Tuesday, May 24, 2011

France, Italy, Spain, Oregon

If it weren't for that mountain, I would have thought I'd traveled to a far-away country known for its unique dining experiences.


But here at home, we enjoyed a world class meal in a world class setting.
The location was stunning- on top of a hill with a 360 degree view of the valley.


A hill formed from volcanic action in ancient times, it was a rocky place that had been sculpted into terraces, stepping stone pathways and water features.








One of the rocky terraces was the setting for a spectacular Indian-themed dinner prepared by two young local chefs. We enjoyed our evening with our gourmand friends as well as with the other specially invited guests of the chefs.





The location, besides being beautiful, was a small farm on which the entree for the dinner was raised. We took a tour before the meal began.





On the east side of the hill there was a pasture for a herd of heritage breed pigs that are being raised on hazelnuts, chestnuts and acorns. This type of feed program is a time-honored way of raising pigs, famously done in Spain where the cured hams are considered among the best in the world.





On the west side of the hill, a pit had been dug. The day before, two of the young hogs were butchered and barbequed in the fire pit. The pigs were stuffed with a fresh coconut preparation, rubbed with the Indian spice masala and wrapped in banana leaves. The hot coals from the fire were buried with the pigs under the red dirt and left to slowly cook over night and all the next day.



Our chefs were just removing the pit-barbequed pork when we arrived.



The process was exciting for us to watch but most certainly more exciting for them to perform.



The roasted meat was brought to the staging area and unwrapped.



The chefs decided that despite the 20+ hours in the fire pit, the meat would still need to be finished in a smoker grill.

We watched as the whole roasted pig was expertly carved into tenderloins and roasts for the grill.





Accompanying the roasted pork was fresh naan, an Indian bread flavored with herbs.



Chef Nathan rolled the dough out flat and then grilled the naan on an open fire just before serving.







Before too long, the perfectly smoked and roasted pork arrived and was carved for the anxious dinner guests.





The Indian-themed menu included a spicy tomato chutney as well as a mango chutney,


and a deliciously hot spring curry with asparagus and freshly picked morel mushrooms.




To refresh our palettes after the heat of the spicy dishes, fresh herbs including miner's lettuce and cilantro were also served.




The pork tenderloin was perfectly cooked with a luscious smokiness and melting texture that could only be found in a young, well-raised hog. The side dishes were spicy- but not too much- flavorful and completely delicious. Dessert was fresh tropical fruit and a honey-laced Indian cheese. Just the right finish.




The setting and the company made this unique meal all the more memorable.



This was truly a world-class experience here in our little hometown Oregon valley.

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