The ocean breezes blew the paper lanterns overhead and the first glass of wine was poured. “This will pair nicely with both the escargot and the shrimp rolls.” said Nonantum manager Kyle Manning. Manning had just moments before, introduced the Farm-to-Fork dinner event to a room full of hungry and eager diners. The warm outdoor air and clear night provided the perfect backdrop for the Inn’s first field-to-table foray, showcasing locavore dining. The dinner capped off a weekend of events, starting with a cocktail hour showcase of local food and spirit producers, and a launch of the Maine Foodie Tours in Kennebunkport.
Farm to Fork took its cues from the ever-burgeoning interest by parties on both sides of the table: restaurants want to serve up what is fresh and support local farmers, and guests are seeking unique experiences that mark their vacation as unique and special. Local food becomes a souvenir of flavor – a way to remember Maine in the mind and on the palate.
General Manager Tina Gordon said, “The Nonantum has always used good Maine ingredients. This is a way for us to show off the dishes that really use the best of what Maine has to offer – especially around the Kennebunks.” She went on to say,” We are really hoping to attract locals and weekend-long guests. We want to branch out and have people from town come and rediscover us.”
The dinner, created by the Nonantum’s beloved chef, Steven True, highlighted what can be ordered a la carte from the Inn’s nighty menu. Service started with a choice of house-made shrimp spring rolls and kimchee or escargot en croute, filled with snails, pine nuts, prosciutto and pesto. The entree selections were a choice between a tower of creamy, meat- filled pasta sheets comprising a lobster lasagna or a statler chicken served atop a bed of silky polenta, chard and stewed tomatoes.
The dessert was a show-stopping blueberry cheesecake brulee. The crisp graham crust was filled with a perfect combination of tart and sweet, highlighting the tanginess of the cream cheese and the flavorful blueberries. The crispy sugar crust created the ultimate foil. “I have never had it like this!” said one guest from Quebec, as she smiled. Diners cleaned their plates – a sure sign to the kitchen that the food was a success.
A repeat dinner will happen in the Autumn of 2012, with menu changes reflecting the fall season. “By that time too, you should see an abundance of produce. We will make sure we have it all on the menu.” said Manning. Each course is paired with a glass of wine, all for the price of $50 per person.
by Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons