Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rosa Fiorelli's Vineyard-To-Table Dinner, Bradenton, Fla.

Vineyard dinners are something you'd expect in California or Europe but not in South Florida. But this past March, Rosa Fiorelli Vineyard and Winery in Bradenton, Florida, had their first vineyard-to-table dinner. They invited local culinary arts students to cook, local organic farmers to supply ingredients, and local people to consume the four-course meal.
Manatee Technical Institute culinary arts students prepare
first course at Rosa Fiorelli's vineyard-to-table dinner,
Bradenton, Fla.
Rosa Fiorelli produces fresh Italian-style table wines without added sulfites. They use organic-growing methods and hand pick their grapes.

Europen-hybrid Venifera bunch
grapes at Rosa Fiorelli's Vineyard,
Bradenton, Fla.
Their wines are made with European-hybrid Venifera bunch grapes and American native muscadine grapes, they grow on 10-acres of land.
Spicy Italian sausage and artichoke flatbread, Rosa Fiorelli's
Vineyard-to-table dinner, Bradenton, Fla.
A pre-vineyard tour appetizer, made of spicy Italian sausage (TransAtlantic Sausage Co., Sarasota) on artichoke flatbread topped with purple basil and oregano (Geraldson Community Farm, Bradenton), came with semi-dry Rosato wine (Rosa Fiorelli Vineyard, Bradenton).

The vineyard tour took just over half an hour and included a walk through the winery. Inside the winery building, our guide told us they used food-grade plastic barrels with bags of oak chips, instead of oak barrels, to age their wine.
Chef Dana Johnson talks about the wines to be served
during Rosa Fiorelli's vineyard-to-table dinner,
Bradenton, Fla.
Back at the outdoor dining area, Chef Dana Johnson, a pastry and baking instructor at Mantatee Technical Institute in Bradenton, told us he chose not to use Rosa Fiorelli wine in the dishes because he felt it would compete too much with the Rosa Fiorelli wine in the glass.  
Goat's milk cheesecake with papaya salsa at Rosa
Fiorelli's vineyard-to-table-dinner, Bradenton, Fla.
The first course was a tangy Goat's milk cheesecake with candied walnut crust and papaya salsa (from Chef Johnson's garden, Sarasota). This was paired with a spicy, Carmel colored Conquistador blush wine.

Arugula, mustard greens, and watermelon radish salad on
flax seed cracker at Rosa Fiorelli's vineyard-to-table
dinner, Bradenton, Fla.
This was followed by a spicy arugula and mustard greens salad (Geraldson Community Farm, Bradenton) topped with crunchy watermelon radish, all resting on a flax seed cracker. It was drizzled with a Florida honey (Richard's Foodporium, Sarasota) vinaigrette. Semi-dry white Blanc du Bois was served with this course. Unfortunately, the strong flavors of the salad overpowered the fruity flavors of the wine.

Pork Tenderloin with rainbow beets,
Rosa Fiorelli vineyard-to-table
dinner, Bradenton, Fla

The main course gave diners a choice of two dishes, either thyme grilled pork loins or coffee and stout rubbed short ribs. Both were served with the Red-Noble semi-dry muscadine wine. The pork loins were tender and came with a side of sweet yellow and purple beets.

Coffee and stout rubbed short ribs with rainbow
swiss chard at Rosa Fiorelli's vineyard-to-
table dinner, Bradenton, Fla.
The gravy covered, coffee and stout rubbed short ribs were succulent and tender. They were served with rainbow colored Swiss chard (Gamble Creek Farm, Parrish) and Florida grown marjoram. The ribs went very well with the Red Noble wine.

Dessert played with the traditional idea of chocolate mousse. It was made with Dakin Dairy Farms cream (Myakka City, Fla.) and curry. Then it was covered with a milk chocolate shell, set on a sweet cracker, drizzled with Bourbon vanilla cream, dotted with raspberry coulis, dusted with gold, and topped with a crispy caramel wafer. All the flavors went together beautifully. It was served with a very strong flavored Red Muscadine dessert wine.

Chocolate and curry mousse with raspberry coulis,
Bourbon vanilla cream, caramel wafer, and gold dust.
Rosa Fiorelli vineyard-to-table dinner, Bradenton, Fla.

This vineyard-to-table dinner was worth the $65 per person ticket cost.
The Culinary arts students from the Manatee Technical Institute of Bradenton cooked each course with the help of Chef Dana Johnson and Chef Valencia Mitchell (both of Savory Scenes, a catering and cooking class company).

The dinner’s featured local Florida producers from: Rosa Fiorelli Vineyard (Bradenton),TransAtlantic Sausage company (Sarasota), Gamble Creek Farm (Parrish), Geraldosn Community Farm (Bradenton), Dakin Dairy Farms (Myakka City), Richard’s Foodporium (Sarasota), and chef Dana Johnson's garden.

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