This Saturday eight feasters were welcomed into the lovely Virginia home of our talented French chef and host. The guests arrived to freshly sliced rye bread and generous slabs of butter covered in sea salt, set out on an elegantly minimalist table. The host immediately described that he would cook the entire meal, as most of the food was best when prepared fresh, and he would then serve us. The timing of each plate was perfect, and it was great to watch him so skillfully prepare each meal while the guests chatted away. Conversation was effortless as everyone compared travel stories; their similarities in cookbook collections and three guests discovered they were practically neighbors in DC. Each meal was so unique, and because everyone would not order such adventurous meals when out, it was great to have our host guiding us through each delicacy and preparing them in such delicious ways.
The meal started with a celery root puree, with jicama and grape fruit. Soon after, freshly roasted carrots and anchovy dip were put out as finger food. I personally ate at least twelve of the full sized carrots; the sweetness of the carrots was so delicious when contrasted with the savory dip, that the platter had to be practically ripped from my fingers so that we could start the next course.
We then moved on to what the chef called a “mushroom fantasy.” With five different types of mushrooms and a flavorful mushroom broth, this was definitely my dream come true.
Next, although this was supposed to only be a six-course meal, the chef found puffer fish at eastern market and insisted on adding an extra course. The fish was delicately prepared with oil, pepper and salt, and was very mild and fall-of-the-bone tender.
We then had our from the sea course (part II!) which consisted of mackerel with blackberries and red cabbage. The plate was especially stunning, at this point in the meal I was ready to give a “best plating” award to our chef. The silver sheen of the fish contrasted so beautifully with the dark purple berries and cabbage I almost felt bad eating it.
Our “from the land” course was next, consisting of lamb, beets and raisins.
The meal ended with lychee and radishes covered in rose yogurt and graham cracker crumbs. It was very light and refreshing, keeping in the theme of the meal.
Last, cheese and apples covered in honey and pepper were passed around, a recipe I am definitely going to try at home. Everyone ended the meal fully satisfied, and in my case still dreaming of the roasted carrots. Conversation carried on very late into the night as two women at the party declared “they were the same person” and everyone raved about the amazing company they had so deeply connected with. Thanks to our amazing chef for facilitating these connections with amazing food and beautiful ambiance. What a beautiful addition to this holiday weekend!