MEDINA — “Dinner was divine!”
After several hours of anxiously awaiting an improvement in the weather, a final shower passed, clear skies blossomed and the set-up for Farm to Table 2019 began in earnest on Medina’s Main Street.
A crowd of 230 people from across Western New York gathered once again on Medina’s historic Main Street for the annual gourmet farm to table dinner. The gala affair is hosted by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. as a fundraiser for the local Canal Village Farmers’ Market. The market, sponsored by ORG, is managed by Gail Miller and is open Saturdays through October at 127 West Center St.
Four years ago, Zambito prepared a five course gourmet meal for 137 guests for the first dinner held in August.
Since then, the dinner has grown and evolved with a larger team of talented local chefs and a crowd of 230.
Again leading the team of chefs preparing the dinner is Michael Zambito, owner and chef at Medina’s Zambistro restaurant. Chef Zambito was joined by chefs from Mariachi De Oro, Bent’s Opera House, Sourced Market & Eatery, Mile 303 and Shirt Factory — all of Medina — for a full six-course gourmet dinner.
“Our goal is to use as many ingredients from the Canal Village Farmers’ Market and local sources as possible,” said Zambito. “It’s all about showcasing what our area has to offer in terms of farm-fresh products.”
All of the ingredients used in the meal were locally sourced and farm-fresh, provided from the vendors at Canal Village Farmers’ Market and other local farms. After a late afternoon shower, Medina’s north end of Main Street was closed off at 4 p.m. and a became a flurry of activity. Chefs and restaurant staff descended on the site, working with farmers’ market and ORG volunteers to transform the historic district into a “Hallmark-like” dinner venue.
As guests arrived at 6 p.m., they were welcomed with a glass of Schulze Vineyards Cuvee Reserve Brut, along with a chef’s course prepared by Chef Lionel Heydel of Bent’s Opera House– “Harvest Summer Melody”– dehydrated apple, fresh peach and apple with goat cheese mousse, maple gastrique, bacon bits and micro greens. As diners checked in, seating was arranged at a table stretching over 200 feet along the thoroughfare, set with simple, rustic elegance.
As guests were seated and courses were presented, the air was filled with laughter, conversation and plenty of “Oooooo’s” and “Ahhhhh’s”. Patrons dined on gourmet courses such as “The Moose, The Mule & The Watermelon” (Mile 303/Sourced– compressed watermelon, cucumber, nuoc cham vinaigrette), “Mixiote” (Mariachi de Oro– marinated chicken roasted in corn husk with peppers, garlic and oregano), “Perch en Papillote” (Zambistro– lake perch in parchment with roasted corn, pepper and thyme butter, zucchini squash and creamer potato) and “Mesopotamia on Main Street (Sourced Market & Eatery– beef and lamb kefta, garden smoked tabouli, red currant and sumac vinaigrette).
Each course was paired with some of the finest award-winning wineries, wines, cider and mead from the Niagara Wine Trail, including Schulze Vineyards (Cuvee Reserve Brut), Leonard-Oakes Estate Winery (Brown Snout Cider and Cabernet Franc), Liten Buffel (De la Terre, Pour la Winediva Pino Gris) Victorianbourg Wine Estate (Traminette) and 810 Meadworks (Special Peach-infused Mead). Staff from the wineries poured for the guests and explained the wines and pairings.
As dusk fell, dessert provided by Pastry Chef Abby Thaine of Shirt Factory was served. One of the favorites of the night, guests gushed over “Just Peachy”— layered peach cake, peaches, buttercream, brown sugar, caramel, hazelnut and spices. The gourmet dessert was paired with a mead collaboration from Bryan Degraw of 810 Meadworks and Scott Robinson of Shirt Factory– “Honey, I Smoked the Peaches”– a special peach infused mead prepared especially for the dinner, topped off in spectacular fashion with a touch of smoke from smoke from bee smokers.
The crowd sat happy, satisfied and amazed.
“The combined efforts of the sponsors, businesses, farmers and volunteers were no less than miraculous,” said dinner guest, Stacey Pellicano of Lockport. “Feeling incredibly grateful.”
Pellicano’s sentiments were echoed again and again all along the massive table throughout the night, with everyone looking forward to another event in 2020.
As the evening came to a close, a round of applause arose from the crowd for the chefs, servers, wineries and volunteers who organizers said executed a flawless evening. With that the crowd dissolved happily to join afterparties at Mile 303, Shirt Factory and 810 Meadworks.
“It was touch and go with the rainy weather moving off so close to set up.” said Chris Busch, President of ORG. “But there’s no other place on earth where everyone works together like Medina. Hats off to all involved in making this a success– sponsors, chefs, restaurants, volunteers– especially Mike and Kara Zambito and their team. This dinner was divine!”