkey day.

All hail the pomp and circumstance of champagne. Bubbly is always the first r.s.v.p. to the season’s regalia in Palm Beach. Aside from brunching, holidays, and kudos– tray of bubbles is the quintessential welcome at all events, receptions, galas and divot stomping at polo outings.

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THEN, there is rosé. The allure of rosé is intoxicating without even taking a taste, it is more like a state of mind. Whether you call it rosé, rosato, or rosado, it’s summer’s most refreshing wine and the shades of pink, peach and salmon are a seduction of color. The primary flavors of rosé wine are red fruit, flowers, citrus, and melon, with a pleasant, crunchy, green flavor on the finish similar to celery or rhubarb. Divine. The promise of the “Provençal lifestyle” captured in a glass is perfect for sunset sipping, Sunday swirling or ideal as an aperitif paired with melon, prosciutto and figs or simply, as dessert. I love that the beauty of Palm Beach allows for continued enjoyment of rosé as the warm weather lingers long after the rest of the world says “au revoir” to summer.

In the words of Audrey Hepburn, “I believe in pink.” Cheers to looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.

Take a Field Trip to Swank Farms

Swank Specialty Produce represents the best of what southeast Florida ingredients are all about — bright vegetables, exquisite greens, and fragrant herbs. On Sunday, April 26, I traveled west to join one the best events in Palm Beach County–Swank Table in Loxahatchee Groves. This event has evolved quite a bit from its humble beginnings – now the feast is staged in the county’s largest outdoor dining room– a barn for about 300 guests. With Palm Beach as the social hub of the season—this was quite a feat or Fete?

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The drive is 50 miles of rural farmland and rugged, un-paved, dirt roads. But to arrive at Swank Farms is a celebration of all things fresh, lush and nutritious. Casual attire of jeans, sandals, sundresses, flats and boots, and wide brimmed hats deem this a true (vegetable) garden party.

Upon arrival to the farm, we were welcomed with a specialty cocktail from Buccan – the Matador. The vibrant cocktail of tequila, fresh red pepper and pineapple juices with lime and agave was cool and very refreshing on this excessively warm and humid afternoon. We toured the hydroponic growing houses and traveled along nibbled and noshed on shrimp ceviche shooters plus a Bento Box of treats and then we “planted ourselves” at the table for the al fresco dinner. We were seated at long, farm house tables with white cloths, gleaming glassware and freshly picked floral centerpieces.

Together with the best of boutique farmers, ranchers, artisanal producers, micro-brewers, and organic wine makers, chefs from five different local restaurants put on a culinary feast for their closest foodie-friends – family style seating.

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Swank Farms provided all the participating chefs with a veritable “garden pantry” of ingredients to choose from when creating their menus. The seasonal options include: Beets, Carrots, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Broccoli and Radishes, plus a variety of greens: Lettuce, Baby Kale, Leeks, Shallots, Beet Greens, Pea Greens, Escarole, Arugula and Dandelion.

In true epicurean manner, local chefs embraced these glorious ingredients and created a dinner masterpiece where we indulged from one course to the next. Giant platters of steaming, flavorful vegetables, bowls of soups and savory sides and as this was the “Meat Lovers” dinner—massive butcher blocks of delicious meats and beef.

Each Swank Table event will give back to the community by donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities; along with the Palm Beach Food and Wine festival, this event will benefited Food for the Poor.

Join Swank “down on the farm” and local chefs will orchestrate a memorable feast that will delight the palate and enliven the spirit. It is a true celebration of life and food. The pink and lavender sunset across the treetops and gardens was a magical dessert course. This event couldn’t be more delicious!

Dinner price is $160 per person (all inclusive) and reservations are required. Swank Farms Specialty Produce, 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee, Florida 33470. Next season’s schedule is already visit http://www.swankspecialtyproduce.com/ for details and ticket sales.