Jefferson’s Virginia – An On The Road culinary adventure
The next morning we boarded our executive coach and headed to Monticello. We were again blessed with gorgeous clear blue skies and warmer temperatures; a perfect day to tour the gardens and grounds of Monticello with Gabriele Rausse, the Director of Gardens and Grounds and one of Virginia’s first winemakers.
As our guests wandered through the gardens, asking many questions of Gabriele, we saw Pat Brodowski, the Head Gardner at Monticello, tending the gardens. We had met Pat several years ago at Monticello and spoke to her prior to our luncheon in the orchard about what would be available for our lunch that day. The gardens had rebounded nicely after the late snow and our chef for the event, Dean Maupin of C & O Restaurant, was able to create a lovely menu for our guests.
Dining in the orchard at Monticello is a rare privilege experienced by few. As I walked toward the tent that was set up for the chef and saw our tables in the orchard adorned with floral arrangements in brilliant colors of orange and green, and the beautiful Virginia hills overlooking the Shenandoah Valley in the background, I was overcome by emotion. It was perfect.
As our guests enjoyed a three-course luncheon featuring produce harvested that morning from Jefferson’s historic gardens, our courses paired beautifully with two locally produced white wines: Virginia Wineworks Viognier and Gabriele Rausse’s own label Viognier. Almost like something in a movie set, every so often the breeze would blow, giving respite from the sun, showering our table with fluttering petals from the Cherry Blossoms. Finishing our lunch, as Jefferson would have done at the end of a meal, we enjoyed a fine Madeira from Broadbent Selections.