Ode To The Olive

Ode to Olive Oil
January 19 at 6PM
Olive Tasting, Dinner and Wine flight
Chef Shane Touhy of  Dogwood Restaurant
Producer Lorenzo Fasola Bologna of Monte Vibiano vineyards
Tim and Alice Mills of Mills Farms
joined for an olive oil tasting, medley of amuse-bouches, four course dinner and 5 flight wine tasting at Millennium Gate and Museum. Details, menu and photos below.

For the first dining event of 2011 For Foods Sake upped the ante and treated its members to an electrifying evening of food, wine, and a parade of talent dedicated to its cause. The event was held at The Millennium Gate monument at Atlantic Station and it was a first visit for nearly every member present. The Millennium Gate monument foundation is devoted to the preservation of Atlanta and Georgia history and served as a natural pairing with the local mission of FFS. The 13,000 square foot museum is a visual menagerie of carefully selected photos, documents, and relics of Georgian past, but for the night of January 19 the cases were rolled away as FFS united chef and farmer under the crisp glitter of a midwinter Midtown.

The evening burst open with the debut of For Wines Sake. This new program seeks to deliver hand selected wines by acclaimed wine experts at a discounted price to FFS members.  As guests rode the elevator to the sophisticated rooftop workspace of Rodney Cook ‘s The Millennium Gate.   Michael Doerfler of For Wines Sake poured the first beverage of the evening. Members sipped, nibbled, and ogled as they took in the trifecta of the Gruet Brut Rose, Corn Cakes with UGA caviar, and the nearly 360˚ view of Midtown.

As the early evening hunger edged off and the first wine pairing settled in, Esther Andrew introduced us to the star chef of the evening, Shane Touhy of Dogwood. Touhy is as Southern bred as they come, and his affable manner and quick smile might leave a newcomer to mistakenly not take him as seriously as his skills command. He directs the open kitchen of his elegant Midtown restaurant as a master helmsman, and one needs only to taste his unique whisper to regional ingredients to know why his food stands as a spotlight of Southern cuisine. After Touhy shared some hints as to what the evening held to come he introduced to us to farmers Ann and Tim Mills of Mills Farms and their Georgia grown grits worthy of myth.

From here the concept of underground dining went literal as members wound their way into the belly of The Millennium Gate and settled into the welcoming site of airy museum turned shimmering dining room. Here Rodney Cook shared more of the history housed within the walls of the monument and members soaked in another helping of Georgia history. As servers from 180˚Kitchen began to march the first course into the dining room guests were served their second pairing from For Wines Sake.

At first glance Chef Touhy’s chicken and rice soup looked a humble dish, but it was just as members began wagering bets on what made it taste of silken gold that Lorenzo Fasola Bologna of Monte Vibiano Vineyards took the stage. The furthest traveled contributor of the evening, Fasola Bologna’s warm Italian demeanor made fast friends with the FFS crowd. As members enjoyed the For Wines Sake cold Japanese Sake he shared his story that nestled somewhere between a rich family history and a life long pledge to excellence in farming and food production. As head of his family’s agricultural estate that first took roots more than a thousand years ago in the heart of the Umbrian countryside Fasola Bologna brought to the evening his contagious passion for his land and the fruits of his family’s centuries of hard work. His polished demeanor as he shared video footage of his estate was complimented by his exuberance for his product. The Monte Vibiano Estate olive oil flavor was so pure and smooth some members were noted swigging straight from the mini bottles as though they were relishing cocktails at a Sunday bar.

Dish after dish there was nary a disappointed palate. From the micro green salad with cornmeal crouton and sorghum cured bacon to the maple brined pork loin au poivre served over collards, red mule grits, and a hint of pomegranate molasses the surprises were both welcome and pleasant. The For Wines Sake pairings did not skip a beat as Michael and Todd introduced members to new vintages of Austrian and Italian wines.

Courses flowed and bellies filled as members settled into the comfortable creak of the familiar FFS chairs. The final course surprised with a rosemary scented polenta cupcake topped with tangerine butter cream and finished with a vanilla sauternes syrup.  A German Riesling kept the dessert course bright, and left many members feeling that For Wines Sake pairings of the evening were a positive new twist in the ever surprising FFS underground dining events.

As old and new friends chattered about grits, olive oil, wine, and travel the atmosphere took the tone of a new year properly launched. In the way life is best lived FFS brought together passionate artisans stretching their techniques to provide better sustenance to the world around them. At closing members wrapped up in their coats and gloves before emerging into brisk night air. As they hugged goodnight, gave thanks for another magical FFS evening, and made promises to see one another at the next event there was the unmistakable accent of a jubilant young Italian man inviting every member present to visit him at his estate in Umbria. Molto Bene!

Amuse Bouche
NV Gruet Brut Rose (Albequerqu, New Mexico)
First course
Springer Mountain and Carolina gold rice soup
Junmai Daiginjo “Divine Droplets” Sake
Ginga Shizuku (Japan)
Second course
Ashland Farm mixed micro salad, Red Mule cornmeal
crouton, Sorghum cured bacon, scrambled quail egg,
sweet sherry vinaigrette
2009 Gruner Veltliner “Kaptaler Terrassas”
Willi Brundlmayer (Kremstal, Austria)
Third course
Maple brined Riverview Farm pork loin “Au Poivre”, Creamy Red Mule grits, braised collards, pomegranate molasses
2004 Lacrima Cristi del Vesuvio Rosso, Terradora di Paolo (Montalcino, Italy)
2007 Salice Salentino Riserva, Ca’ntele (Puglia, Italy)
Dessert course
Rosemary scented olive oil-polenta cupcake,
tangerine butter cream, vanilla sauternes syrup
2005 Niederhauser Hemann Riesling Auslese, Hermann Donnhoff (Nahe, Germany)

PHOTOS by Blogger, Dana Nahai of One Haute Plate


  1. Lorenzo Fasola Bologna of Monte Vibiano Vineyards | For Foods Sake - December 29, 2010

    [...] Who's Your Farmer? liquid gold, lorenzo bologna, Monte Vibiano, oilve oil Chef Shane Touhy Ode To The Olive [...]