Food at Farm to Table Dinner never ceases to impress guests

By Natalie Covher

Guests gathered at dusk on the lawn of Cherokee Plantation in support of Hope for Paws and enjoy a multi course Farm to Table Dinner Oct. 19. Guests were greeted with this year’s signature drink: a Spiced Pear Collins made with Bayou Silver Rum, served in rustic mason jars with chic paper straws.

As the animal lovers mixed and mingled, they munched on hand passed appetizers including Rose Petal Tartlets accented with Camembert and topped with Prosciutto and a chilled Strawberry and Basil Bisque. NPJ’s favorite appetizer was the Praline Shrimp Crostini, perfectly cooked shrimp paired with just enough buttery praline topping to soften the crunch of the toasted baguette base. The pairing for this course was a Perelada Brut Reserva from Cava, Spain. This balanced bubbly had a fine aroma and hints of fruit.
A new addition to the evening was Louisiana Live Painter Morgan Lasyone, who diligently worked on a fun, colorful painting of the southern scene. She captured the essence of the evening and the eye of many guests who wanted to see if they could find themselves amongst the brushstrokes.

After the Plantation bell rang and everyone found their seats, the second course was passed down the table. It was a lively salad tossed with roasted butternut squash, shaved almonds, green almonds, dates drizzled with a warm maple bacon vinaigrette.

“I wish I could make this dressing at home,” exclaimed a guest. “I would have it every day and I must start adding butternut squash to my salads. I would have never thought of that.” This was the time for the white wine glass at each place setting to be filled with the 2013 Custard Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley, Cali.

Hope for Paws member Amie Bolton raised a toast to the volunteers and event sponsors. “We saved over 40 dogs this year,” she said. “Looking at the numbers, it averages out that since we opened we’ve rescued one dog for every week we’ve been in operation. Our adoption rate is amazing and we couldn’t do any of it without our volunteers.”

Then came the Cherokee Plantation Coq Au Vin, which is a dish of chicken cooked in wine. Friendly banter ensued over if it is properly pronounced “Koh-ou-vah” or “Kak-ou-vah.” It was later found that Oxford Dictionary claims both pronunciations are correct. The other entrée was Wild Boar Ragout over Potato Soufflé.

All night, NPJ had been looking forward to the Coq Au Vin and was surprised that her palate betrayed her by liking the Wild Boar better. It was surprisingly delicious and contradicted everything one hears about wild boar on the street. I’m quite certain that if everyone in the parish tasted this dish we would no longer have a wild boar problem. The third course was paired with NPJ’s favorite wine of the night: a 2014 Peirano Estate Vineyards’ Six Clones Merlot from Lodi, Cali. The smell and taste of black cherries, red ripe raspberries, strawberry and white pepper joined together for juicy sip after juicy sip. Lingering hints of cocoa and toasted oak left a pleasing, long lasting finish.

The evening ended on a sweet note: Peach Crisp topped with a decadent Brandi Vanilla Cream paired with a 2016 Port of New Orleans.