Arabian Flights- An Epicurean Adventure
By: Ken DeLaat
Photos By: Lil DeLaat
For the third year in a row Terrie Ortwein of Gala Gourmet along with Ron and Laura Armstrong presented a unique dining experience held at the Armstrong Arabians equine facility along Maple Island Road. Each of these events has provided patrons with a distinctive dinner while showcasing the extraordinary animals who populate the breeding operation that has gained worldwide renown.
This year’s epicurean enticement entitled Arabian Flights celebrated local Farm to Table cuisine featuring the goods of several area enterprises. The Saturday evening extravaganza saw over 70 folks from the community and...
...beyond gather for a little gastronomical indulgence and upon arrival guests were treated to a sampling of some of the local products including the sheep’s milk cheese provided by Salle Haverkamp from Newaygo Shepherd and tiny edibles from the gardens of Little Mitten Landscape & Micro-Greens who also supplied the arugula
accompanying each course. And, needless to say, there was the meal itself.
A culinary journey unfolded with the evening, beginning with an exotic mushroom pate complemented by the aforementioned cheese, apricot preserves and costini. The small plate delight turned out to be not only delicious in taste but texturally pleasing as well. With one place in our seating unoccupied I noticed a spare dish of this enticing edible lingering at the end of the table and contemplated a move to gain access but was deterred by a self-induced reminder to not ruin the rhythm of the repast.
An arugula salad followed with a Mediterranean flair featuring figs and the gentle Italian dried beef known as bresaola enhanced by a drizzling of a nice balsamic. While generally not one to favor figs as a regular part of a personal diet this intriguing combination was a sheer delight and gave me pause about whether figs might be more prominent in my dietary future.
The entrée came with much deserved flair when a well-presented plate highlighted by a grilled grass-fed beef tenderloin found its way to my setting. The tenderloin, another local product from the Great Lakes Cattle Company, was a superior cut of meat prepared to perfection with a shallot-balsamic glaze that proved to hold its own in a delectable duet with the beef. An imaginative and extremely pleasing root vegetable puree came coupled with the tenderloin offering and the addition of grilled asparagus, a personal passion, was most welcome.
At this point only was one thing that could bring this memorable meal to an epic conclusion and that of course, was dessert. Following such gastronomic excellence can prove to be a challenging task but the torte from the recipe book of Terrie’s mother-in-law that arrived with a dessert wine selection and proved up to the task of adding that final chapter to a most memorable meal. The torte arrived in two incarnations. Mine was apple and my dinner guest and lifetime spousal partner Lil received the cherry variety. Each was marvelous.
The backdrop of demonstrations from the array of Armstrong Arabians along with the descriptive informational narration delivered by Ron Armstrong made for an entertaining accompaniment to the experience and showcased some of the most beautiful mares and young colts to be imagined.
All in all it proved to be a special evening shared by over 70 folks who found themselves swept up in the magic of Arabian Flights.
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