Hi guys! Tuesday Tip is on vacation this week so I can talk about the event that Scott and I attended last night.
Scott and I are extremely bad about exploring our surroundings. When we get some free time, usually the first thing we do is put on our jammies and chill. We decided that starting this year, we were going to get out more and see what Columbus has to offer. And as a food blogger, I’m very interested in the food scene. Not just in terms of trying new restaurants, but also trying to eat more locally grown products, learning where the food I’m eating came from, and how someone decided to prepare a particular dish. What exactly am I eating and why, is what it boils down to.
When I read the description for last night’s event put on by The Hills Market, this was exactly the type of thing I was looking for. A chance to meet others in the area and also learn about locally grown products. It was also our first time visiting The Hills and we will be making some stops back! We attended the Earth Week Feast which featured local ingredients and wine to go with each course. You know this is right up my alley!
The Hills Market is a cute little grocery store nestled into a lovely shopping plaza. We walked in and looked around for a bit before signing in. After signing in, we were presented with a glass of sparkling wine. Yes! The quickest way to my heart is handing me some wine as soon as I walk in the door. The wine was presented by Constance, the wine guru at The Hills.
She was lovely enough to pose for a picture! That’s the sparkling wine that she’s holding and it’s a Blanc ‘I’Heureu Reserva Brut’ Cava by Raventos.
There’s my date holding our glasses. He’s so handsome. I was very surprised by this sparkling wine. Usually I find Bruts can be a bit harsh on the tongue sometimes, but this was light and fizzy and very smooth. A little too smooth — it didn’t take me long to polish off my glass!
Since the weather was uncooperative yesterday, we ate inside the store. Our table was set up in the wine section creating a very lovely backdrop. Not only did it go with the theme of the evening but it provided a chance to peruse the wines during dinner.
The centerpieces on the table were fantastic because they were made with food! It made my heart smile when I realized this. There was asparagus, portobella, kale, and radishes mixed in with the flowers. So cute and such a great idea for a dinner party.
Scott and I picked our seats and I immediately started scanning the menu. The website did have the menu listed but this menu gave a little bit more detail including where the ingredients came from. Score! I love that! I think it would be such a great idea if restaurants adopted this policy as well. Explain where your ingredients come from, it makes a world of difference.
The wine list for the evening. Listing each wine, what course it goes with, and the price. Click the image to check it out!
There was bread to be had, mmmm bread. Again I loved this! It’s like all my favorite restaurant things rolled up into a nice little package just for me! Bread brought out so you have something to pick at while you look over the menu and chat with your dining companion is a necessity to me. Doesn’t that basket of carby goodness look awesome?
I picked what seemed to be a wheat or multigrain bread. The slice was huge! It was very nutty and fluffy, perfect for scooping up the last bits of salad dressing.
Scott picked at mine and also had a roll, perhaps an egg roll? Very buttery and soft.
Folks started trickling in and pretty soon we were being served. Constance came around and poured us some wine for the first course.
This was Domaine de Pouy 2006 White by Gascogne. It was a very light white but to me it sort of had a spicy depth to it on the finish. I liked it a great deal! This complimented the salad very well.
Locally grown red leaf lettuce which is very delicate and makes for a great starter salad. Since it’s not a heavy lettuce, it doesn’t weigh you down leaving you full before the main entree arrives! It was topped with local bacon, local smoked cheddar, granny smith apples, and a balsamic and chianti dressing. The wine was local as well! The apples were not local and that was explained to us as we were served the salad. They tried though and that’s what is important to me. This salad was awesome and all the flavors paired well together. The smoked cheddar was exceptional. I was a bit nervous about that as I’ve tried smoked cheddar before and typically find myself not being a fan. This was done very well though. The dressing was light and flavorful but not overpowering. I’ve never had dressing made with wine before so I am going to have to try my own recreation!
The last wine of the evening to go with the main course was a nice light red. It had a really great aroma to it and did not sit heavy on the tongue at all. Sometimes I find that reds can do that, so much so they leave you with a purple tongue! Not this wine, it was very airy. It was Betsy’s Backacher by Spann Vineyards and it was a blend wine. Constance mentioned that they even used different vintages to make up this wine.
The main course was overflowing! I was totally impressed with the amount of food and the spread that was served. You could easily smell it before it was in front of you, which is always a good thing.
There were three parts to this meal. Let’s start with the sides.
There was parsley garlic fettuccini from a local pasta company that was dressed with olive oil, basil and also had grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, also from a local company. The fettuccini was a very perfect shade of green and had great flavor. Just enough to let you know that you weren’t eating just ordinary pasta. The grape tomatoes were warmed through just till popping, bringing out their natural sweetness and the mozzarella was perfectly melted.
We also had roasted asparagus in a brown butter sauce with grated hardboiled eggs and capers. The butter and the eggs were local but the asparagus was not. Due to weather, local asparagus was not ready yet. Loved the asparagus! It’s one of my favorite vegetables and I always look forward to a chance to eat some. The capers and eggs provided a nice texture and twist. The eggs were creamy while the capers came in nice salty little bursts.
And last, the star of the show, stuffed chicken breasts! Look at how huge it is, goodness! Local Amish chicken stuffed with spinach, roasted garlic, and goat cheese which was also local. YUM! The garlic and goat cheese stood out, making the spinach so creamy and flavorful. It was a great accompaniment to the chicken which was tender with just a hint of extra seasoning.
The plate all together.
You can see how everything compliments each other in terms of presentation. The colors stand out and it’s no surprise there’s lots of green since it’s Earth Day Feast! My plate was overflowing so I was not able to eat everything. Plus I was saving room for ice cream! Thankfully they were kind enough to provide me a doggie bag for the leftovers.
Maple is one of my favorite flavors and I was bouncing up and down with excitement knowing that was part of the dessert this evening! The ice cream was made by a local creamery in Pomeroy, OH called Snowville Creamery. They are also on Twitter! Scott and I were lucky enough to sit next to the folks from Snowville last night!
Jen and Warren. They talked to us about the business and how they make their products. Sadly they don’t sell their ice cream, they just make it for fun at events such as the Earth Day Feast and other local events. The only thing in the “ice cream” was cream and cane sugar. That’s it!
Dessert was heaven. Ice cream drizzled with local maple syrup along with chocolate peanut brittle also from a local company. The ice cream was smooth and very soft. So yummy, and the cane sugar had crystallized a little bit giving it an additional texture. I ate the whole bowl. I did bring the extra peanut brittle home though, that was just a bit too much sugar for me to handle! :p
The entire event was so well done! Scott and I learned a lot about local producers in the area, we got a chance to explore a new store, and we got to meet new people and make new connections. A huge thanks to everyone at The Hills for putting this together! I can’t wait to attend another event!
Which will be soon because they always have things going on such as classes and tastings. There are wine tastings every Friday evening and events all year long. I heard a rumor from Warren and Jen about a Beer Float Social that is coming up. Beer and ice cream, who can turn that down?!
Jill is the Marketing Director at The Hills and I got to chat with her a bit last night. Unfortunately it wasn’t until I was on my way home that I realized I should have taken a picture! Next time, Jill! She helps create these awesome events and spreads the word about The Hills Market. There is a newsletter that you can sign up for on the website to receive information about upcoming events and coupons. And you can follow them on Twitter!!
Thanks guys for such an great time, we can’t wait to come back!