|Recipe for Spirit of Raspberry Royal
Recipe for Molten Chocolate Cakes – Serves 4
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F spray four – 6 to 8 ounce ramekins and dust the insides with granulated white sugar. In a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside.
-With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla extract and then fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
-In a clean bowl whip the egg whites until frothy. Slowly add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and whip just until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula gently fold the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, just until incorporated. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate. -Divide the batter between the prepared molds. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the outside edges of the cakes are set but the middle still looks moist. Remove from oven and cakes can be served in the ramekins or popped out and served on a plate.
The local food movement is at the forefront of the Traverse City culinary scene. We sat down with our Executive Chef Jonathan Dayton to discusses his culinary background, his dedication to the farm to table concept and what’s instore for the culinary future at the Inn at Black Star Farms.
1. How long have you been working in the Traverse/Northern Michigan restaurant industry?
I started working in the restaurant business back in 1987 as a dishwasher at Sweitzers by the Bay. It was an easily available job in this tourist town for a high school student and I was quickly addicted to the fast pace and sense of community and family in the kitchen. I was a quick learner with a good work ethic so it wasn’t long before I was moved out of the dish pit and into prepping food and then cooking on the line. I’ve always joked that this career is one that chose me. I never went to culinary school for this chef’s life I now live. The kitchens I’ve worked in, the chefs I’ve cooked alongside and the owners that have employed me have been all I needed in this life degree. This is an ever-changing industry with new trends and techniques coming along constantly. Being a chef has been a lifelong education. I learn, see, smell or taste new things everyday I am at work. I have to evolve constantly to keep pace with it all.
2. How would you define the “local food movement?” How long have you been a part of this movement?
The attention the local food movement has been getting the last few years is nothing but positive for all involved, but keep in mind this so called “movement” has been being practiced by people and businesses for a very long time. I think the biggest difference in the last 10 years alone has to do with the availability and amount of product at hand. There has been an explosion in Northern Michigan for produce and proteins being accessible to the homeowner and restaurants like never before. The definition of this movement changes based on the consumer and what the needs for the consumer really are. Whether for yourself, a family or a business, the idea should be practiced the same throughout. Support yourself first, then your community, followed by your state and finally your country. You want to purchase any given product from a source as close to you as possible and you want this product grown or raised by methods that are healthy for the environment and humane to the animal. You also want the people who provide these services to make fair wages. Sustainability. It feels better knowing where your food comes from and I think that feeling makes it taste better. It was somewhere in the early 90’s that I really started noticing the farm to table idea catching on in local restaurants in this area. An elevated sense of pride went into each plate with the knowledge of where the food that was on it came from. This feeling is even stronger today working where I do.
3. What do you consider “best practices” that support using locally grown produce and locally raised animals?
Well the best practice to use for me is taking advantage of what is supplied from the property I work on. The beauty of Black Star Farms in a culinary sense is that what I cook revolves around the availability first and foremost of the ingredients that are outside my kitchen back door. I have the fortune of having a creamery, bakery, winery and distillery on this property, along with the raising of some of our own proteins and the harvesting of our own agriculture. However, our food service department is far too busy to be supplied by this location alone, so other than the farmers markets and food stands I shop at the best thing that has helped supply me and other Northern Michigan restaurants with locally raised and produced products is a company called Cherry Capital Foods. They focus on sales of products primarily grown and raised in the region and state. I am supplied with a weekly availability list of produce, proteins and dairy and my menu offerings are often based off of that availability. Vice versa I can tell them what it is I’m looking for and they take that knowledge back to the farmer. It’s a very unique and involved working relationship. I consider my work with them a key component to my success in supporting locally grown produce and products.
4. Do you at times find it difficult to adhere to using only local foods throughout the year? If so, what do you do to plan for the winter months when local produce is not as abundant?
It is difficult living in this place on the planet and staying true to buying local. As a chef, creatively it can get a little boring in the long months of the winter. Fresh produce is by far the hardest do deal with out. There are only so many things you can do with root vegetables. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. But with the darkness of winter come slower times. You just have to plan ahead the best you can by preserving as much as possible and filling up the freezer and pantry. With the emergence of farmers using more green houses and hoop houses the season can be extended later or started early but even then produce is difficult to find. I guess at the end of the day it comes down to the business you’ve built and what the clientele expect from it.
5. Do you believe there is a future for culinary tourism in N.Michigan? If so, does it revolve around this region’s acclaim as a local food haven?
The future for culinary tourism has already arrived. It’s been fascinating to watch and a privilege to be a part of this growth in Northern Michigan. Agriculture and tourism in this state are the second and third largest industries. People have always traveled to this area for the beauty and way of life. I believe culinary tourism has been here for some time, but I do believe a significant rise has come from the emergence of our wine industry. The wine trails, both on Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula have been essential for pulling in a whole other type of crowd, the foodie type of tourist, not only from our own state but more importantly from out of state. It’s given our region notoriety in national papers and magazines, and with the rise of the restaurant also comes the rise of the farmer. The interest from this clientele for a more creative meal and wider range of offerings has expanded the culinary industry, which then allows the farmer to grow and evolve as well.
6. What are your current and future plans in the kitchen that support this movement?
Currently during these winter months I’m buying what’s left out there of the available produce. Apples and pears are still around so preserving those for the winter. Root vegetables and squash are also still abundant and if properly stored last for months. We had a huge basil and tomato harvest in my own garden here at the farm this past summer so a lot of pesto and purees were made along with soups and sauces, they are all in the freezer for upcoming menus now. As far as the future, we are just planning on doing more. Growing more produce. Raising more animals. Taking what we have at the different times of harvest in the year and creating better ways of preserving. Trying to stretch the season out. Always thinking ahead and improving. Expanding. Always learning.
Recent proposal trends about when and where to pop the question show that women really do not want the event to take place in an elaborate setting followed by a lavish dinner. Instead they are likely to be pleased with something romantic and traditional that doesn’t break the bank.
TASTES of Black Star Farms offers all of the above and is just the right spot in Traverse City. Located in the uniquely historic Village at Grand Traverse Commons TASTES has the right ambience to make the moment memorable. Guests can start the evening off with wine sampling at the bar followed by a wonderful Matterhorn Grill dinner planned for two. TASTES offers private seating areas with warm lighting to capture the mood perfectly. After the big question a celebration is in order and can include Black Star Farms’ Be Dazzled sparkling wine paired with dessert.
Affordable, unique, and with just the right amount of room to get down on one knee, TASTES is a great location to propose. For pricing information or to make a reservation please call Kevin Culloty at 231.944.1349.
The Matterhorn Grill Dinner is a simple and traditional European-style meal of Leelanau Cheese Company’s award-winning raclette cheese melted and poured over a selection of table-top grilled meat, sausages, potatoes, seasonal vegetables, apples, and hearth-baked bread.
TASTES is open Tuesday & Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and on Sunday, noon-4 p.m. The tasting bar offers samples and retail sales of the full range of Black Star Farms’ wines. Small plates, both savory and sweet, pair well with wine samples by the glass. After 5pm, Matterhorn Grill dinners are served featuring Leelanau Cheese Company cheese and wine samples. Seating for groups of 2-18 is limited, and reservations are necessary.
It’s the holidays and that calls for a festivity or two, making this “the time of year where sparkling wine should be everywhere, on every table, and at every setting” says Lee Lutes head winemaker here at Black Star Farms. A bottle of bubbly is always a good choice when hosting or attending a party.
We recommend choosing an off-dry style that will please many palates as well as a dynamic range of dishes. Our 2009 Be Dazzled is made in this style and lends itself to being a great party wine at very affordable price. Learn more about this wine from Lee in the short video below. Save 20% on the Be Dazzled with our featured monthly coupon or pick up one of the special holiday splits available for only $8.50 in all of our tasting rooms (please note the monthly coupon doesn’t apply to these).
It’s almost all new at TASTES redeux. If you haven’t been to TASTES in the past week, you haven’t been to TASTES.
We’ve redecorated, adding more tables and stools. We have an enhanced all-day menu with new “tastes,” making TASTES the perfect spot to grab a quick bite. We can now serve larger wine samples by the glass, and our scrumptious house-made desserts are all accompanied by one of our Sirius Dessert Wines.
The tasting bar is still open with retail wine sales encouraged. Our famous Matterhorn Grill dinners are still being served up in the evening. We call it “the new fondue.” A delicious respite from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s a romantic dinner for two or a fun way to celebrate with friends. As our seating is limited, please call 231.944.1349 to make your dinner reservations.
We hope to see you soon at TASTES redeux in the Mercato at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
Redeux = to remix.
Black Star Farms Wines are Announced as American Examples of Greatness at the Jefferson Cup Invitational
Black Star Farms is proud to be part of a wine region that has repeatedly received notoriety for its quality wines and food destinations. Further adding to this notoriety the winery is honored to announce that the 2008 Leelanau Sparkling Wine and the 2009 Arcturos Riesling have earned two medals for American Examples of Greatness at the recent Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition.
Of this recognition head winemaker at Black Star Farms Lee Lutes notes, “these wines are showcase examples of what we in this region do so well. The sparkling wines only continue to improve, as we take on ever-greater knowledge of our fruit sources and sites, and the Rieslings continue to benefit from our lengthy cooler seasons and mineral driven soils. What these accolades do is reinforce so much of what we are striving for in this dynamic grape growing region.”
The Jefferson Cup Invitational is a competition founded by Doug Frost, one of only three individuals in the world to have achieved the titles of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine. Of this year’s competition Frost notes, “With 606 wines tasted there was a great diversity of wines from every quality wine producing region in the country; including representation from Washington, Michigan, Virginia and Texas as well as some standout wines from California, New York and Oregon.”
This competition is unique in that wineries’ wines are selected and invited to participate. Wines range from regions all across America. The Jefferson Cup Invitational does not award golds, silvers and the like. Rather, the invited wines have all proven their excellence in competitions and tastings throughout the last year. The intent and belief of the competition is that these are wines that are extremely deserving of the nation’s attention.
This year’s judges included the following industry luminaries: Wayne Belding MS (past Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers and a Boulder, Colorado wine merchant), Laura dePasquale MS (one of the world’s few female Master Sommeliers), Ellen Landis (proprietress of Landis Shores Resort at California’s Half Moon Bay and long time California wine competition judge), Bob Foster (writer, The California Grapevine), Mendel Kohn (a San Francisco based industry professional and wine and spirits judge), Doug Frost MS, MW (author and consultant), Robert Noecker (a Midwestern wholesaler and thirty year veteran of the wine industry), Jeff Miller (a Kansas distributor of two and a half decades experience), Guy Stout MS (Texas-based Southern Wine Spirits education director), and Joyce Angelos (a Missouri wholesaler and industry veteran of twenty-five years).
The Jefferson Cup Invitational has celebrated its eleventh year as the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of America’s wine regions. Each year select great wines from across America are selected; the 2010 competition included wines from twenty-one states. Best of all, this year’s Jefferson Cup coincided with the sixth annual fundraiser for Angel Flight Central, a charity that gives support for private pilots offering travel to people in medical emergencies. The Jefferson Cup fundraisers raised more than $90,000 for Angel Flight this year.
The Omnibus Liquor Bill that was vetoed earlier this fall has finally been signed and put into action. This is great news for anyone involved in the wine and spirits industry as the bill has many benefits. Read below to learn more about the bill from our managing partner Don Coe, who was instrumental in getting this bill on the table and passed.
What is this bill called and where can others find information on it?
It is the Omnibus Liquor Bill and the actual bill number is HB 6224. Information about the bill can be found on the Michigan Information (MIRS) website.
How long have you and others been advocating for this bill?
What exactly does this bill permit?
There are several different provisions to the bill they include:
- The ability for MI wineries to charge for tastings at their tasting rooms, without a food requirement.
- The ability for MI wineries to host off-site tastings at retail stores across the state.
- The ability for MI wineries to apply for a license for Sunday morning and Christmas sales.
- MI distillers being able to sample and sell spirits at offsite tasting rooms.
- Allowing MI restaurants to provide the spirits at a catering event.
Why did the governor originally veto the bill?
The governor opposed the amount of wine poured at the off-site retail tastings, that being 3 three oz samples. This is a large amount that she would like to see made smaller. She also opposed the provision which would have allowed MI restaurants to provide spirits at a catered event. She felt that this provision impacted upon the business of MI retailers who supply the spirits and would like the individual who is hosting the event to have to purchase the spirits directly from a retail store.
After 3 years of commuting to Lansing from Traverse City to advocate for this bill, Mr. Coe is no doubt very pleased and eager to see these provisions put into action. The one he is most excited about pertains to small Michigan distillers having the opportunity to introduce their products to consumers at offsite tasting locations. “This will lead to increased exposure of the spirits as well as an increase in the demand for them at independent retailers. This is very exciting for all of us involved in the spirits industry,” notes Coe. On the homestretch, we are now waiting for approval from the township and county governments where our tasting rooms are located to begin sampling the spirits at all of our tasting rooms. For now if you are interested in trying any of our spirits they are available at our Old Mission tasting room only. Stay tuned for an update on when they will be at all of our sites.
|DonCoyote99:||Nice active bead #bsfbubbly|
|bstar2009:||Love this! RT@whavill: I taste green apple as well with a hint of happy #bsfbubbly|
|DonCoyote99:||Extra dry style at least, great acidity and intensity #bsfbubbly|
Bubbles make everyday special…that’s what we think as well as those who participated in last week’s Sparkling Wine Twitter tasting (Tues. Nov. 16th). The tasting featured two new bubbly vintages, including our 2010 Be Dazzled and our 2010 Bubbly Nouveau. The wines are very different in style and taste. Some of the featured comments are posted above. For a more complete look at what transpired that evening take a look at the transcript here. There were 307 tweets and 24 participants. Michigan By The Bottle also posted a great re-cap video just after the tasting. Take a look at their video below.
Howard W. Hewitt newspaper columnist and blogger of Grape Sense – A Glass Half Full visited us this summer to learn more about the Michigan Wine Industry. On his trip Mr. Hewitt found that he was pleasantly surprised…Read more of what he has to say in this great article posted on Palate Press, The Online Wine Magazine.
Let us help you make your holidays easy and fun this year. Start planning your wine selection early with our top five suggestions below.
Sparkling, light-bodied semi-dry fruit wine – $10.00/bottle
This Hard Cider boasts a refreshing spirit that is bubbling over with the flavor of fresh, crisp apples! The familiarity and vibrancy of this wine set the stage for a festive holiday gathering. It is also wonderful when mulled. Pair with appetizers, salads, and turkey.
Complex, medium-bodied dry red wine – $25.00/bottle
A beautiful ruby color invites you to the bright aroma and taste of ripe berries and roasted, spicy oak. An elegant and soft Pinot Noir with enough versatility to go with everything from hors d’oeuvres to the main dish.
Complex medium-bodied semi-dry white wine- $16.50/bottle
This wine is floral and spicy on the nose with ripe stone fruit flavors on the palate. It will pair beautifully with an assortment of flavors, spices, and white meats.
4. Be Dazzled
Light-bodied dry sparkling wine – $12.50/bottle
A fun sparkling wine with fresh and crisp fruit flavors followed by an off dry finish. This is a great one to have around for the unexpected toast.
Complex full-bodied sweet dessert wine – $18.50/bottle
This wine is the true essence of Northern Michigan pears. Highly aromatic and full of rich fruit flavors, it is a decadent treat! Upon the first sip you will be rewarded with a vanilla-like pear flavor that is then complimented by the smooth brandy finish. It will pair wonderfully with fall inspired baked goods.