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Playing with Fire!

We Came. We Saw. We Ate & Drank.

A Smoking’ Good Time! Chefs “Play with Fire” August 11, Hudson NY. With Zak Pelaccio (center in white hat) and team

A damp day and mud on our shoes didn’t stop us from heading to Fish & Game Farm in Hudson, NY Zak Pelaccio’s “Play with Fire” outdoor feast and music fest. Presented with Resy and Ketel One Vodka, this event combined open-fire cooking from visiting chefs, live music from an amazing band called Club d’Elf, badass Ketel One cocktails by Elad Zvi (Broken Shaker) and Yana Volfson (ATLA and Cosme) and some terrific natural wines from  Critical Mass Selections, Goatboy Selections, Zev Rovine Selection, Fifi Imports and Rosenthal Wines. This event benefited The Heirloom Foundation which helps employees of the hospitality industry deal with quality of life and other work-related issues.

Seamus Mullen with a giant pan of pork and snail paella. The the sweet surprise was the inclusion of fresh figs.

The food was all locally sourced, from Fish & Game’s smoked pork (Zak Pelaccio) and pork and snail paella (Seamus Mullen, El Colmado and Whirlybird + Greens) and corn-husked wrapped bluefin tuna with olives (Victoria Blamey) to heads of flame- licked cauliflower (Cortney Burns, TOURISTS wit Elise Kornack) and grilled peaches with candied cherry tomatoes with honey-chamomile ice cream. Oddest dish was, and we’re going to try it at home because we loved it: grilled whole kirby cucumbers.

Roasted cucumbers by the chef team at Estela,
Cafe Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar

The Ketel One cocktails also used locally sourced fruits.

“B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe” Ketel One cocktail
created by Elad Zvi, Broken Shaker

 

Blackberry Bramble Ketel One cocktail
Perfect for blackberry season! Evan Sung photo

This is only the second Play with Fire event that Zak has produced. The last one was four years ago, and we hope it will continue. One of the most striking things about this event were the one-of-a-kind grilling stations at each cooking tent- actually works of art- created by Hudson Valley sculptor, Kris Perry.

Congratulations to Zak and his team and thank you to the chefs, sponsors and donors. Great idea for an event and for a good cause!

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The Spirits Guru of Gardiner, New York

For 25

years “on the rocks” meant climbing the ‘Gunks in New York’s Hudson Valley and managing rock climbing gyms in New York City for native New Yorker Ralph Erenzo. These days it has a new meaning  for him as Co-Founder of Tuthilltown Distillery, located on a former gristmill in the verdant Gardiner countryside just a short

drive from where we live.

Ralph purchased the land, conveniently located near the base of the Shawangunk Mountains, a rock climbing mecca, originally to set up a climbers campground. Fate and nosy neighbors intervened and these plans did not happen. Left with a large amount of land and no business plan, Ralph did his research. He found the best solution was to secure an agriculture license. Doing more research he decided to build a distillery, joining up with business partner, Brian Lee in 2003 to establish one of the first distilleries in New York State since Prohibition. Two years later they produced their first small batches of vodka made from discarded apples from nearby orchards. Today Tuthilltown has many brands including our favorite, Hudson Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey.

spirits-fourgrain1

We remember our first visit to the small distillery; today the compound has grown to several buildings and Tuthillhouse Restaurant.

Photo: www.drinksbusiness.com
Photo: www.drinksbusiness.com

Tuthilltown’s a game changer in the Hudson Valley. Through his lobbying efforts in Albany, Ralph is widely credited with helping to bring back small batch production to the region. Last weekend we attended the Straight Up New York Crafts Spirits Festival at Black Dirt Distillery in Orange County. Many of the newer distillers we met at Straight Up New York credit Ralph for their move into the business. His work at the State level resulted in the passage of the Farm Distillery Act which permits New York farms to establish distilleries on site and sell their agricultural spirits at the farm.

Ralph joined The Connected Table LIVE July 13, on W4CY.com t share his story. Listen here iHeart.com and

the free iHeart App.

Ralph Erenzo at the Straight Up New York Craft Distilling Festival in New York's Hudson Valley
Ralph Erenzo at the Straight Up New York Craft Distilling Festival in New York’s Hudson Valley

Melanie Young and David Ransom are the insatiably curious culinary couple. Connected on Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/connectedtable. Instagram.com/theconnectedtable. Learn more at www.theconnectedtable.com

Our mission is to engage and connect our audiences to the diverse world of food, fine beverage and hospitality and the dynamic people who help shape it through our shows, digital media and educational events. All of our 50 minute shows and SIPS! podcasts can be heard anytime  on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.

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Ashby Marshall Goes Grain to Glass At Spirit Works Distillery

Though the profession of wine making has had a fairly large contingent of women at the helm for decades, the spirits making game has long been male dominated, and it’s only recently that women have started turn their eye towards running a still. And, while we may be able to only count female distillers on a hand or two, the list is growing, with more women jumping in the distillation game than ever before.

Ashby Marshall in Distillery
Ashby Marshall

Ashby Marshall, distiller and co-owner of Sonoma County California’s Spirit Works Distillery is one of them, and she’s making some wonderful and unique products in her Sebastopol distillery. Not least, is a Sloe Gin, one of only a few made in the U.S. (or world, for that matter), and a testament to a longtime heritage on her husband’s side of family time spent gathering Sloe berries in coastal England to make their own version.

Ashby and Timo Marshal with Bandit
Ashby and Timo Marshal with Bandit

Of course that’s not all she makes, Ashby’s growing list of products includes a Vodka, two other Gin interpretations, (including a barrel-aged), and two Straight Whiskies: a Rye and Wheat. In keeping with Ashby’s and husband Timo’s ideals (they were both in environmental non-profit work when they met), The Spirit Works utilizes a Grain–to-Glass policy, using only California-grown organic Red Winter Wheat to make their spirits, and control everything – milling, fermenting, distilling, and bottling – at their facility. A rarity these days among the ever growing segment of “craft” spirits brands, so many of which are custom-labeled or finished, but initially come from industrial-sized custom spirits-making facilities.

ALL THE BOTTLES ON A BENCH

Ashby Marshall joins us Wednesday March 23, 2pmET on The Connected Table LIVE!  We can’t wait to talk to her about her wonderful spirits and her vision, and hopefully her take on the future of women in distilling. Tune in live www.W4CY.com. LIsten anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart App.

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Twitter: @spiritworks

Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple

 

Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple who connected you to the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.  www.theconnectedtable.com