Slow Food Columbus has had a thrilling first year with a burgeoning membership and some spectacular events, most notably the Shake the Hand that Feeds you Dinner at the Flying J Farm in September. The anniversary dinner was an opportunity to celebrate the convivium and fittingly, the Italian roots of the Slow Food movement with a Sardinian wine dinner.
Kent Rigsby is both a proponent and practitioner of Slow Food and it was thus fitting that he offered to host the first anniversary dinner at Rigsby’s Kitchen. The event was attended by almost eighty enthusiastic diners.
The dinner featured winemaker Antonella Mancini, a second generation winemaker from the Sardinian town of Olbia and the meal was accompanied by some of her family’s wines.
The menu in full:
And in pictures: (with some explanation- I admit I had to look up quite a few of the ingredients).
Mushroom and soft cheese canapes -a delicious accompaniment to the Brachetto and Campari apéritif. Brachetto is a fizzy and fragrant sweet red wine that took the edge off the bitter campari.
Fennel & crabmeat salad with bottarga
Bottarga (or botargo) is a type of cured fish roe and added a distinct flavor to this light and refreshing and crunchy salad. The antipasti was served with a Sardinian vermentino wine, golden yellow in color with a fruity bouquet.
Risotto with Ohio goat cheese and chestnut honey
The risotto was deemed by our table to be the highlight of the meal. Creamy, salty, sweet and wondrous. It was sublime and I would happily start a petition for it to be a regular menu item at Rigsby’s. It was paired with the first of two cannonau red wines, typical Sardinian reds (cannonau is a clone of grenache). The first had been aged in oak for 6 months and the second was aged for over 12 months in oak. Both were intense, spicy and full bodied and opinions seemed mixed as to the favorite.
Pork tenderloin with saba glaze
The pork came from Sweet Meadows Farm in Roseville Ohio (near Zanesville) and farmer Tim Kimple and his wife Martha attended the dinner. Tim spoke to the guests about the farm and his farming philosophy. Their farm is on its way to organic certification and they try to farm as naturally as possible. As well as a store in Zanesville the Kimples supply Northstar Cafe and the Bexley Market. It is always a privilege to be able to meet the people who produce the food on your plate. Tim uses berkshire genetics for flavor and lets the pigs forage. The pork certainly lived up to its billing. Saba is a reduction of grape must and as you can see the pork was accompanied with potatoes and watercress.
Pecorino Stagionato with pear mostarda
The Tuscan sheep’s milk pecorino was nutty and salty and was enlivened with ‘mostarda di pere’. Mostardas are fruits preserved in mustard oil and are a wonderful accompaniment to bread and cheese. In this case the mostarda was quite garlicky. I know that they are available from Zingerman’s by mail order, but I am not sure where you can buy them in Columbus. The wine pairing was amarone della valpolicella (2003) which was rich and intense and at 16% – strong! We were told that it could happily be aged for 10-20 years.
Seadas with acacia honey
Seadas are a traditional Sardinian dessert – a fried pastry filled with cheese, flavored with lemon peel and drizzled with honey. They are best eaten ‘subito’ (immediately). They were made by the wine maker and her cousin. They were paired with Moscato d’Asti a light refreshing white. Sardinians are acclaimed for their longevity. With food and wine like this, I can see that there is considerable incentive to enjoy life to a ripe old age.
Here’s to the second year of Slow Food Columbus – I look forward to many more wonderful dinners.