So once again Renato and I found ourselves at Holbrook Farm on a sunny Sunday evening for a farm to table dinner, this time presented by Stanziato's Wood Fired Pizza (our favorite Danbury pizza spot). Stanziato's sources as many ingredients locally as possible and has long been a supporter of Holbrook Farm. It only seemed natural that one day they would do a farm to table dinner at the farm.
And, you couldn't have asked for a better scene: sunny skies, moderate temps and the lovely faint scent of charring wood carried in the breeze. The live music of Fattie Roots definitely contributed to the positive, mellow vibe of the evening.
As we walked over to the drinks table I saw they offered a few non-alcoholic choices as well as wine and beer. I don't know about you, but when I'm having pizza I clearly need beer, quality beer. There were two equally worthy beer choices for guests: City Steam Naughty Nurse Amber Ale (Hartford) and Dogfish Head 90 min IPA (Delaware).
The dinner opened with a chilled organic tomato and avocado soup topped with cucumber served in a champagne flute. The soup was creamy thanks to the avocado, but the taste was just all about amazingly fresh tomatoes. The crunch of the minced cucumber was a refreshing burst in contrast to the creamy soup. Really nice start to the meal.
The second course was a chopped vegetable salad with green goddess dressing and local cheese served family style. The dressing was very light, just enough to coat the veggies so their freshness was the focus. And that's the point, being able to taste the freshness. Stanziato's always makes a killer salad. I love a good salad.
The third course was a plated appetizer of roasted butternut squash with roasted cauliflower and hazelnuts and celery root with sweet corn and broccoli. This tasted like a blend of late summer and early fall. On one side you had the earthy, sweet, nutty Fall (squash, cauliflower and hazelnuts) while on the other side you had a late burst of summer accented by the crisp, sweet corn and the greenness of the broccoli.
Then ... drum roll, please ... it was time for pizza. Stanziato chef owner Matt Stanczak was a pizza making machine. Every time I looked over at the mobile wood-fired pizza oven he was still standing there, putting in another pie. For those of you unfamiliar with the deliciousness that is a pizza from Stanziato's: These are individual-sized (12-inch round) artisan style pizzas. One pizza yields four small pieces - enough for a taste for four people.
With that in mind, the 80+ guests on the farm this evening sampled four different pizzas. Pizza #1 was a margherita, that classic combo of fresh mozzarella, basil and a light tomato sauce. Pizza #2 was topped with thinly sliced zucchini and summer squash. Pizza #3 was loaded with crispy bacon and ribbons of fresh spinach with a balsamic drizzle. Pizza #4 had chicken sausage, broccoli and goat cheese topped by a tomato drizzle. As usual, the crust was thin and crispy with just a little char on the edge. Each pizza was delicious, but as you might have guessed my favorite was (of course) the bacon pizza. It was smoky, salty and touched with the sweetness of the balsamic drizzle. The fresh spinach on top cut through the richness of the bacon so it didn't weigh down your taste buds.
Overall it was another great evening on the farm with a constant flow of good food and drink over good conversation with friends new and old.
iPhone photos by Renato Ghio