Monday, April 22, 2013

Flower and Garden Fest 2013: Round Three

Another weekend, another afternoon of yumminess! And I have to say, I am loving some of the lighter menus, highlighting the produce and falling in step with one's desire to eat brighter, fresher flavors after a winter of hearty dining.

My third trip through the fest started with something sweet and something to drink.


Verrine Charlotte au Peches (caramelized peaches and rosemary and light vanilla cream). La Vie Rose Frozen Slush (Grey Goose Vodka Orange, St. Germain Liquor, white and red cranberry juices).

At first bite, the verrine shocked my palette a little bit. The rosemary was *very* evident. It took a little while, but I adjusted to its presence, and this was a pleasant, well-balanced little treat. Going layer by layer, the vanilla cream was actually heavier in consistency than I expected--I was thinking whipped cream but it was more like frosting. The caramel was thinner, more like a sauce, then there was a layer of light sponge cake with a little more cream, and finally on the bottom, the peaches in their juice. It was a bit decadent, for what was essentially "peaches and cream," but that's no complaint. You only live once! And on that note, I also went for the slush. Excellent flavors. Bright and clean. The menu claims red and white cranberry juices, but it tasted more like grapefruit to me. Also not a complaint.

After confusing my mouth with two very diffrent treats, I decided to take it "old school" with something totally straightforward.


Waterkist Farms Heirloom Tomatoes with House-Made Mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and Basil.

These are some of my most favorite flavors in the whole world. You cannot possibly go wrong with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and vinegar. It needs no more dressing up than a little sprinkle of salt and pepper. I could make a whole meal of this during the hot summer months. (C'mon, little tomato plants at home, grow grow grow!) The only thing I might have changed here would be to either slice that red onion a little thinner or change it out for some shallots instead. Onion is always a potent flavor for me, so I like to make it as subtle as possible. I only ate a couple small pieces because I didn't want to be tasting onion in everything else I ate.

Off in search of more, the next menu that lured me in was...


Watermelon Salad with Pickled Red Onions, BW Baby Arugula, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction. Hot Sun Tomato Wine, Florida Orange Groves. 40 Karat Carrot Wine, Florida Orange Groves.

I was feeling a little adventurous this time. I wasn't at all sure what to expect from *any* of it! Feta, watermelon, pickled onion and balsamic? Not at all flavors I would ever think to group together. But I was game. And it was worth it! There were no onions left in this dish. There was *nothing* left in this dish, actually. That crazy pile of randomness worked in perfect unison. And there was enough there to play with making various unique combinations of ingredients. Where there was something left was in those glasses. They were...odd. The one on the left is the carrot wine. The only way I can describe it is that it tastes like some hybrid between a dry white and an earthy red: looks like a white, starts like a white, finishes like you licked a cellar floor like a red, but without the fuzzy mouth. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it was just strange. The darker wine was the tomato wine. It was like...clear V-8 with an acid finish. It actually burned in the back of my throat for a while after a sip. I drank maybe half of each. Verdict: I like experiments with various fruit wines but you can keep the veggie wines. If forced to finish one, I would have opted for the carrot. (Thankfully, no one was forcing me.)

Moving right along to something hopefully more appealing to cleanse the taste.


Panna Cotta al Limoncello (Limoncello flavored panna cotta with wild berries). White Peach Bellini.

First, the panna cotta. I am a sucker for anything raspberry, especially paired with lemon. The lemon was super subtle, not at all overpowering. The panna cotta was simultaneously creamy and a bit gelatinous (in a good way!) with tiny shavings of lemon peel. There were some slightly smashed-and-juicy raspberries hiding out at the bottom, and of course those two beauties on top! Light flavors, light texture -- just right for a warm-weather dessert! And then I sat back with my bellini. There weren't as many bubbles as the rossini from round two or the Desert Rose from round one. The server stirred the prosecco after adding it to the peaches and syrup. I would have preferred a smidge more effervescence, but really, I wasn't disappointed. I started the round with peaches and then I ended it that way. Full circle, full tummy.

Ahhhh, that was a much better way to end the day! I think one more round will tackle everything on my list. I'm certainly ready to give it my best effort!

2 with their own thoughts:

Janet Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:26:00 PM  

mmm, that peach dessert you described in the beginning sounds amazing!!! Oh, and the St. Germain Liquor tastes of grapefruit, among other things :-)

~**Dawn**~ Thursday, April 25, 2013 3:50:00 PM  

Ah ha! grapefruit mystery solved! Thanks, Janet! =)

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