Slow Food South Sound celebrated Terra Madre Day with a special edition harvest dinner at the Brasserie Restaurant on Saturday, 10 December.
Terra Madre – or Mother Earth – Day is an event created by Italy-based Slow Food International to celebrate local food cultures and sustainable dining worldwide. Slow Food South South joined more than 800 groups in 120 countries in celebrating this year’s event, which occurs annually on 10 December.
In addition to being the group’s Terra Madre Day event, the harvest dinner served as the annual members’ appreciation event, which is supported by membership fees.
Sixty-three members and guests attended the Terra Madre Day event at the Brasserie, which was a take-off on the restaurant’s regular seasonal harvest dinners.
Slow Food South Sound convivium leader Alan Markoff said holding the Terra Madre Day event at the Brasserie was a logical choice.
“The Brasserie was the first fine-dining restaurant on Grand Cayman to really embrace the usage of locally grown produce,” he said. “In addition, by owning their own fishing boats, the Brasserie ensures it always has a supply of fresh fish. Slow Food philosophies heavily promote the usage of local ingredients and that’s what the Brasserie does every day of the year.” This event started in the restaurant’s garden area with Cayman passion fruit Bellinis and passed hors d’oeuvres, which included local conch salad and yellowfin tuna tacos on coconut bread.
Brasserie Executive Chef Brad Phillips said the tuna had been caught on the Brasserie’s fishing boat – the Brasserie Catch – only five hours before it was served.
The next two courses of the harvest dinner were served inside the restaurant and included items either grown in the Brasserie’s gardens or sourced from other local farmers. Some of the dishes included chilled zucchini soup and smoked pork belly flatbread. There was also a variety of fresh vegetables and ground provisions such as sweet potato puree, bok choi, crispy cassava, local pumpkin with Cayman honey; South Sound plantain; and sautéed garden chard.
Main courses included Certified Angus Beef Ribeyes that were slow-roasted in a Caja China Box. Also served were Cayman sea salt dough-baked snappers, which were whole snappers baked inside salted bread dough and then opened up right before serving to reveal the moist and tender fish inside.
The courses were served family style at large tables, something Mr. Markoff said was important.
“Another key Slow Food philosophy is taking pleasure in food,” he said. “Dining is something that is much more pleasurable when done in the good company of others. One of the attractions for me of the regular Brasserie harvest dinners is that they are served at two long tables that remind me of a celebratory gathering of family or friends. I think everyone enjoyed the familial feel of the event.”
Slow Food members returned outside to the garden area, where desserts like local citrus tarts and sticky toffee pudding with garden papaya were served, along with after-dinner drinks.
The wines and the after-dinner drinks were provided by BlackBeard’s, which continued its strong support for the Slow Food Group. Wines served during dinner included Louis Jadot Meursault and Bryon “Bien Nacido Vineyard” Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley in California, a little-known wine that impressed. With dessert, guests had a choice between Concha y Toro late harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Chile or 12-year-old rum from Ron Abuelo in Panama.
The event marked the second year in a row Slow Food South Sound celebrated Terra Madre Day at the Brasserie restaurant, Mr. Markoff said.
“This year, December 10th came out on a Saturday, when the Brasserie is usually closed,” he said. “I’m grateful that they opened up for us; the group had a wonderful time. Since the Terra Madre Day harvest dinners at the Brasserie have been so popular, I’m looking forward to coming back again next year.”