I suppose that my last post was a bit of a spoiler… but I was so excited to be invited to attend the Cochon Heritage Fire event hosted by Cuvée Restaurant last weekend. It was held in a shady glen by the River Terrace Inn overlooking the Napa River. Cochon 555 was created by Taste Network’s Brady Lowe in 2009 to educate people about heritage breeds and to introduce them to sources that support a more natural, sustainable food system. The national tour of wild tail-to-snout cooking competitions are the big draw, but the Heritage Fire is the 2nd largest event which features wood-fired whole animal theatre cooking by 14 chefs, a butcher demonstration, and family-owned wineries, craft beers and spirits. This fellow was dripping and sizzling over hot coals when we arrived. Whole-Truffled Pig from Early Bird Ranch in Pescadero studded with Perigord black truffles by Todd Spanier from King of Mushrooms.
Look at the size of the mushroom!
Goats and Lambs spitted and cooking over coals.
It was quite a show to see these being broken down, chopped up and then eventually served on plates, a carnivorous feast! I might add that there were booths of local wineries and breweries sharing their quaffables which made for a very festive time.
Rabbit haunches cooking over hot coals. Didn’t see any lucky rabbits feet…
We began with Coniglio in Crosta, Tuscan inspired Devil’s Gulch Rabbit stuffed with Mortadella, Prosciutto and Pancetta and bundled in Model Bakery Baguette, from Kim Wiss Antica, Napa Valley. This was served with a side of lightly dressed fresh greens and was one of our favorites. So flavorful!
The truffle stuffed Berkshire pig was sliced up and served with a rich pungent truffle sauce. We scooped up every last drop.
Roasted Jerk Goat with spicy peach catsup and hoecakes, by Andrew Zimmerman from Sepia Restaurant in Chicago. I loved the spicy flavors of the tender succulent fatty flesh.
Beef Tartare, or Tuscan Style Beef Sushi on Bread which was served by – Lars Kronmark of Culinary Institute of America. There was a trio of heritage breads including bruschetta with tomato and later a delectably buttery cinnamon toast.
2012 Grand Cochon Winner, Jason Vincent of Nightwood in Chicago made whole Albacore Tuna roasted over fire, with pasilla negra, pico de gallo. queso fresca and slices of avocado tacos. Bright flavors and rich juicy fish served on freshly made grilled tortillas. The coolest thing? The chef was just chilling behind the table, slicing avocados and giving people pointers on how to assemble their taco.
The bacon wrapped figs were gooey and delicious
Whole roasted California Chinook Salmon from I Love Blue Sea, glazed with Vietnamese black pepper caramel sauce made from Red Boat Fish Sauce served with green papaya, white peach and green mango salad from John Fink The Whole Beast, in San Francisco
Lars Kronmark CIA Greystone, St. Helena made BBQ’d Oysters. Beautiful to behold and so slurpable.
Brick-Fired Chicken of Awesome, belcampo chicken cooked under foil wrapped bricks served with a smoked meyer lemon salsa verde, by Ronnie New of Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, San Francisco. It had such a fine aroma and was very finger licking good.
Spicy Thai and Cheddar Smoked Sausage with compressed watermelon and thai basil mint by Chef Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji. Bright and refreshing flavors that complemented each other, especially with the Magnolia beer.
Dave the Butcher, of Marina Meats in San Francisco, was the frontman of a highly entertaining butcher demonstration, they used an arsenal of equipment that included cleavers, a variety of knives, mallets, and hacksaws. I think all of them were wearing chain link toolbelts that were dangling with gear. It was amazing to see the mounds of lardo… so much meat from one pig!
It was a beautiful day with a slight Autumn chill, we had a great time watching an amazing display of animal cookery and sampling so many dishes of grilled heritage meats and products. The reveling continued afterwards at the restaurant and with brunch the next morning…