Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weekly Pairing

Every month the employees of Pastoral get together for a meeting. Last night our focus was on new wines and our upcoming picnic menu.

Once again Pastoral is the picnic partner of the Grant Park Music Festival. If you are a member and show us your card on the day of a performance you will receive 10% off of your purchase. Don't forget your tickets for the show, or your member card for discounts on cheese, bread and wines the day of the show.

We have four picnics this year. The Artisan's Selection, Roman Feast, Tour de France and our vegetarian Mediterranean Journey. Picnics for two come with a variety of cheeses, cookies, a baguette and salads or meats depending on the picnic you purchase. All picnics also come with napkins, plates and cutlery so all you have to do is tell us which wine you'd like to add (or have us pick one out for you.) We do ask for a six hour advance on your order so we can better accommodate all concert goers.

We also tasted quite a few wines last night. Many of you will be happy to know that the Seven Terraces is back on the shelves! We also have quite a few new wines for you to grab on your way to the concert or to pick up when you come in to get your picnic for two. A superb Merlot, Trace is one of the best representations of the grape we've seen in a long time, and at under $15 it's a steal! Many wines were opened and we look forward to helping you find your new favorite.

One of the new bottles on the shelf is also part of this week's pairing. This week we're doing a cider. Te N.V. Julien Fremont Cider from Pays D'Auge France is not what you might expect. No sweet apple flavor here. This particular cider is bone dry. It's a robust strong cider. Earthy, mushroomy, and delicious. This cider is big enough to stand up to a big cheese.

So what did we pair it with? The Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Jasper Hill Cellars. The milk is from Cabot. The cave aging is from the good folks at Jasper Hill. This is a superb collaboration. This cheese has won numerous awards including "Best of Show" at the 2006 ACS conference. This clothbound cheese has an earthy quality to it along with some butter and caramel notes. Perfect for an impromptu dinner with friends, a dinner party, or a concert in the park. Don't just take our word for it though, take some home and try it for yourself.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sun-Times article

In the Sun-Times today there is an article on culinary tourism, highlighting Pastoral. As many of you have experienced first hand, once a year we arrange for a field trip. It is open to the staff, and to the public. Last year we went to the Champaign-Urbana farmer's market, and then onward to visit Leslie Cooperband, her goats, and her amazing chef at Prairie Fruits Farm.

This year we've got another trip in the works for the end of the summer. Contrary to what was written in the Sun-Times we have not finalized anything, but cheesemakers in Michigan are on our list. Stay tuned for further details! Until then, here are some shots from last year's excursion.

Lunch at Prairie Fruits Farm was delicious. Veggies grown right on the farm, and meat from neighbors down the road.

Leslie's goats are very friendly. Just ask Alison.

Group shot! Thanks to everyone for making it a great trip!