Monday, June 19, 2006

Pozzi Perfect

I know I've disappointed my very small base of loyal readers, and I'm sorry. What can I say? Life got in the way, big and bossy, and I've been spending a good deal of time working on all sorts of new life projects. The good news is that overall I am much happier then I have been, so those who still check this blog from time to time will be rewarded with Feed and Supply 6.0: The Return.

And what better way to return then to tell you about the good work of Slow Food? To be completely honest, I've never been a huge Slow Food booster. Of course I love the idea of returning to artisanal food, of paying more attention to what we eat and of celebrating our farmers and growers. Good stuff, all. It's just that I've been to a event or two over the years and they have been decidedly not exceptional. One was a salt tasting. 10 different kinds in one sitting! Curious as I am about salt, that was too much even for me.

But yesterday was different. The day opened bright and beautiful, high sun and a touch of breeze. We got in the car and headed up over the Golden Gate Bridge, through Marin county and into Sonoma. We turned off at Petaluma, drove straight through the historic downtown and headed deep into the fields. Our final destination was Pozzi Ranch, a lamb farm on a gorgeous tract of land not far from the ocean. These are some lucky lambs, let me tell you. The ranch is all golden grasses and rolling hills, and in the center of it all was a meadow filled with beautiful tables and a massive grill.

As guests arrived they were treated to Aqua Frescas and local cheeses, while the cooking team, headed by the inimitable Michelle Fuerst of Chez Panisse, prepared a bevy of delights, from braised Pozzi Ranch lamb shoulder and grilled leg of lamb to grilled flatbreads and vibrant herb salads. A host of condiments accompanied the lamb--spicy harissa, rich yogurt with mint and garlic, fresh fava beans with new garlic, an herb jam with black olives--good stuff, all. Needless to say, it was a most beautiful scene. Under the hot Sonoma sun people who care about food heaped their plates high, dipping liberally into the "bounty of the county."

After everyone had eaten their fill of lamb we shaved ice for snowcones (with a blackberry syrup made from blackberries Michelle picked herself) and indulged in waffle cones with an amazing ricotta-honey ice cream.

By 3:30 we were headed back to the city (after a brief stop in Bodega Bay for peanut butter and molasses salt water taffy), sun-kissed, very full of delicious food and with a renewed enthusiasm for the good work of Slow Food. Don't believe me? See for yourself: You can join your local convivium and then tell them that you, too, want to celebrate local foods by eating snowcones on the best summer day.

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