|Pepper Jelly Gift Set|
With Autumn now in full swing I thought that it was an appropriate time to think about our busy summer and look forward to some of our immediate plans for the new season.
In the last post we explored the sweet world of honey and we have a couple of further words on the subject. First, Avanti’s founder and a new and enthusiastic bee keeper, Doug Slocum has harvested his first honey from his own hives. A few of his friends were lucky enough to receive a little sample of his “first fruits.” It posses a rich golden color, slightly floral favor with a little bit of spice on the aftertaste. (Have I been writing too much copy or what)? Who knows, maybe some day we will be able to offer you our own line of organic Avanti Savoia honey. Stay tuned.
Also in the same post I shared with you a relatively true story about the honey finding ability of my Choctaw grandfather. It seems that my story about him being able to spot a honey bee and follow all the way to the hive was only partially accurate. My favorite uncle, G.R. Lowery of Dallas, Texas (and a proud member of the Choctaw Nation, as well) was pleased with the story, but set me straight on the exact procedure. He should know; he was actually present for the events. It was not just one bee that the old Native American gentleman followed, but a series of them.
The way he actually did it was by setting out a bait of very thick sugar water poured into one of those old fashioned ceramic canning lids. A bee would be drawn to the bait and after having its fill would then take off for the hive. It was that point that my grandfather would jump up and follow as long as he could with my (then) young uncle in tow. When he lost sight of the first bee, he would again set out his bait, attract another bee and follow it. He repeated this procedure until at last he found his hive. I do appreciate knowing the exact details.
Let me share just one last honey note before moving on. Recently we hosted several friends for a small dinner. Knowing full well that my friends were vegans, I had designed the menu accordingly. Although in the process I displayed my ignorance about vegans, I did learn something which is always a good thing. We whipped up a beautiful salad straight from the garden and dressed it with the Honey Vinaigrette recipe from the last post. I was very proud of the purity of the salad and dressing to offer to my health conscious friends. Paolo Cassini Gran Cru Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aceteria Merlino Honey Vinegar, Fleur de Sel Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Peppercorns. Simple, clean, perfect dressing except… vegans do not eat honey! I was able to quickly prepare an alternative and was inspired to educate myself on the concepts and precepts of vegans.
La Cucina at Avanti Savoia:
In the last 30 some odd years I have taught at several cooking schools and programs, but I had never been in charge of organizing an entire program myself. Well, I suppose I can now take that one off my bucket list. To begin with, there is the chore of designing and furnishing a demonstration kitchen that is suited to cooking classes. Doug and Ben outdid themselves in the design department and personally performed all sorts of construction tasks. Of course, I had an absolute blast in purchasing all the proper equipment for our new Batterie de Cuisine. What chef would not be thrilled to outfit a brand new kitchen with his or her own selections of tools, gadgets and machines? Now, I certainly can’t complain about the quality of my tools can I?
Next came planning the individual classes (mine and the other instructors), scheduling in harmony with the other business demands of Avanti Savoia, marketing, and the actual recipes and format for each of the classes. Believe me, if you find yourself attending quality cooking classes anywhere, rest assured that there has been many, many hours invested in the experience beyond the two or so hours that you attend the class. It is however, a labor of love.
|Everyone enjoying the BBQ Shrimp|
Contests and Events:
International Biscuit Festival
We had a great time participating in the first “International Biscuit Festival.” The talented chefs from the famed Blackberry Farms provided an amazing brunch in a beautiful outdoor setting. There was also a biscuit bakeoff where we managed to take a third place for our “Big Island Biscuit.” A quality “foodie” event, delicious food and lots of new friends; what could be nicer?
Avanti on TV
Our local NBC affiliate TV station WBIR recently visited Avanti Savoia. Check out their interview with Ben and Chef Joseph on their program Live at Five at Four.
Avanti Savoia is a proud sponsor of the Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. We would appreciate your vote for the Dogwood Plan for Art in Public Places.
The Holidays are coming:
We always love the holidays and new exciting products are beginning to arrive daily. This year we want to help make your gift giving plans a little easier with a wonderful assortment of Holiday Ensembles available in attractive wooden gift boxes at a wide range of prices. Chef Joseph and our terrific photographer, Bruce Cole had a great time selecting, preparing, styling and photographing our delicious products. Call Chef Joseph for uniquely customized gifts collections, as well.
As always, Bon Appetit Y’all!