Farm to Fork Frederick menu, living off the land
Have you been wondering in what exotic, dangerous and forbidden corners of the world the intrepid, courageous and novelty seeking exploration team of Beans in the Belfry has gone to in search of
something to excite the sophisticated and somewhat blasé palates of its fiercely loyal patrons for our annual Farm to Fork Celebration?
If you have, you must be thinking of some other “Beans in The Belfry”!
The whole point of “F to F” is, of course, to bring fresh, locally sourced dishes (and glasses) to you offering something just a little different for the 11 day experience, from Friday, August 28, to Laborday, Monday, September 7.
We are just back from a relatively leisurely tour of several of our local suppliers. Cider Works, our hard cider supplier who participated in F to F last year, Orchid Vineyards Meadery (as in Mead, not meat) for an interesting new choice for our wine menu, Mead, and Caprikorn farms which supplies us for the first time this year with goat cheese for Melanie’s own fantastic Chevre Quiche.
They would have delivered their products to us but it seemed part of the F to F spirit to actually visit the sources of our delicious local ingredients.
When you approach DLC in nearby Jefferson there is no doubt what the basic product is. Apples!
At this time of the year, August, apple trees heavily laden with red, gold and green fruit stand row after row stretching down the slope and up the other side and surround the modest building that houses the “Works”. Across the drive way from the grinders, tanks, etc. is the tasting room.
This was our second visit to DLC and it was intended as “just a courtesy call” but as-long-as-we’re-here. . .
We tasted four hard ciders including the Jefferson Cider that has been on our menu for several years and decided that we – and you – might like to try something new. Our new offering is a hard cider called DLC, aged in charred oak rye whiskey barrels. It’s light on the tongue, has more of an “appley” taste with a
smooth finish. Rob, the cider master, explains that it is made with three kinds of vintage cider apples, the Roxbury Russet, Newtown Pippin and Virginia Crab, or Hewes. And (drum roll Maestro), this is the apple cider chosen to be served at Mount Vernon! Yes, George’s place across the river.
Our hostess, pouring cider to visitors, is a local English language arts teacher but we just talked a little bit of history and just sipped cider, there was no quiz. She’ll be heading back to school soon so she probably didn’t want papers to correct.
You probably knew that goat cheese comes from goat milk and were also probably aware that goat milk comes from goats. We did too.
But goat farms become very involved in the – shall I say, the personal life of the friendly little creatures who are everywhere. When shall they be allowed to – date, and how “successful” was the date? (I wonder if they go to the movies? -J ) These are vital concerns of the successful goat farm and we understand that Caprikorn is among the best. Just before we arrived they were arranging to sell goats to Taiwan, not just the cheese, the goats.
We were invited to watch milking and I imagined someone kneeling next to mama goat with a bucket
(really) but it’s much more modern and much more sanitary than that. The milk goes from goats, five at a time, through sterile lines directly to a refrigerated tank in the next room.
One more thing about goats; if you say a person “smells like a goat” you’re looking for a fight but these goats were very clean. When Melanie was a little girl she got dirtier than those goats do!
Melanie will integrate the Caprikorn artisan goat cheese
in a Berry Goat Cheese Salad appetizer along with fresh greens from participating farms, and berries and pearl tomatoes from our own Belfry garden. The goat cheese is also featured in our Chevre Quiche main entrée. Melanie combines it with farm fresh eggs, local heavy cream, and herbs from our Belfry garden and bakes individual quiche in traditional as well as gluten free pastry shells. Incredibly delicious
If you’re wondering who was the “designated driver” after tasting both hard cider and mead the secret is our visits to the distillery and meadery were on separate days and besides “tasting” is much
different than drinking, even a small glass full. Ask me some time about my first ever wine tasting experience in France!
Mead is an ancient consummation dating back at least to the Roman Empire and arguably well before that.
Just as wheat, barley, potatoes, rye seeds, etc. that go beyond nutritional needs can be “stored” and given extra value by converting them to alcohol so it is and has been with honey as well.
Considering mead as a beverage and knowing that it is made with honey the natural conclusion is that it must be sweet, very sweet but it’s not so. Mead can be dry, semi-sweet or fully sweet depending on the fermenting.
You can confirm this quickly and easily by consulting Wikipedia or at more leisure and with more pleasure by paying a visit to Orchid Cellar in the midst of the Middletown Valley.
The “Highlander Mead” we tasted would fulfill the stereo type of a sweet dessert beverage or even an
ice cream topping but the mead that got my vote was “Archer”. It is subtle and well balanced with nuanced flavors of cinnamon, clove and juniper can be savored chilled or heated for the winter holidays.
Our host Andrzej dropped a hint that we just had to accept as a challenge. The “Hunter” mead is made with chili peppers. This seemed a little farfetched so we tasted it and after the first burst of mead flavor the tingling/burning on the sides of the tongue that one associates with spicy, peppery food develops.
While this would never be my favorite mead it is a fascinating experience. It might be, “Muy Bueno”!
for folks who take their habaneras, straight.
We resolved our conflict by getting several kinds of mead; so you will be able to sample three at Beans: the Archer, my favorite described earlier, Ambrosia, made with Chardonnay grapes from the vineyard on the hill, and Blacksmith, fermented with raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, no additives. It will go well paired with one of our F t F desserts, a freshly baked Blueberry Buckle. For the adventurous and those who read this blog, we have two bottles of the spicy Hunter mead in reserve. If you enjoy a surprise punch, ask for it at our counter. Andrzej is sure we will be back for more.