Jefferson’s Virginia – An On The Road culinary adventure
Dinner that evening at Lemaire was the ideal end to what had been a stunning day. Our group chatted, getting to know a bit more about each other, over dinner in the beautiful private dining room in the restaurant. Chef Bundy and his culinary team outdid themselves on the five-course Tasting Menu with wines selected by General Manager, Greg McGehee. Every course was perfectly executed and beautifully plated.
Highlighting some of the best regional and seasonal ingredients, our first course was a Vidalia Onion Bulb Bisque topped with Nassawadox Creek Shooting Point Oysters, Virginia Country Ham, Chive Blossoms, and Fermented Hot Sauce. Paired with a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, the third course of Blackmouth Wild Chinook Salmon with Green Garlic, Baby Carrots, Wild Miner’s Lettuce, Parmesan Risotto, and a Truffled English Pea Coulis was a favorite. The evening’s finale was nothing less than a showstopper. Paired with a Broadbent Madiera, Chocolate Chambord Terrine with Cara Cara Orange Ice Cream, Grand Marnier Anglaise, and Rhubarb Compote was truly decadent.
Our last stop on this culinary adventure was to Olli Salumeria in Mechanicsville, Virginia, a short drive from Richmond. Oliviero Colmignoli is a cured meat artisan whose family is from Rome, Italy. He relocated to the United States six years ago bringing four generations of meat curing expertise with him. Olli, as he is known, is making his salumi and aged meats in Virginia as his family has done for many decades in Italy.
Our group was able to tour their facility and learn about the process of creating these savory meats. Olli explained their sourcing methods and that they only use humanely raised pork. We were able to see the entire process of creating the salumi from grinding the meats to adding the different types of seasonings and then on to the stuffing, aging, and packaging. Following our tour, we enjoyed a sampling of Olli’s products while our guests continued to ask questions about their salumi and learned about Olli’s expansion to a new California facility to reach more customers and add to their product line.
After several days with our guests, it is always hard to say goodbye. Through our On The Road culinary tours we hope to bring people closer to their food, to educate them, to feed them well, and for them to get to know their chefs. Food is always so much better when you know where it’s coming from, who is preparing it, and when it’s served amongst friends. Food also tastes better when you see how it is grown and how it is produced since you take the time to enjoy not just the flavor, but to relive the experience.
One of the dishes we had at our farm dinner at Manakintowne Specialty Growers was Barrel Smoked Chicken Breasts with Garden Rosemary, Garlic, and Beeline Honey. Smoked in a smoker built by Lemaire’s Sous Chef Patrick Willis and marinated with honey from Jo’s bees at Manakintowne, this chicken was phenomenal. Chef Bundy has shared the recipe for you to prepare it at home.
If you are interested in joining us on a future On The Road culinary adventure, sign up to receive email notifications (click here) and stayed tuned. We are working on some exciting trips for 2014!
I want to personally thank everyone who participated in this event in Virginia. It was extraordinary and we could not have done it without all of you.
Jo and Rob Pendergraph at Manakintowne Specialty Growers
Executive Chef Walter Bundy – Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond
Sous Chef Patrick Willis – Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond
Chef/Co-Owner Lee Gregory – The Roosevelt – Richmond
Chef Aaron Cross – Fossett’s at Keswick Hall – Charlottesville
Tom Gallivan – Shooting Point Oysters – Franktown
Ann Arseniu Gallivan – JC Walker Brothers – Willis Wharf
Luca Paschina, Winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards – Charlottesville
Billy Fallen – Billy Bread – Richmond
Glenn Roberts – Anson Mills – Columbia, South Carolina
Greg McGehee, General Manager – Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond
The staff at The Jefferson Hotel – Richmond
Chef Dean Maupin – C & O Restaurant – Charlottesville
Gabriele Rausse, Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello – Charlottesville
Pat Brodowsky – Head Gardener at Monticello – Charlottesville
The Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello – Charlottesville
Amy Webb – Blue Ridge Floral Design – Charlottesville
Oliviero Colmignoli and his wonderful staff at Olli Salumeria – Mechanicsville
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Barrel Smoked Chicken Breasts
1 gallon water
1 cup Kosher salt (or 1/2 cup regular salt)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh Rosemary pieces, removed from stems
8 chicken breasts (airline cut)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup honey (or more, if needed)
Chopped, fresh garlic, to taste
Additional whole sprigs rosemary
Combine all ingredients for brine in a large non-reactive stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring to completely dissolve salt and honey. Bring to room temperature and then refrigerate until mixture is chilled. Add chicken breasts and cover. Brine in refrigerator for about 12 hours.
When ready to cook, bring a smoker to 220 degrees F. Remove chicken from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Rub all over with garlic oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Combine honey with a little chopped, fresh garlic and drizzle on both sides of chicken.
Place chicken breasts on rack in smoker, skin side up. Place whole rosemary sprigs on top of the chicken breasts. Drizzle the chicken occasionally with the marinade of honey and garlic and smoke until temperature of the breast reaches about 165 degrees F, about 2 hours.
Executive Chef Walter Bundy
Lemaire – The Jefferson Hotel