Yesterday evening, we had a massive thunderstorm and downpour right as we were about to head out to a “Dine with the Vines” event. I rushed out of the house wearing a sundress, but with my wellies in tow. My visions of al-fresco dining didn’t include a deluge. But, the clouds were parting and we hoped for the best.
We arrived to sunny skies, no rain, but menacing gray clouds that eventually cleared. It was actually quite beautiful.
We were greeted with Rosé Bellinis. That’s always a good greeting. Everyone should do that.
We walked around and took pictures and for a moment I felt like we were on vacation. Going just thirty minutes away to a vineyard feels more like getting away than simply going to a restaurant for date night. The last time we had been to Beliveau, we were chasing naughty toddlers around.
So, I literally took in the view, took a deep breath, inhaled the scent of the lavender, took a sip of my bellini and just basked in the moment.
We were called to the table, tucked in a neat row between the vines. It was so beautiful. This is how I imagine that Tuscans eat every meal. Do they?
- Charcuterie platter. You can never go wrong with buttered brie, apple butter and candied almonds. So delicious.
- Cold peach soup with goat cheese. Who knew peach soup even existed? It was as good as it sounds.
- Hoison duck with edamame rice cakes, which were very good. I have only had duck on a few occasions, but I think I can definitely say I like it now.
- Then, there was a pre-dessert. Pre-dessert. Let that sink in. I love this concept. It was some sort of stewed plums served cold and was so good and rich.
- And, finally…dessert was a bumbleberry tart with chocolate mousse. I know, bumbleberry sounds like something made up. Wait, it kind of is. I just googled it — it’s a mixed berry concoction. Sounds like something you’d find growing in the south though.
And, we had so many lovely wines. I decided to be brave and try the reds they were serving. It’s one thing to not order red wine, but completely different to turn it down. So, I waited for my inevitable headache, but it didn’t come. This is exciting because it means I have identified a vineyard whose reds I can drink. I have found a few in the past that I discovered didn’t make me sick, but it was served a wedding or something and I never knew which ones they were. And, usually, it’s just not worth it to me to find out.
We sat with the owner and it was fascinating to hear him talk about opening the winery, which is only four years old. On our other side, sat the brewmaster for Parkway Brewing. So, we had some interesting conversations where words like barley, chambourcin and yeast were thrown around a lot. And, across from us, sat a couple who told us they has struggled with infertility and miscarriage for years when we told our story. Small world, always. When you actually talk to people and get to know them.
It really was a great experience to sit at a large table with new people outdoors while in such a beautiful setting. This was another thing I loved about this dinner. Normally, we would eat by ourselves and and the introvert in me is fine with that sometimes. But, it was nice to meet new people in a way that if you were at a typical restaurant just wouldn’t happen.
We watched the sky explode with color as the sun was setting and then watched as the stars popped out.